I read recently about a well-known painter who is currently having a major exhibition in New York and what shocked me about the story were the comments – a number of people who basically said “Does he think he’s going to bring back painting? Really, what’s the big deal about painting?”
Apparently, painting is out now. It’s all about photography and conceptualism and pop and installations – lots of technology. That’s what all the fuss is about and that’s where all the big money is now.
Meh. People have been predicting the end of painting for a very long time, certainly since the advent of photography. We used to argue about it all the time. And if you’re young, all the movements of the past are meaningless – and you don’t see that this anti-painting attitude is just another trend.
When I was studying in the ’40s, the big thing was German Expressionism. That was modern, that was cutting edge. The first real art experience I had was when I saw a Kandinsky – it hit me in the stomach and I was in awe.
Actually, most of the German Expressionists were very superficial and I let go of it very early on. But those who went beyond that, like Kandinsky, were the real thing. Georg Grosz is forever. He really defined the times.
All those trends I’ve seen and absorbed and they are part of me and my painting. But not anti-painting, of course.