Who can say under what circumstances
creativity blooms? For van Gogh it was the
asylum at Auvers, for Monet the gardens at
Giverny. As for today's artist, who knows?
We thought we'd try to discover the roots
of the artistic impulse using the following
simple test. A number of leading artists
were kind enough to provide answers; it is
up to you, dear reader, to decipher their
Post-modernist artist who showed stuffed
turkeys wearing fancy dress wigs at Leo
Castelli in 1990.
Earliest art memory: Finger-painting the
Venezuelan flag at age 3. Best time of
day: 11 a.m. Best time of day for work:
Don't have one. Art axiom: Minimalism.
Favorite Old Master: Goya. Pet peeve:
Flavored coffees. Favorite color: Orange.
Most spiritual experience: Watching
Tammy Faye Baker on TV. While working I
listen to: Henry Fiol-fe, Esteranza y
Caridad. Astrological sign: Gemini. What
is your idea of perfection? Uma Thurman
with Celia Cruz's voice. Your first sale:
10 years ago, $200. Where do you get
your art ideas? Not from Wittgenstein, or
Foucault, or Barthes, or Lacan, or
East Village appropriationist whose
Warholesque Brillo Boxes were at Bruno
Bischofberger in 1995.
Earliest art memory: Preschool
handprints. Idol: Billy, of course. Where
do you get your art ideas? Pollock,
Picasso, Duchamp, Leger. Pet peeve: The
art police--SPADEM and ADAGP. Ideal
studio: Large, with cross-ventilation.
Actual studio: The paintings become the
windows. Favorite color: You can't have
one without the other. Best museum: The
Guggenheim, for its spiral continuum. Art
axiom: Less is more. Favorite designer:
Mother nature. Favorite outfit: I like to
fit in, not out. Most loved household
object: My porcelain urinal, signed R.
Mutt, 1917. Tattoos: I opt for scars
instead. Favorite critic: Myself.
Painter who exhibits with Friedrich Petzel
in New York and Anthony d'Offay in London.
Best Time of day: Early morning...but
I'm not usually awake to enjoy it.Best time
of the day for work: Before lunch or after
tea. Favorite color: Ultramarine, though
I rarely use it--it's too blue.Art axiom:
Stick it there.Favorite old master: The
Flagellation by Piero della Francesca or
The Legend of the True Cross--great hats.
Works in my collection: Works by Nicole
Eisenmann, Kirsi Mikkola, Ellen Cantor and
an excellent tree painting by someone called
Ed Todd from a thrift store.Favorite
appliance: Answering machine--for
protection. Best museum: "The Olde Worlde."
Favorite critic: Other artists. Scariest
moment: Starting work again after a long
break always feels like a life or death
situation.Ideal studio: Lots of light, lots
of space, good location, quiet. Actual studio:
Lots of light, lots of space, good location,
noisy. Favorite outfit: Anything well-tailored.
Most loved household object: Cat.
Italian sculptor who recently showed his
monumental bronzes at Marlborough, New York
and at the Instituto Italiano di Cultura in
Best time of day: All day long. Best time
of the day for work: From 10:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. Favorite color: Red. Art axiom:
Art is the 'main reason' of my life.
Favorite old master: Kandinsky, Klee,
Boccioni, Brancusi. Works in my collection:
Kandinsky, Miro, Max Ernst. Favorite
appliance: Clay, plaster, bronze. Best
museum: MoMA and Disneyland. Favorite
critic: Sam Hunter. Scariest moment: The
sickness. Ideal studio: Very large old
warehouse. Actual studio: Very small old
warehouse. Favorite outfit: Every tool to
make sculpture. Most loved household
object: An old Renaissance desk.
Feminist body artist whose first show at
Pace/Wildenstein opened this fall and is
exhibiting at L.A. MOCA in December.
Where do you get your art ideas? From
things in the world, museums, other art,
and in my sleep. Earliest art memory:
Guernica and van Gogh's Starry Night. Ideal
studio: 4,500 square feet with a mess area
and a separate drawing studio. Actual
studio: My living room. Favorite color:
Blue. Best museum: Aquande Kunstmuseum,
Vienna. Art axiom: If you take care of
your work it will take care of you.
Favorite designer: Rei Kawakubo and
Martin Margiela. Most loved household
object: My father's sculpture [he is Tony
Smith]. Idols: Lynda Benglis, Joan Jonas,
Tony Smith, Chuck Close, Peter Schumann,
Frida Kahlo, Nancy Spero, Richard Tuttle,
Nancy Rubins, Charlie Ray, Florine
Stettheimer, Louise Bourgeois, Robin
Winters, Ellen Gallagher, Leslie Dill.
Abstract painter who shows with Mary Boone
and has had recent surveys of his work at
the High Museum in Atlanta and the Jeu de
Earliest art memory: Picasso, Boy with a
Dove. Idol: Bob Dylan. Where do you get
your art ideas: The street. Pet peeve:
Slow service. Ideal studio: Enormous, high
ceiling, light, garden. Actual studio:
Dark, low ceilings, no view. Favorite
color: Red. Best museum: MoMA. Art
axiom: Drive your head through a wall.
Favorite designer: Armani. Favorite
outfit: Jeans, white shirt, no shoes. Most
loved household object: Portable
telephone. Tattoos: I'm thinking about it.
Favorite critic: David Carrier.
American photorealist painter who
exhibited his works at Marlborough,
New York in 1995 and will exhibit at
Fondation Maeght in St. Paul de Vence,
France in 1997.
Best time of the day: Depends on the day.
Best time of the day for work: Depends on
the work. Favorite color: Depends on the
light. Art axiom: Depends on my mood.
Favorite old master: Ditto. Works in my
collection: Depends on my finances.
Favorite appliance: Depends on what I want
to do. Best museum: Depends on where I'm
at. Favorite critic: Depends on my
patience. Scariest moment: Depends. Ideal
studio: Depends. Actual studio: Depends.
Most loved household object: Depends.
New York painter who has recently showed
work at Tony Shafrazi in SoHo.
Earliest art memory: At age 6, seeing
Judith with the head of Holofernes in a
painting at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Idol:
Andy Warhol & Giotto. Where do you get
your art ideas: Toilet walls. Pet peeve:
Loud neighbors. Ideal studio: Grand
Central Station. Actual studio: Ordinary
loft (winter); huge potato barn (summer).
Favorite color: Green. Best museum:
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford. Art axiom:
"The pistol of his talent he pointed
straight at his own heart" (Veronica Geng).
Favorite designer: Balenciaga. Favorite
outfit: Jeans, white shirt, Belgian
slippers. Most loved household object:
Trash can. Tattoos: None. Favorite
critic: John Pareles.