Interview with Ed Ruscha, circa 1981

Web Video Text Tracks Format (WebVTT)


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{Ed Ruscha} It would floor me, as far as art and ah I was ready for this when I was a student and

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{Jan Butterfield} Did you intuit, remember when that show was in Pasadena, was that your first, when was that - 60?

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{Ed Ruscha} The new venue of common objects?

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{Jan Butterfield} No, the Big John show maybe 64 or something like that.

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{Ed Ruscha} Oh, no, I had seen his work before then. I had seen his work in the late 50s when I was a student

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{Jan Butterfield} Oh way back, ok way back.

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{Ed Ruscha} Before he was known as an artist.

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{Jan Butterfield} Oh, well when that show came you {Ed Ruscha} I wanted some answers of course, I was with some pretty serious instructors, ah, in school.

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And ah, most of the instructors, just their words were that he, that this is not art.

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{Jan Butterfield} Oh yeah, oh yeah. {Ed Ruscha} You can't paint a symmetrical painting, you can't paint a hard edge painting.

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And ah. It's just not done. And so there was no room for any kind of art like that and I guess that's what really gave birth to that idea for me.

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{Jan Butterfield} When you first saw that the like tart of the faces, and that {Ed Ruscha} Yeah

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{Jan Butterfield} Did you intuitively understand those paintings?

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{Ed Ruscha} Yeah, well understand, I don't know about that. But I responded and ah it ah

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{Jan Butterfield} It must be so hard for you {Ed Ruscha} They literally blew me away.

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I just ah. You know they were so powerful to me, so curious, so strange

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{Jan Butterfield} You couldn't forget it. {Ed Ruscha} They were the rarest variety of, I mean I was not looking for those kind of things, but they just hit me straight between the eyes.

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And I knew that they were important. And so, you know they became an obvious influence in my work.

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{Jan Butterfield"} It's interesting that you were able to see them early that would make a big difference. You've been able kind of grow with a sense what your work is about. I really

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Ed Ruscha: Well there's less imagery in John's work I think, and more

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Jan Butterfield: More intellectual too, and more formal.

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Ed Ruscha: There was less of a social contact. Rauschenberg's images always contained so many things that we're all in love with, like birds and everything else, and, and using them in radical ways but,

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John's was colder. His work was much colder.

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And also, it was like, um, deliciousness, the deliciousness of his work was, I think, enhanced by the fact that it was not yet quite endorsed by museums and by the established, uh, art critics.

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And at least to my point of view was not.

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And uh, it was like Outlaw Art, and I think that's

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Jan Butterfield: [[Laughter]] Yeah, yeah.
Ed Ruscha: that's what attracted me to it, and made it important to me.

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Jan Butterfield: What do you do?
Ed Ruscha: Because it was an enigma, a true enigma. It was just so head-scratching that it, that it gained its power that way.

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Jan Butterfield: What is even Outlaw Art anymore, you know?

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Ed Ruscha: Well, there's always Outlaw Art, you know.

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Jan Butterfield: I know, but, but to one at a given time.

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{Jan Butterfield} The kind that I miss now more than anything else

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{Ed Ruscha} I mean something it just, you know, it just hits you, just K.O.s you. Just you know, renders you useless.

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{Jan Butterfield} Yeah, but it's been a long time since that happened to me and there are few things there are few people that mirrors of anything new or anything kind of whatever I'm having a lot of trouble with new right now and stuff. Really having a lot of trouble.

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{Jan Butterfield} It's that kind of thing. {Ed Ruscha} Well it'll happen, it'll happen again. There's always something new.

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{Jan Butterfield} Oh yeah. There's a lot new but it is, the older you get there is that kind of, wistfulness, that has to do with where is that.

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When we were in Venezuela, um, I got talking to a wonderful, strange art critic there who didn't speak much English.

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He was talking about major works of art and there's a thing phrase, we don't have it in English but in Spanish it's called la canonal it's like a cannon ball in the chest.

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[[laughter]] I love the Spanish phrase. But, it is that kind of thing.

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Jan Butterfield: you still get it with the oldies
Ed Ruscha: Yeah well see the, I think the original impression on me was that was, was one of being I was confronted with something that was profound.

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You know, I'm not speaking about the actual artwork. I didn't see the actual artwork until for about 10 years later.

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It's the. I saw a tiny postage stamp size reproduction
Jan Butterfield: Jesus

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Ed Ruscha: in a magazine and I knew from right then that there was something going on there.
Jan Butterfield: And that drew you

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Ed Ruscha: And so, for that reason magazine reproductions and paintings and paintings, and I think an artist can be influenced by just flipping through art magazines. You know.

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Jan Butterfield: Totally
Ed Ruscha: And you can get, you can drive true protein power from imagery by seeing a reproduction of the size of a postage stamp as opposed to confronting the so-called real thing.

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Ed Ruscha: I don't think it is that important to, to confront the real thing.
Jan Butterfield: You know. It's interesting you know it's the reverse of what most people contend, you know.

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Ed Ruscha: Well, imagery is just so up for grabs in modern communication that ah.

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Jan Butterfield: Well, the thing is that it just moves so fast now and you are seeing that in relationship without image painting or new expressionist painting it just going by, we don't even have generations now, its just going back weeks.

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Ed Ruscha: Hmm.
Jan Butterfield: And
Ed Ruscha: But it's all subject to the same sort of style cycle, and most
Jan Butterfield: Oh yeah
Ed Ruscha: people are really out of style.

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Well it's all cyclical, it's truly cyclical. And, ah.

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Jan Butterfield: Oh yeah. Excuse me. What's bothering me about it now is that it is all contextual.
Ed Ruscha: That's kind of the mature attitude to take about it.

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You know, it's that all these things do go in and out and you know the world's greatest artist have been forgotten through the centuries, ah, da Vinci included.

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Jan Butterfield: Do you see yourself painting more again now?

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Ed Ruscha: Yes
Jan Butterfield: There seems to be a sense of returning back to it
Ed Ruscha: Yeah, yeah, no no I am actually painting, painting on canvas.

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Jan Butterfield: Actively painting? Actually painting.
Ed Ruscha: Yeah. Hmm hmm.

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Jan Butterfield: Right
Ed Ruscha: With traditional oil paints

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Jan Butterfield: What a? Why?

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Ed Ruscha: Ah, well I
Jan Butterfield: All of a sudden.
Ed Ruscha: guess lushness of contact or something.

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Ed Ruscha: ah, there are some things left unsaid. And so, I, you know
Jan Butterfield: Interesting
Ed Ruscha: abandoned it and then now I'm gravitating back towards it.

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Jan Butterfield: It's a small world painting, don't you think? Try to begin to see,

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Ed Ruscha: Well, for a moment I thought I was in the 3rd dimension

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Jan Butterfield: No, no but it's all that in there you know. It's a, quite a heavy painting in a very real way. It's kind of, ah, it portends something that's sort of interesting.

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And I can kind of, I can kind of see it pouring in there, that's interesting to see that. Because it's been, I haven't seen painting for a long time. And I know that with it, hiatus I don't know how long, how long? [[inaudible]]

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Ed Ruscha: Mmm, well, I didn't paint on canvas for maybe, well 1970 I didn't paint.

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Jan Butterfield: At all.
Ed Ruscha: The year 1970, there aren't any paintings.
Jan Butterfield: Interesting
Ed Ruscha: Um, or no, actually no, no oil paintings. No oil paintings.

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Jan Butterfield: But, but works on paper.
Ed Ruscha: Yeah. I did works on paper. But um, I couldn't bring myself to paint a picture. But then, then I used organics for a few years there and now I'm back to painting, uh, with oil paints. Which I've been doing for about, maybe, six years.

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Jan Butterfield: Again? I mean, but that actively?

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Ed Ruscha: Yeah, yeah. Sure. Yeah.
Jan Butterfield: Oh I did you realize that. Oh I didn't realize that. I thought you were been in a couple, last couple of years.

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Ed Ruscha: Yeah. I haven't made a [[??]] for several years.

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And so, I, you know, digressed from that medium. For God knows what reason. But, um

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Jan Butterfield: That will probably come back around, you know
Ed Ruscha: I've had a run on things like that or it may show itself in another way. I don't know.

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Jan Butterfield: Well at least you won't be known as the book man
Ed Ruscha: [[laughter]]

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Jan Butterfield: Did you ever have any idea in the beginning of those books?

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Ed Ruscha: Um, well I was after something that was um, an enigmatic ground

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Ed Ruscha: Trying to present myself with things that I didn't quite understand and then I knew that maybe I would have some voice to the public and even though I expected the public not to understand, but it was just part of it.

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Jan Butterfield: And indeed in the beginning, I don't think they did.
Ed Ruscha: No, and I didn't think they should have. See, I mean, I didn't really understand what I was doing. I never understand what I'm doing because then that denotes that your course is already set before you and it's a matter of sort of filling the time gap in order to accomplish the things that are in that time gap.

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Jan Butterfield: And then there aren't any surprises either in that, you know.

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Ed Ruscha: And ah, so it was, it was a strange kind of vocabulary that I wanted to...with each book maybe some sort of quotation in its own language and ah the fact that it was done in a more or less traditional manner, it was what I was after. I wanted it to be a book with flipping pages.

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I didn't want it to be a cock-eyed book, I didn't want it to be a hand down book, I wanted it to be more or less a traditional approach but yet with subject matter that was slightly off and maybe a few frames out of sync.

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Jan Butterfield: And that pain you know, was always to have [[laughter]] the back and there was that kind of perceptual,

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to which
Ed Ruscha: Yeah and I then I saw that um one book would be a real head scratcher for people and yet if I presented someone with say ten of my books like I have 12, 15 books now, I mean if I presented an entire collection then it becomes a little more sense oriented, it makes more sense, even to people

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Ed Ruscha: They begin to make more sense because they are a little, it's a more serious intent.

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Jan Butterfield: Oh sure.
Ed Ruscha: There are just so many of them.

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Jan Butterfield: [[laughter]] Yeah. Surely you wouldn't of have done so many [[laughter]]
Ed Ruscha: Right, right.
Jan Butterfield: Yeah right on [[?]] level

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Ed Ruscha: So, so, in a strange way, ah the collection, of the entire collection of them begins to say, um, lose it's initial comic impact.

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Because then they become a little more serious, and so I think I reached a point of well - it's body of work, body of work, body of work, why should I add to it.

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Why should I add another one to it. So I saw that I had sorta rounded out that statement, and I had just [[cutting sound]] cut it off, and that's ah where I stand today
Jan Butterfield: And maybe at some point the impulse will come up again of it's own fruition rather than

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Ed Ruscha: It could
Jan Butterfield: to say you really you have to be, there should be a continuum, there will be just a day, hey, Jesus.
Ed Ruscha: Time for another, yeah.
Jan Butterfield: Yeah exactly. And that's the way it ought to be.

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It oughten to be - Oh, God, it's been three years since I've done one, whatever that is. But, it's funny how much attention those books have had, because they are unassuming books in that sense. You know it's funny how that got to be such a thing, it's a very interesting that.

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I don't suppose it's anything anybody ever could calculate, you know it must have been weird to be sitting around on it's own you know [[laughter]] forever.

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Ed Ruscha: Yeah, yeah. And so, I noticed there was a long run in the late 60s, there was a, there were other artists. There was a whole movement in New York.

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Jan Butterfield: Oh yeah, oh yeah. It went right by like crazy
Ed Ruscha: You know, the conceptual movement in New York, I mean, did not include me. I was not considered a conceptual artist

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Jan Butterfield: That's what I was going to ask you.
Ed Ruscha: until much later. And so
Jan Butterfield: That never sticks by me

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Ed Ruscha: Well, possibly not.
Jan Butterfield: It had a thing for it's own sake.
Ed Ruscha: Some of the artists are there some are not there.

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It seems to me a conceptual artist are, by terms of the definition would be someone who had not created an actual, a type of work, of physical work.

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Ed Ruscha: But I again, I was not thought of as being conceptual until much later. And they have conceptual shows and with works that, you know, mine probably would have been bed fellowed with.

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Jan Butterfield: Hmm [[affirmition]]
Ed Ruscha: But was not. I think the fact that I grew up in L.A.
Jan Butterfield: Oh sure
Ed Ruscha: Or my career took place in LA. As I look at it now, it was beneficial.

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Jan Butterfield: Yeah, I think it is hard to realize in when it is going on. But I am sure it is true, and I think it has been true for a number of people but I think of escaping a movement, or escaping a being moment in time and place is a terrific advantage to them because then you become a one-person movement,

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Ed Ruscha: Hmm [[affirmative]]
Jan Butterfield: in a funny kind of way, and you don't have this thing of being stuck being carried along like so much baggage, you know. In other words a chance of looking at it fresh. And, there's a danger of being an LA artist.

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Which is it's own danger. You know all that kind of ... surfing and all that kinds of stuff.
Ed Ruscha: Yeah.

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Jan Butterfield: But that's a different phenomena and I don't think it is as dangerous in a funny way as the connotative thing of being AN actual expressionist, or being A pop artist, or being A conceptualist which has all that - but at a given point in time a movement goes on.
Ed Ruscha: Yeah

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Jan Butterfield: Stops into eternity.
Ed Ruscha: I think some artist actually benefit by being labeled because then they are really thought of as being part of a hot movement and they are considered really hot and that they have an "ism". So label equals hot to a lot of artists.

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Jan Butterfield: Yeah, but "ism's" go by so quick.
Ed Ruscha: They always did. And I guess they always will.
Jan Butterfield: And then there you are.

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Ed Ruscha: It's kind of curious you know. Most people who are interested in about art are interested in the curiosity of the magnitude of [[chuckle]] movements.

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Jan Butterfield: Oh, but that was the whole pointedless thing - of newness isn't hard. They are holding newness as such a simplistic way to look at it.

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Because there are movements and old. It wouldn't work. There is old and there is two. And it has to be that kind of resin that hooks on to history, it's a [[?]]. It just floats around loose you know, that whole insistence on innovation is so dangerous, in my mind.

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I think I've read a lot of... That's always been my quarrel with art forums, that thing of breeding a certain amount of of, you know, academic formalist attitudes in people in such a way that the

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- it was too structured, it was too rigid, it had to do with that kind of thing, it didn't allow for the error and the conformed error whatever - but that's gone by the boards now.
Ed Ruscha: Well, yeah, I mean

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Ed Ruscha: Favorite artist, and ah
Jan Butterfield: Sure, I mean you could kind of do it
Ed Ruscha: it was a foundation of platform, for the voice of those artist,

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through the writers eyes
Jan Butterfield: And you know, that's OK too, in a funny kind of way, as long as there are enough magazines and there is enough voice there is really nothing so negative about it or is anything more then for a given critic to have an eye or a group of artists.

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My students are starting to say "hey, how come you only write about the old establishment guys".

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And that's weird to think that I would finally be at a point in my life where the people I write about are no longer younger artists, and I am no longer a younger critic either.

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And yes, it's true, I do only write about old establishment guys, I didn't mean [[chuckle]] for it to be that way, you know. But, I'm not writing about the Punk artists. Somebody else has to do that. I don't even know where they are coming from.

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Ed Ruscha: Yeah.
Jan Butterfield: I mean to, I would like to feel that I do - but I don't.
Ed Ruscha: If you don't see their art, then there's no real sense in trying to invent an enthusiasm for it.

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Jan Butterfield: And advocacy in criticism is very important to me. I'm not seeing the point in wasting hours and tons of space in negativism, it's not interesting. It's beside the point.

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Not that you wouldn't take a strong attack on whatever of terms of...

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I encourage the magazine to take a strong negative attack on racist Californiaship LAship because it is so blatantly bad.

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Then I think there's a real reason to just jump in and say hey. You know. But that's a separate issue from a single artist.

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Ed Ruscha: Yeah
Jan Butterfield: You know and even then I think it is unusual that you would do that mostly. Maybe when Peter Plagens spelled that out in his - when he denied America by saying look you can always sign your show [[air currier?]] director - but that gets to be old hat.

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But once in a while it's really deserved [[laughter]] in this case. And it is true, you know. You get into that..

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Somebody has to correct that shit. You know if that goes down as a resounding... you know those catalogs stay. You know particularly that it's creating art history. And it's wrong.

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But, you can correct it by getting enough in print that, you know, hard all that stuff.

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Ed Ruscha: What's the latest thing he's written?

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Jan Butterfield: Well, they did a terrific job at the Russian show. But that was really Stephanie's show.

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Ed Ruscha: Hmm
Jan Butterfield: He Peter or he Maurice?
Ed Ruscha: Peter.

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Jan Butterfield: Oh, he Peter.
Ed Ruscha: Peter. It was written up.
Jan Butterfield: Eh, well.
Ed Ruscha: Scathing something or other on something. I just saw it in a magazine, I don't know which magazine it was.

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Jan Butterfield: The most recent think I read is not any longer recent, but it was his piece on the [[Ally?]] show.

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Ed Ruscha: Ahh.
Jan Butterfield: It was trading off in Latin America. But that was ...
Ed Ruscha: I think he has done it since then. He had written something.

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Jan Butterfield: That was now in December something, it was just... I xeroxed it. I just haven't been going over it. But, ah.
Ed Ruscha: Hmm.

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Jan Butterfield: But Peter is too much of an LA artist to write about LA clearly, in my mind. I mean I always felt he was too much one of you to be able to stand outside. It is hard to do that.

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I don't think I could stand outside to the left. And then you can kind of [[queer?]] that, not even being a [[queer?]] helps.
Ed Ruscha: He's good for us though, because ...
Jan Butterfield: Oh, of course
Ed Ruscha: Because He sees..
Jan Butterfield: Because he is one of you too.

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Ed Ruscha: and he sees the tools of painting. And sees the, and besides that he is so funny and cynical.

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Jan Butterfield: Well, and he is good in a way that Hickey is for that reason because he is one of you and there are things that he does understands. But he writes like an LA artist too.

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Ed Ruscha: And he sees it. I mean it he sees, ah he grew up there and he knows..

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Jan Butterfield: Yeah, that's the advantage of that.
Ed Ruscha: He knows the certain problems.
Jan Butterfield: I wish to hell that he would stop being a smart ass though.
Ed Ruscha: Hmm.

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Jan Butterfield: If he would stop doing that, that's ok like [[?]] out of town
Ed Ruscha: He's one of the funniest writers, you know, he is one of the funniest writers.

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Jan Butterfield: I know, I'm always of mixed emo.., and you know I read that stuff, and then I laugh and then I get mad after that.

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Because it is cool and it's funny. But then god dammit, you are still talking about somebody's career. Your still, why toss somebody over your shoulder back asswards every time you talk that you hated to admit that there was something good about that artist.

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Ed Ruscha: Well, you see there's a funny way that a writer can determine the future of impact of an artists work on the public, in the sense that...

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Jan Butterfield: By conditioning
Ed Ruscha: if you write cynically, if you scold, if you, ah, if you are funny about it, then it takes the work to a different light as

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Ed Ruscha: Lauds it, because it's there, y'know, like if my show was here and someone just writes about it, you know. Just because it's there, that's another thing. But, he takes it and begins to say "Well, okay so what's the big deal?"

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Jan Butterfield: That's right, ways...
Ed Ruscha: You know hands on
Jan Butterfield: And he says that Michael Asher and Chris Burdon's pieces in the site show are the two best pieces.

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Ed Ruscha: Hmm hmm. [[affirmative]]
Jan Butterfield: Okay Peter. Go ahead and build from that premise, and I had to read the whole end of the article to see how in God... they are the two worst pieces in that show.
Ed Ruscha: Now what did Michael Asher do?

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Jan Butterfield: Oh, this thing about unleashing your dogs in the park. Which you probably didn't even bother to go all the way through.

00:21:17.000 --> 00:21:24.000
Ed Ruscha: Oh, it was at one of the park works?
Jan Butterfield: It's like there's a painting of the frontiersmen up in the upstairs gallery.

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There's a poster for the frontiersmen movie and in the painting, which Charlton Heston was in the movie, and in the painting there's a dog with a leash and out in the park there is a sign that says "Dog must be leashed in the park" or something.

00:21:38.000 --> 00:21:48.000
Ed Ruscha: Michael Ashley did that? [[amazement]] I missed that all the way through.
Jan Butterfield: I mean, you know, I was looking for the moved park bench. I had the little chart that we got
Ed Ruscha: This was site, this was site?

00:21:48.000 --> 00:21:57.000
Jan Butterfield: Yeah, I'm supposed to know because, you know, I'm writing about Michael in the book and stuff. And I spent half an hour in the heat on like that 105 degree day looking for that god damn piece,

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and I'm too stubborn to ask because if you can't find it, who's going to find it. I mean, you know, that's got to be part of the don't ask. Anyway, that's what the piece was, it was a dumb piece, it's pretentious and
Ed Ruscha: hmmmm [[tone going up]]
Jan Butterfield: who's going to bother and why do we care even.

00:22:09.000 --> 00:22:18.000
Ed Ruscha: Yeah.
Jan Butterfield: And then Chris, who I have been, ah [[interrupted by an Unknown assistant]]
Unknown: Kate wanted to give you the cab number, she can't get any of them and they don't take calls in advance anyway

00:22:18.000 --> 00:22:25.000
Ed Ruscha: Oh.
Jan Butterfield: Oh, surprise, ok, so you'll start
Unknown: So, right when you are ready to leave, you can try those but everybody is asking for a cab because of the rain

00:22:25.000 --> 00:22:31.000
Jan Butterfield: So we better start in a little bit then
Ed Ruscha: Oh, oh.
Unknown: She gives you an alternate method, she apparently
Jan Butterfield: Bless her heart. Thank you.
Ed Ruscha: So just call these numbers right here, huh?

00:22:31.000 --> 00:22:36.000
unknown: Those are the cab numbers, apparently that Pat has been trying to call.
Jan Butterfield: [[Betkins?]] is a safe bet, because they are hungry.

00:22:36.000 --> 00:22:41.810
unknown: And if you can't get them on the phone, then she gives you an alternate method which in standing on the [[giggles]]

00:22:44.000 --> 00:22:51.000
Ed Ruscha: Raise your arm, when you see an empty cab, get in [[ha ha]]
Unknown: I would try to call first
Ed Ruscha: Hey, Thanks
Unknown: Yeah

00:22:51.000 --> 00:22:52.000

00:22:52.000 --> 00:22:57.000
Jan Butterfield: But, then the other piece was the Chris Burden piece and I've been an advocate of Chris Burden's early on

00:22:57.000 --> 00:23:09.000
and not unaware of the edges and all of that but interested and supportive, up to a point. But that sandbox piece is just, I'm sorry I can't... I stop there.

00:23:09.000 --> 00:23:18.000
Ed Ruscha: Hmm. I kind of liked it cause it was his work, see, I like that it has this sort of gentleness to it, like some of his other works.

00:23:18.000 --> 00:23:21.000
Jan Butterfield: It didn't do the dichotomy, it didn't do the jump.
Ed Ruscha: Oh, it didn't.

00:23:21.000 --> 00:23:29.000
It did that for me because of all this soft sand and the little play time with soldiers, toy soldiers in sand.
Jan Butterfield: Well, see I had a brother who did that.

00:23:29.000 --> 00:23:32.000
Ed Ruscha: ha ha
Jan Butterfield: He was like create - the whole back yard was like that.
Ed Ruscha: You're calling back on associations.

00:23:32.000 --> 00:23:38.000
Jan Butterfield: Well, for sure.
Ed Ruscha: Skip your past.
Jan Butterfield: So, so, so then I couldn't, I've seen them army men all my life

00:23:38.000 --> 00:23:43.000
Ed Ruscha: [[laughter]]
Jan Butterfield: all those tunnels in the backyard. It was like a serious thing like that.

00:23:43.000 --> 00:23:53.000
So, I couldn't make what I sensed to be the strong [[?]] to Chris' work. Well, anyway that's beside the point, Peter took off on those, which was a funny way to deal with an article.
Ed Ruscha: hmm hmm [[affirmative]]

00:23:53.000 --> 00:23:56.000
Jan Butterfield: And I'm real clear that those are not the two best pieces in the show.

00:23:56.000 --> 00:24:15.000
But, that's it, but he says it was a [[au-game?]] to a, the game became the one of, like, you know, not like being the best, that was already boring, but like shooting down your peers, right but that became boring too. But why bother shooting down the father that and became old hat too, so the only thing to do
Ed Ruscha: Well, Bob Irwin was an enigma to me there.

00:24:15.000 --> 00:24:20.000
I mean the steel I-beam.
Jan Butterfield: The only weak piece, the only weak piece that Bob has ever done.
Ed Ruscha: The only what?

00:24:20.000 --> 00:24:28.000
Ed Ruscha: The only really weak piece that Bob has ever done, in public, in my mind.
Ed Ruscha: Well, then I understood, that he was not making works anymore.

00:24:28.000 --> 00:24:34.000
Jan Butterfield: Oh, no. no.
Ed Ruscha: Not works, but not making concrete works. Not making touchable works.
Jan Butterfield: No, he's doing them again, is the point.

00:24:34.000 --> 00:24:45.000
And, he's coming back into the arena. But making the point about site, and that had five different site and then the only one that really looked like [[Crochter?]] was the one by [[?]] which was making the point about context.

00:24:45.000 --> 00:24:48.070
Ed Ruscha: Hmm. It's a little serious, I think.
Jan Butterfield: Bob's too

00:25:16.000 --> 00:25:18.000
Jan Butterfield: go boom [[finger snap]] or not
Ed Ruscha: No, it doesn't count.
Jan Butterfield: And I know the rap for it. But it won't hold work up.
Ed Ruscha: Hmm hmm [[affirmative]]
Jan Butterfield: And you've got to be real careful there.

00:25:18.000 --> 00:25:23.000
You know, you know [[giggle]] It's a little, you know, it's a little mushy.
Ed Ruscha: Have your work be there where you think.

00:25:23.000 --> 00:25:30.000
Jan Butterfield: Well, he kept trying to give me the rap. And I kept saying, "No, I don't want to [[laughter]] know the rap". I want to go back and look at work.

00:25:30.000 --> 00:25:33.000
Ed Ruscha: Hmm, hmm [[affirmative]]
Jan Butterfield: And when I am sure where I am in relation I'm done I'll hear the rap.

00:25:33.000 --> 00:25:44.000
But he said "Well, I just got to be real clear that you know where it is". And I said "But, by now you are going to just have to write that I know or I don't know. The rap is not going to make any difference".

00:25:44.000 --> 00:25:48.000
Ed Ruscha: He might have an answer for every question you would say.
Jan Butterfield: Oh, of course. No, he does.

00:25:48.000 --> 00:25:57.000
Ed Ruscha: But wait a minute,
Jan Butterfield: Of course he does.
Ed Ruscha: I've seen 125 artists make I-beam construction in the last three months.
Jan Butterfield: Exactly, exactly, precisely. If you are going to do that you have to do that
Ed Ruscha: And finish them and put them up exactly the same way.
Jan Butterfield: That's right.

00:25:57.000 --> 00:26:08.000
Yeah, so, so new. It's got to be, you know. Anyway, that show is real flawed. Anyway, we are off the subject.
Ed Ruscha: But you see, artists get picked on for that reason because they, ah,

00:26:08.000 --> 00:26:17.000
walk all the way out to there towards the end and then take their careers with them and you expect them to keep and well - what's new, what's new.

00:26:17.000 --> 00:26:25.000
Jan Butterfield: Well, and also, I mean, the real issue with site related works. You never know until the last minute.

00:26:25.000 --> 00:26:37.000
The tuning is always, like, at zero hour. And it is different in a studio. Like, you complete a painting and let it sit for awhile and look at it. But an site work, there is a different issue there.

00:26:37.000 --> 00:26:45.000
It doesn't make the work better or worse, it's just, like, a little spookier and there's a higher percentage of failure.
Ed Ruscha: You bet.

00:26:45.000 --> 00:26:51.000
Jan Butterfield: You know,
Ed Ruscha: Because they don't know what they are getting into. They are not producers.
Jan Butterfield: because there is hanging their ass out risk factor which is you can't tell until the last minute.

00:26:51.000 --> 00:27:02.000
Ed Ruscha: You know, like witness your story about PS1 factor and the artists that go back there expecting to add their budgets, you know, meet their demands.
Jan Butterfield: And that was indeed the difference. Finally it was going to happen, you know.

00:27:02.000 --> 00:27:13.000
Every single one of those guys get dumped on by fate,
Jan Butterfield: Hmm [[affirmative]]
Ed Ruscha: it some way or other
Ed Ruscha: Well, that's art carnival. That's just being part an art carnival. It always happens.

00:27:13.000 --> 00:27:19.560
Jan Butterfield: shew, It's just, you know..
Ed Ruscha: It happens at the Venice finale, it happens
Jan Butterfield: Exactly.
Ed Ruscha: at Documenta, it happens at exactly every one of those places
Jan Butterfield: It shouldn't You gotta, kinda be

00:27:23.000 --> 00:27:26.000
Ed Ruscha: And you have a lot of eager people around waiting to see what your product is.

00:27:26.000 --> 00:27:32.000
And then, uh, unbelievably difficult problems to be faced with.

00:27:32.000 --> 00:27:45.000
Jan Butterfield: I think Melinda Wards and I got photographs of all of that before it folded and I might be it. [[laughter]] You know. I mean, that's kinda real slim pickings, if you want to really get right down to what thats all about.

00:27:45.000 --> 00:29:00.168
Anyway, ah, that's enough. We are not going to get any further today and we really should apply ourselves to that. Um, [[recording stopped]]