An Interview with The Artist
- Alfred Taygore -
by Elgin Tarlow
Interview - New York Art World
ET: I understand that you have unusual ideas about the "Art World".
AT: It s not that I have unusual views about our culture, its that I consider my views more useful.
ET: How do you mean?
AT: Well, for example, I think that most of us see visual culture as being divided into many different Isms, for example there's cubism, expressionism, impressionism, minimalism, conceptualism etc. etc. This type of categorization works at the historical linguistic level but only to a certain extent. In the end it just doesn't cut it. It just doesn't communicate the nature of artist's reactions. Which contrary too what some curators would have us believe, are important.
ET: You're not referring to a categorization solely by subject? are you?
AT: No, not at all, but maybe, it would be great to have more museum exhibitions where many Isms are represented solely by subject, rather than by subject within each Ism. If the subject happened to be money then you might even include some of the conceptualists. (I do recall at least one of them pushing pennies around on a gallery floor). Getting back to what I was starting to say before, from my own modest perspective as totally a "non-contender". "I mean my work is even external to outsider art, It seems more useful to categorize art and thus perhaps the art world into four major classifications: "subjective" and "non subjective" and "loose" and "tight". At least that's where the real divisions exist.
ET: You must be joking.
AT: No, not at all, You just don't know how serious artists are about these things. Those who are loose consider those who are tight to be too arrogant. Those whose work is tight consider the "loosers" to be envious - a sort of - they would if they could scenario or "their work lacks depth" its too surfacy to encompass authentic expressiveness. The inaccuracies are too distracting!
ET: This is all very interesting but what about spontaneity? do you deny its validity?
AT: Wait a second, I haven't finished my description. Already I can see what category you prefer. Don't worry I won't put words in your mouth (like a certain critic we both are familiar with). The spontaneity people are always saying - Stop! leave it alone, don't beat it to death. If you touch it you will ruin it. There was a certain artist (whose name I won't mention here), I met once who painted very wonderful loose paintings and also extraordinary tight paintings when I asked him which he preferred..........
ET: Yes I knew him well , I was there also at the time. Isn't he now in Nepal?
AT: I'm not sure where he went but if you can remember he referred to the very realistic pictures as "intimate relationships and the loose alla prima works as "one night stands".
ET: This Idea seems to O.K. with subjective or objective pictures but what about non-objective ones. Would you consider a DeKooning a one-night stand and say a Barnet Newman an intimate relationship?
AT: I once heard Newman described as an artist who painted intimate pictures of elevator doors. And as for DeKooning, well, his paintings of women (for most of us) defy the idea of a one-night-stand- but non-objectively speaking loose as in DeKooning, can be very intimate. Especially in terms of color.
ET: So now that we have established that loose can be intimate in non-objective paintings, where have we gone?
AT: If you recall, we still haven't really addressed the nature of tight non-objective works. Some of my friends out there in web land have said that tight non-objective painting which vectored itself into minimal glass-box architectural redundancy suffers from the same narcissistic vacumatorial effects as say certain early waves of photo realism. If something looks at itself with itself, how can it ever transcend itself especially if that self reflecting support structure is mediocre to begin with.
ET: I know you are always making fun of art and religion, but aren't we all mediocre to start , at least to some degree? I mean Einstein flunked eighth grade math. And quite a few experts say Van Gogh never really learned how to draw.
AT: Speak for your self! and experts, there are no experts when it comes to quality in art only conjecturists.
ET: I know you have been busy making a lot of art lately. Could you tell us about it?
AT: Yes, I would describe myself as an objective artist because I do deal with objects and I would also consider my work representational which it is. But when asked, I describe myself as a contemporary fossilist. Most artists and critics however, would say I'm a conceptual artist. This could be true but thus far I have been too lazy to document anything.
ET: You mean their is no record of what you have done?
AT: That's right but sometimes I keep the molds - but let me explain: What I do is - to go around the city (and the country) looking for dead animals. Sometimes I find dead birds or an occasional dead squirrel. Then I put them in a plastic bag, bring them back to my studio and cast them in concrete.
ET: You cast them in solid cement?
AT: Yes, but that's not the important part. I then bring them back, their casts that is, to the exact spot where I found them and either just leave them there at the location or if the ground is soft, I bury them.
ET: You bury them at the location where you found them?
AT: That's right.
ET: Do you think your work is connected with the past or are you a staunch avant guardeist?
AT: As a matter of fact I have a deep connection to Egyptian art. Ultimately I intend to invent a contemporary Hieroglyphic style to document my fossils - sort of a cross between Keith Haring and Early Jasper Johns - but more symbolic in a linguistic sense of course.
ET: You plan to invent an entirely new pictographic language?
AT: Why not? Isn't that what abstract art has been all about, since about World War II anyway? However, I intend mine to be more precise. You see one comes full circle. The documentation for conceptualism eventually becomes realism. The computer appetite for precision will foster this as a truth.
ET: Can you explain?
Al: I could but it would take too long.
ET: So, why are you not a realist?
Al: Ah but I am! Art is dead - that's why I make fossils.