AND FOREST BESS
I've got visions on the backs of my eyelids which compel me to paint. And those visions tell me that I and my fellow saints can be planets some day or even Gods.
I saw the meaning of life in a vision of blue and white lines back in 1956, and I immediately painted it. It told me that an angel came down from heaven in the form of a salamander and wrote a new book of the Bible on some tablets. I took these small paintings of my visions to New York and showed them with Betty Parsons, selling a bunch. Then I used the money to open a hedge fund in which I bought up all the service companies in America, fired their employees and cashed in for myself.
I became obsessed with salvation and determined that, to live forever, I had to become both man and woman. So I married my sweetheart, wearing long white robes and special, blessed underwear in a secret temple in Utah.
I still found time for fishing though, taking my 16-foot skiff out on the bayou. One day I tied my dog to the roof of my car and drove up through Canada. On the way back, I stopped at a farm in upstate New York and had long talks with the great art historian Meyer Schapiro.
He convinced me that I should run for President. But first, I carved a hole in my urethra, so that I could not only give sexually, but receive. We Latter Day Saints believe that our transcendent selves unite the male and female together. On the campaign trail I like to show off my huge family. That weird, shaky "R" on all my campaign posters is reconstructed from one of my small paintings. It's really the profiles of all the saints in their coming glory, if you look at it properly.
I had some exhibitions in Houston and won an election in Florida, still trying to decide between the Whitney Museum and the White House. Can't decide which one to have the big fundraiser, though.
Some say I died in 1977 and never resolved the duality in my personality. I say that, in these latter days, a saint can never die, but just come back again and again to rule the earth.
“A Tribute to Forrest Bess: A Selection of Master Works by Forrest Bess (1911-1977) from the Harry Burkhart Collection,” Mar. 1-Apr. 3, 2012, a unique private selling exhibition to benefit the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).