Kit Messham-Muir: Interview with William Anastasi, artist, New York, 3 October 2012

having New York at the home end studio of William Anasazi who I’m talking to today and my first question as ever is what was one missing and we think I’ve ever thought about it I I was introduced to it because I was born and raised in Philadelphia south to lovely Italian neighborhood and I knew about the Philadelphia Museum and when I was old enough I heard bicycle there it was free at that time that was great asset and was fascinated by everything but but originally and my team is confused by the work of myself and song yeah and so I think that that had quite an effect on me see seeing that in Philadelphia what would it do some of it well it sort of all gets together now because I’ve seen it so many times but whatever it was it didn’t fit my idea of what was our mm and that’s that’s made it protrude as a wire from all the all the other art and then I think my first my earliest reactions must have been well if this is our I obviously don’t know anything about art you know so that age it was it was almost a dilemma meaning for me I guess that’s not too strong a word that’s a provoked you I was wrong all the time I was joining all the time I didn’t dare think I was an artist yeah and the reason for that I believe is because for my earliest memory my mother who was an immigrant with very limited education me it was almost a mantra from my earliest memories yeah she would say but of course the best thing anyone can be in this life is an artist I don’t know where she got that I believe but therefore I thought there was no chance I was one yeah they could see her so she was so adamant on the subject yeah and she did you know from the age of five yeah at 25 cents a lesson and late thirties I was taking counter lessons and then my brother when he reached that age start taking piano lessons it was a great thing that she insisted we wanted to be out playing ball between insisted that misfits Meyer who taught us better be give a good important or did she would let us happen so we practiced and it was a very valuable thing that I learned to play the piano and I played it every day and I’m and have two sons in their 60s and I played counter every days but it had a it had a that effectively that I didn’t but I was drawing all the time yeah and it wasn’t until I was 14 that I signed something I had done I had a picture of a pretty girl yet from a magazine and I signed it he said by William W&I nastasi in age 14 and and that signing me do you think that was important yeah well it was a little bit it was a little bit I don’t think it really was a watershed because I didn’t continue signing things yeah and that was married very young I know how much autobiographically one of if I was a father of three by time I was I think that time I was 19 I was the father through me we still joke I was so close to ivy your mother and I helped her yeah and we still good money two sons of their sixties as I say and their daughter in 58 and we joked that we had

no idea what we were doing and it was by far the smartest thing really yes we both agree completely on that yeah to this day because that is a big undertaking you know the Clara nobody taking each other I was all set to go to college and so forth yeah and then the girl that I cared for got pregnant and I had to make a decision and it was the best decision I’ve ever made so did you did you not did you not go to college and study when I’d like to move our first Temple University then University University of Pennsylvania – and Saturday mornings and Saturdays because I was determined to get as much education as that but I was everything I tried to do to earn a living I was good at and nothing to do with our yeah I’m still drawing all the time but had nothing to do with art maybe the first job was selling waterless cookers he boarded or was set up convincing lady that she should have a party if I call her lady friends over and then I would we give at night and I would demonstrate and then sell one of those footprints Wow today yeah that was very good at it but because it was night time and that was this with when school started I quit that because I wanted to go to school at night yeah University first temple of the new recipes and then I got a job selling baby pictures yeah and anything you thank you anything I’ve ever tried to sell it an excellent ad except my own work itself it’s poetic least ironic yeah and maybe poetic yeah anything I’ve ever tried to sell and I don’t remember how I got that job oh yeah but somebody already would sell a mother door-to-door yeah the the five dollars nine days Senshi weekend three one eight by ten and three pocket-sized it was he was setting me up it well I wasn’t doing that part yeah then they would sell this and then if they got their converge they were five ninety eight or part of it yeah a photographer would come and photograph their baby or their child yeah and then it was my job to go with the proofs it’s seven more pictures yeah and it was extremely good at it and it was extremely depressing because I found out very quickly you would think with that job if you were sent to a wealthy neighborhood you’re going to do much better than if you’re sent to a porn it yeah exactly the opposite exactly opposite the wealthy they had a lot on their mind the kids were not the main thing for the poor the kids were that made them yeah I mean literally piggy banks would be berkland to give me a deposit yeah and I would sell another 25 $30 worth of pictures to people that didn’t have any money yeah and it depressed me I mean I was very good at it but II personally yeah and the guy had a branch in New York his name was Earl elephants and a branch in suburban Philadelphia mm-hm and when I said I was going to quit he said if you give me half the company very good business when I said dear Jesus but the best salesman and I’m terrible at selling mental work it’s inside it’s hilarious I’ve never really tried to sell my work I don’t I think one of the things as an artist at least in my case is I’m still wondering what the next thing is I’m doing yeah it’s still wondering if I’ve done anything good I mean I really mean that there’s any fun even even though I’ve done things that seem to have influence that the artist yeah whatever that happens and they’re successful a few well obviously a lot of people think this ideas is what I did yeah but when I’m actually working I’m constantly in that same situation where I’m trying to prove something to myself I don’t understand it any further than that yeah I don’t think that I mean it’s a healthy little sale yeah yeah yeah it’s I think it’s just weighing in and constantly trying to find the answer to the question of what the hell are you doing in white yeah and it wasn’t until August the 17th I believe of 1960 that I signed something or still drawing all the time yeah with pastel and with you can sometimes water watercolors and the fact that I was doing it all the time something finally said well you might as

well take the responsibility for what you doing and the action signs that was a that was a very big step yeah very very big step who’s making art and selling brickwork and I did have a show with yoni there was only one theatre philosophy and then it showed foreign films and somehow they heard about about me and I did an exhibit in their Lobby and then I was seeing a girl who was a graduate student at Barnard and we think that has something to do with my deciding to see to come to New York sort of in New York mmm so wait when it backs away Barnard is with the Columbia you know yeah so you ever get around the around 6096 yeah 60 or 61 which meant that you’re also arriving in New York particularly yeah I have no idea about that and yeah I didn’t for a long time have any idea and and I lived on the Lower East Side H Street between C and D so New Yorkers know that that’s a very very poor neighborhood hmm and Philip Guston saw my work and he covers me by accident I was with the girl that I was seeing at the time who was a graduate student at Columbia Barnard who the Chinese that’s where Philip Guston was there with Morton Feldman they were close friends they they would meet Morty again through John Cage and and I did something I made that I was so kind of juvenile I recognized him from having seen sting cattle and I went over and I said you’re full of Gustin I’m bill anastasi I’m an artist too and instead of saying get lost he’s out come on over Capri it comes to us yeah and and that was your my first contact you know with the up with the real art world yeah and then they were going uptown and I had a Volkswagen yeah and I said I’ll give you a lift and as they were getting in the back there were three I even have one here somewhere one of them I just get across a few days ago yeah three reliefs I had made with on the back of tiles that had been some kind of glue and put them on they were like really a floor or wall I found them in the trash I was picking up things in the trash yeah trying to make white out of it and I had made three of them and they were in the back so I was going to visit my kids or demarcating in Pennsylvania that I was going to stay with with Noel the girl I’ve seen yeah and then I was planning to see Irene and our three kids so I wanted to show the kids what I was doing and I read but mainly the kids which they were of an age already where they were getting good potential so he able to actually show them so I had he was getting in the backseat and what’s these poor accustomed to yet I said oh those I forgot they were in there so these are true things of mine yes Paul I don’t put a light up and you’d like them right and he showed them to Morton Feldman he like hmm and he said I’m going to write a letter Betty Parsons about you give me your address to me everything I like this very much and that was the real beginning and then tell them it’s all right one two mm-hm if you’ve got two letters one from you for me there’s a enthusiastically about these little things I had done on the back of his I was actually back there anyway it was almost like a just your naive enthusiasm towards it something clearly yeah it’s just amazing so and they said you’re good and have to go there but she never goes to studios anymore yeah she was getting up two years I guess and but a couple of days later I got a call from the gallery and they said I’m gonna be in I’ve spilled everyone yep Lower East Side are you gonna be in you know Thursday after the gallery closes especially the early evening or whatever was and I suggest about Betty Parsons this time so I don’t know if you know the name Betty Parsons when Anna showed full of customers she showed the world famous people she answered very she was one of the most two or three most famous that she was as famous at that time as castellan right and then she came and and she bought two

things which was amazing and she’d like to work and and that was my beginning to actually exhibit work mm-hmm and then I’m telescope yeah little bit I was asked to do a show at Washington Square gallery that’s why I showed that piece among other pottery and how this would be around 64 yeah showed cardboards I showed I showed things that later became known as as very girly examples and if that at that point these works were they commenting on the context that you were well the people who came to the gallery didn’t know where I was living yeah the gallery was a big space it was not a commercial gallery it was like it I don’t know what what that’s what’s played it was somebody had the idea of showing new art yeah and they had a space and it wasn’t on the first floor you had to take an elevator yeah who’s in a kind of a loft building yeah and and they show a lot of things maybe 35 different things was a very big space and that’s that I remember and the cardboards I remember only because later they they were connected whenever work that made me say oh my goodness that is possible with this show and I didn’t know rauschenberg and that time as a matter of fact when I visited his studio yeah a number of times and he visited my studio once my wall was before I had a loft this is when I was still one issue but around that time I was finding a loft and they had artists in residence and for a reasonable price a building that had you know factories yeah but if they couldn’t fill her up they’d rent to an artist right yeah ai are signed to be on the outside for so firemen would know if there was a weekend where there’s nobody there yeah to know that somebody’s living in there so hey ir was with certain buildings yeah artist-in-residence was for the fire department yeah so I found the loft and start doing some big works of doing sound works with sound sound objects and as I say I had shown a few small things in Tibetan Parsons gallery though in square shell and then Ivan Clark who was the sort of thee he was partner of real Castelli yeah and he in fact is the reason Castelli went towards pop he Castelli was not drawn to pop mm-hmm except for Jasper Johns work which he didn’t like it and I think it’s because I still had the hand yeah but all the rest of the pop it was Ivan Clark that saw the future as a work yeah and he said this is this is what’s happening this is what’s going to happen before it happened that’s amazing yeah he just died I saw him a week before he died just by accident yeah he’s thinking on him and he would have a breakfast every Sunday and artists would be there and House Oldenburg Jasper Johns and popular artists were famous now there were nothing’s yeah yeah some of them were a little bit known but none of them were world-famous and I would go to these and these breakfasts and got to know Ivan coffer me so he said would what you work like there is someone should come over and that because they’re big they’re sculptures that make sound hmm and he came over and she said brilliant brilliant brilliant not for Gia not folio remember justice knows it no Jessie you really like the work but not really Leslie he said but I’m sure that I can get you with Martha Jackson yeah Betty Parsons or pace those are three of the biggest colors yeah now Martha Betty parson I had already shown with but I was out of touch with her just a couple years have passed and I didn’t do anything to pursue it yeah I’ve never been good at that I was good in the business but it wasn’t art I’ve never be good at art the art business yeah now it works the song because of someone that’s very good at business that was able to sell my work and so he set up an appointment first with the pace gather the pace they’re still in

business me very famous they show Bob Ryan and in fact me and and they were partners spread the owner and Arnie blue now Arnie blue shirt is still the head of paces his son his sort of runs thing but aren’t he still alive and my point was with Mueller friend Mueller yeah and and I’m told that that Arnie Lucia says no it was him but the fact is it was Fred know so I got well but none of our new pension Satan was in front of Thank You Fred Miller yeah now this is funny but anyway and he he looked at I had a tape recorder heavy Tandberg tape recorder yeah and I had slides and he looked at the slides of the pieces and he heard the sounds and he liked it very much but again he said not for us he said with his new gallery that’s is something down the street and I thought he said dawn gallery he’s wrong actually we’ve had a gallery you may know a little bit about her she have a gallery in Los Angeles and showed Yves Klein she showed team John tingling supplement the north in Los Angeles yeah now of the Whiteman and he said like I’ll give her a call because I think this new gallery might be interested in what you’ve done and I said sure so he called up and she said senator send the guy over yeah so I packed up there right down the street paste in there on the same 57th Street yeah packed up my niece according to my memory I’m sure they both want 57 so arm suddenly wasn’t packed everything up the slides and I decided not to go hmm I decided I’ve been parked he said you can get me with 1 billion he was very confident and I’ve heard of the other two now he struck out here but I heard that yet so I’ve never heard of Doran gallery yeah thinking the guy said dawn I didn’t like the name either yeah well that misheard so I literally started them the first flight of steps in the subway yeah and I thought over that’s not that’s not very nice that’s not polite the guy called the woman was expecting me to be confident why don’t you just stop this do you have 10 minutes to go you should get her reaction so I climbed back up the space the case where ethics worked them extremely well and I walked in was up on the eighth floor an enormous space and the Beanery was there of keynotes I don’t you know Makino it’s me yeah you know he knows as well he had and that was the first show that she was having yeah who’s up for a few months afternoon and none of that had had sound I didn’t know anybody else was working with sound as soon as I saw that I thought you know he think I made you write this maybe the gallery who knew that somebody else was working the sound never the video artist you know we’re talking the early sixties yeah or the missus yeah so I showed her the work then I played the sounds and turn that she didn’t have enough people that she’s very particular about who did what she didn’t have enough people for the first year me so she said and I come and look at them you know Thursday night and you know after dinner I said sure but as I was leaving she said but it looks good just from the slides you nation made it she obviously I made it for my mother strengthen the slides and hearing sentence yeah she said I’ll come and take a look but it looks good I felt oh my goodness there’s a fantastic space that was first shot at sound objects yeah so the given what you saying that you know talking about the mid-sixties bed the use of sound in a kind of visual arts context is it also it’s a fairly conceptual approach to to our production isn’t it well it was in an apartment and it was a it was prophetic about work I would do later I mean if you put a painting on the wall on the same wall yeah when you have a in a couple years before that you have a deflated tire – yeah with the speaker that remembers the sound of it’s the air coming out yeah so you don’t actually hear the air coming out you hear the speaker the sound version of it yeah that’s kinetic conceptually and yeah so for Socrates related to what I would later do putting a picture of a wall on the same wall you think about yeah a pneumatic drill with the part of the street I was the first earthworks I would make that joke with Smithson yeah I was doing one that dug up a part of an empty lot yeah you know and then was the Senators

cousins and that was you sound that the detective that remembers others speaker and and the earth arrives and and the thing you saw pictures ugly one yeah tell me that we back the wall on the wall one of the one of the curators of the art gallery of New South Wales a guy called Tony bond once said that twentieth century are soon to be marked by this conflation of the you know the signifier and the signified by the similar insofar as you’re going to get something like mark Quinn’s blood head weighed the guy’s blood is also between yourself for trakula we know that the worn of all ideas used to be suitably the grandfather of them unless something else is over yeah you know absolutely and and I guess Duchamp was earlier yeah he’s often done right because to have the dust on something and then photograph it and dust breathing and they never straightened out whether that was a joint idea they were not particular about about that yeah yeah the idea of the wall on the wall and is this sort of folding back on me something that is continued throughout your work isn’t it what is well yes the sound objects were obviously self referential II yeah the wall on the wall to put it as a painting on the wall yeah I remember the moment when that happened I was seeing a girl they married peacock Ricci she was the founder and editor of a magazine an art magazine or maybe fashion with art I don’t remember the details and I was waiting for her to get dressed was going to go out to dinner and I had already done the sound objects and and I was pacing up and down in her living room and the thought came to me we at that time we were aware that the the the weapons existed in our Arsenal and in Russia’s Arsenal enough to wipe out life we’re not planning the first time you were very conscious of that yeah and I remember thinking although it’s related to the to the self-referential tyre to them with the air coming out yeah that’s nothing that was not the route that was not the road it Road was to put a picture of something else on the wall of we’re past that mmm we can be wiped out in three days that’s what was going wrong between Russia is you talking about time I suppose they Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 is that one that was yeah that was part of it the global geopolitics absolutely race very scary very still hmm and so I thought of its among other things but obviously related to the sound objects but the actual stepping stone for it was this idea yeah to put to put something else on the wall where everything is that you know your whole existence of life on this planet all the walls could come down mmm so putting a picture of the wall on the wall that was the first idea the first I think was a political idea Street mmm-hmm no one would guess it you know probably but that first idea was a political idea yeah now it’s obviously connected with tire tubes with the air coming out and and an axe that has destroyed a barrel and and denatured power the axes of everyday the sound level of the destruction was that within the you know the jackhammer as well it’s a destructive tool obviously it’s very connected to leave the air coming out of the tire the air coming out of homo something’s gonna be in other words I see the two shows and by the same artist yeah and they happen to be about the same lines I see it very very related yeah in a strange way the ballet that was destroyed Denis it’s about destruction and I don’t think that the destructive aspect of the others sound doctors would have happened if it weren’t already in this situation where the world war had happened which I lived through and saw that and now the weapons were ten times and a hundred times more potentially

devastating do you think that that sort of consciousness of the global politics that you had at that time was also what was influenced a lot but there are artists who your ears at that particular time as well and I I always think of the 60s has been a time following Abstract Expressionism where Abstract Expressionism was very much dealing with looking into the stuff can it disappear within to itself right you know very much you know focus on itself when we get the right a pop and really contemporary you know art at that time starts to expand to me it seems to be a increased engagement with the world and it’s you know the do you political reality that Isabella 1969 well it’s hard for me to there’s I’m not clear beyond the fact of looking looking looking at Jackson Pollock you know dripping yeah and obviously the permission for some of my ideas come from the fact and even the way de Kooning put paint on and so forth yeah there’s no question that I was affected by what would happen I think in de Kooning in Pollock particularly must have affected me I wasn’t wasn’t a consciously yeah it wasn’t it wasn’t when you said well you know he drew up to paint and not hold water it was just was a given that you could pour a border on something yeah and let let it rust but any that have happened that was just but if Pollock had not you know broke broke the ices he said who knows I mean the license is over and and I think the dust reading the license was there for Pollock mmm the whole idea of dust reading already implies a kind of a spun the navy engine in action as well an action in all of that you know that that just opens the possibility for the next generation of artists to just accept it well you know what a great idea let dust form photographic right did you see what you were doing in the nineteen sixties because we look back now with hindsight historically and say conceptualism did you back in the some of its 1960s consider it to be you know conceptualism conceptualize something different no I think that I remember saying back then there’s such a question like this was asked to me that I believe that I still believe that all artists in sections mean right yeah I mean you know if you look at if you look at the Mona Lisa it’s the idea that he put down there mmm is that his lips and make makes it live yeah not something and it’s truth hieronymus Bosch’s true van Eyck it’s the idea that really is behind the cantatas of Bach does the idea that’s what starts it so idea art is an oxymoron to me yeah that’s true yeah you know yeah so it just seems more obvious you know to the audience that the idea is kind of front center to put a painting of a wall in the same wall you know but to me it was just it was just the next step that I wanted to make in painting yeah the process of mark making I think when I look at your the process of mark making seems to be really important that the mark making is often the product of an idea that has been put into interaction in some sort of way you know the work that you showed me earlier with the the lines going efforts from the same time you know it’s a really good example can you just tell me a little bit at work well it hasn’t be the example I think that particular work is it is a clear example of what I call dump me I think if an idea is is really really dumb yet then the right way yeah it can end up being something of a great value

a great genius whatever you want to call it yeah you know I mean this work is kind of dumb Ephesians wake starts in the first page there’s a thunderclap with a hundred letters yeah and I thought well that would keep me busy I think I’ll do a painting of well do a series of paintings a hundred letters again I mean I’m I’m not even halfway through yet not the only good for like twenty years right yeah so when you say down do you mean in the specifics of the sales I mean it’s almost like a child gets an idea I mean yeah it’s very childlike in a way yeah to have yeah even the idea of putting a painting or war on the wall and people either think it’s idiotic or they think it’s brilliant there’s really nothing in between the reaction that’s been true going back to the to the first time at its show I mean I remember some artists were turned off my and somewhat turned on by there was nothing in between you never really turned off or they were really turned on I noticed that at the time yeah and I think that’s probably true of all real are you know is it’s either either the audience gets it or they don’t get it the art could be very very strong and posterity can be very kind to it but at the time that it comes out it’s going to have that effect if it’s if it’s really taking everything that’s happened and then and then and it’s a reflection of everything that’s happened not only you’re thinking but of art up until that aren’t up until that time mm-hmm and I think that there’s no question that Marcel Duchamp and then Ray had an effect of it he was happy having been in for the lovely and having you know at the age of 12 or 13 or whatever was there certainly in my teens absorbing that would be confused by it just didn’t fit my idea of art in that time at that age but it started something going it took a long time and then I met him he came to the wall on the wall he said it clean it or not and then we became very close to teaming statements between his widow who stayed with her in some way which means that we met her through John Cage not through Marcel Duchamp I’d only met him once yeah but he came to the wall in the world he was very positive about it the desert nothing he’s university a man literally yeah mazing you know they say we addressing the baton or something yeah the fact that we happened to see that show yeah I’m just maybe a year before he died so this was an end yeah shows and 67 and Virginians one knew him and owned his work and the fact I think in the back room when they did the wall on the wall that’s a piece of the songs I’ve been one of the things that got him there possible do you think there was a Saints in the 1960s of a resurgence or almost a a coming to fruition envelope Duchamp in ideas oh I don’t think there’s any question I mean you know Rauschenberg movement Jasper him that head yeah and there’s no question to me to my mind that even though the world didn’t know that much about him the artist yeah living in New York as well as yeah so I forget where 14th Street maybe then it’s kind of was quite ironic that he played chess with John and then I asked John to do that piece now he’d come to me he had come to the South object to be my studio yeah to pick up a drawing I was giving they were having them Virginia – I called and said that foundation for performance art it’s a very good group and they give money that performance artists have no other chance that the foreman can perform yeah I just said it’s better and they every year they say they ask for paintings

from different artists and they sell them or your paintings with drawings and they sell them to support this and that’s why I’m interested in John Cage book I complete accident I subscribe be glad to give a joy and then a week or so later Virginia called and said are you gonna be home to Thursday at 6 o’clock and you’re off I had a big loft with them and I said yes I’ll be there she said was someone from the performer talk people’s kind of I to pick up your George didn’t say what it was I mean she tried to know what was and then both buzzer rings and the factories were closed like I’d be elevated I brought the other vendors John Cage who I recognized them me from a concert I’ve been to late 50s had come up from Philly to see a concert yeah and I also had a record that had his picture on a long play record so I recognized him and and he said I’m John Cage and I said I know he said and I heard that you and you’re giving a drawing but I heard that your show is going to be called sound options you have the time I’d love to see them in here that he just was interested in her doing sound and that’s why I think the type it hadn’t been for the sound Bob cheeks son somebody else would become obviously he wouldn’t have come himself he came up and he heard the sounds and in fact he said well how are they going to go mister sounds varied in length from a jug mean that was dropped from the front of ladder onto a cinderblock and he does it was entertained I showed the cinder block or so some of the sounds were like a couple of seconds long and then the magic drill was a couple minutes long yeah he said how how it sounds was the program that I said well I wanted them to all go at the same time but Virginia Duan convinced me that people would think it was eleven it was an installation and all eleven had to go but I she was hopeful of placing them in separate collections so I was going crazy with an engineer to get us kind of quiet switching system that would go from one to the other oh yeah John decides it would be yeah but John said oh no he said that’s more go at once yes protected so I told him I said that was my original idea but Virginia’s convinced that it’ll be good to be able to place them at different places these are say she was native a place of single wonder he’s but but I didn’t do it that way he sounds going from one to the other which which was not the original idea yeah I’ve already influenced enough by cage to know the best way to do it would be to have them all all going at the same time yeah which would have been cacophonous of course some of them were very loud yeah you know but eventually I’ll do it you know it’s a gallery now that is interested in maybe doing a retrospective of my work and if I get if I get to do the sound yeah you show me a number of examples of your work and there are there are some similarities with other artists whose work trend about the time you’ve actually come up with similar work but in fact later than yours example he’s come and race with a dozen rigs for instance what do you think no idea whether Carl saw yeah saw that work you see who’s working with flat things that’s years of his I showed that little piece yeah he’s working with flat things with me credits stuff Frank Stella who you’re spending with mm-hmm because Frank Stella saying something that they didn’t move water from something that was more traditional just to this very radical idea no but it is so that that I did certain things in just in my extreme I really funny thing as I think this kind of insecurity that causes you to be prolific I was gonna say for Miss cos but maybe they have extras in my eye in the art situation and but if there’s no question I did certain things that

very early yet but then looked like they were prophetic and they look like they were prophesy because this was out of the other do you think there was a current you know like the zeitgeist or something in the air around about that time as well in New York in the 1960s that’s you know it’s the seventies I do think there was something in the air that artists were exchanging ideas I do think man Ryan and Duchamp had a lot to do with yeah with the whole move from abstract expressionist into conceptual yeah more conceptual conceptual work which get our in there and we we’d I suppose understand these things necessarily historically but when we look back at that it’s difficult to see at the point where Abstract Expressionism left off really is a dominant force in the 1950s way we could have gone awry yeah yeah yeah and I know that winning seven Jackson Pollock broke broke the ice and I think that’s true yeah except that Duchamp had broken the ice yeah that permitted Jackson to do that in painting I mean I see particularly two pivotal words the Russian food as being watershed moments and one of them is bad which I think it’s 1955 54 55 which is a moment the other one is supposed to be erased a Kooning which yeah the choice of artist is is heavily symbolic radians as an art history and this piece returned cage has but he liked and insisting on binding in fact that’s a showed you the bronze version of it yeah anyway he told me that when someone had visited and mentioned to Carl Andre yeah John said well I associated more with Bob’s mug meals yeah now when he said that I assumed that the mud news was earlier than this piece wasn’t so long after John’s death that I discovered that mud news was quite a few years after modernism was that you know what it is now mud news was something about the size of a water bed yeah and it was nothing but mud yeah but it had motors had a motor something vibrating undred yeah so that the mud bubbles right on the top yeah now when John said that to me I assumed he was saying that it was an early piece of Bob’s that the prophesied sink yeah mortar goes on every day and and the appearance of it of course the very short time does resemble month okay yeah it wasn’t it so after John’s death some years after that I was talking to someone who said but not the money use my news is that ten years after sink yeah which I didn’t know when John we that was a quite a compliment on this giving this yeah yeah yeah because he knew when my news was but eat see like the subway joins to the first thing he saw but he walked in with yeah and in fact when you get I think it’s mentioned in that memoir he liked the idea of the subway drawing so much that one day as I was getting ready to leave after we played our typical two games of chess and something would take the subway home or do you have a car I had a car mmm I’ve always had a car until recently man oh we ran this is more convenient but I said yeah I’m thinking of separating sit can I come it could be just like a little kid you cycle of course mm-hm and yet he wanted to see whether so we went from 18th Street 18th Street to 137 3 hours I was living 141st in Riverside yeah and I always had my eyes closed now I wear sunglasses so people will think I’m crazy and I don’t remember where that was wearing sunglasses then that’s probably not yeah I’m pretty sure I was not at that time wearing sunglasses and when we got off and I mentioned it in this memoir pitch was very

uncharacteristic of John yeah as revealing what for 137th Street he said the idiots they were making fun of you in fact they said that it’s sort of the first thing in the book yeah I tell the whole story but it’s a quote of John’s that I actually started with if you look at the first page the easy thing yeah there we go yeah that’s a direct quote yeah it is making and the reason I put it there is opposition when I knew John these few now characteristic from the states yeah but where art was concerned he could be quite blunt yeah he said loud enough they could have heard him they’re still getting off the training center it’s early my eyes were closed woman I didn’t realize Yeah right so he was a tremendous encouragement to tell people about the subway drawings and had three the first thing is so you came in and he also had sight Swami’s Jasper John yeah it’s such an amazing collection of people that you knew the this somewhat drawing I’ve seen video where you do so it goes like the glasses on etc and probably because you know invidious the cameras attracted my attention but I I always well it to me it seems that that presence of a very random audience to me seems to be what also makes those drawings performances well I think do I think it’s so I’ve certainly was not consciously thinking of that it I was doing walking drawings before yeah and and I would I would do then in my in my apartment yeah had we do walking drugs well or East Side there was nobody looking but they’re walking drawings were early versions and then it became the subway or something now so they’re walking drugs enjoy what we enjoy they started out as running drugs and I said no you want to hurt yourself one of the things that I wanted to ask you about hence in be refugees get a nice little piece as well yeah I mean the puzzle puzzles the biggest mistake is AI is that Mary Goodman which is one of the most successful galleries on planet Earth and chest galleries evidently all over the world sort of like nicosia hmm she didn’t have a gallery then she just had something she called multiples I think mmm but I knew about it and I said somehow heard about her and I contacted her and I went to her with this idea and and this is the wall on the wall I did the wall of the was is just doing a picture of a wall that that the painting is on yeah maybe a 75% reduction of the wall so you can see you can see things and can tell you that there’s the air air fence and there’s the picture molding and there’s the outlets and there’s a picture of them somewhat smaller than in reality so so based on that idea of putting a picture of a wall on the wall I came up with the idea of a puzzle puzzle and I went to two very good lukela she is something called multiples and was very well known that she she published I explained the idea to have I said the idea is simply ask the puzzle company to give me a white puzzle just then put it under their cutter and cut it but no picture on yeah and then I’ll photograph that and make a lithograph or some kind of reproduction ability yeah and that will be the subject of instead of Norman Rockwell painting or an Andrew Wyeth painting the subject will be the topography of it and then I will and they will print that and they will put it under the cutters top for bottom yeah so that so that the cut does not obliterate obliterate the cop as if it does not obliterate the picture so then they’ll be several hundred who work

so hard how many how many pieces in this puzzle I don’t know if this says it it doesn’t need to say how many how many pieces yeah but today there’s not 500 in the second one was 513 exactly so I went to I went to man Goodman with the idea and she liked the idea as I said but since you’re kind of invisible in the art world if MoMA was interested and would do much more good so I went to MoMA and I showed that was the right person there I’ve sent men for them and they liked the idea very much and they made special edition for the Museum of Modern Art which is pretty amazing this was in 1975 copyrighted 1975 William I discuss it and they call that the anastasi puzzle and it was very successful even though it’s impossible to put together but for some reason they sold them out right away and they sent me to do a second edition I’m did a second edition and then that sold out right away and they said you have any other puzzle ideas and I think I already told you this but I said yes it’s the same idea as that except I will paint every other piece red so it would be red white red white red white then and again had the put under the same of under the same cutter but top to bottom so that you have the accident the accident of that so they did that and it was very successful but I showed it for this one I showed to John Cage I had not saw the one who came to don’t it yeah and then I don’t remember why I just didn’t think of it or something but this one baby because it was larger than color and and as I think I already told you this I hear the John apiece and you looked at and put on a table I handed him another piece and he looked at it and put it on the table so give me another one I gave him another one I looked at it he put it on the table and then he said bill how many pieces in this puzzle and I have a look at the box because I didn’t remember and I said that 513 pieces and he gave me the best compliment of every guy said what build you’ve made 513 masterpieces and that’s a rethought I mean he decides didn’t matter to him yeah but the idea was good then it was got that kind of reaction and again it’s an indeterminate random almost advice would you like them oh yeah great aesthetic outcome as well yeah so they’re the two things I had to do with Museum of Modern Art and very little else I mean no they have subway drawings and they have yeah some of the conceptual things but it was mainly to people are collectors when it’s curators and said this guide was there already and so forth and so they acquired stuff so they have they have kind of big letters anyway so much of the puzzle you