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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. 

Tattoos: Yes. 



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 

Paume, Paris. 

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.