in Interviews | 01 SEP 11
Featured in
Issue 141

Questionnaire: frieze

How old are you? Twenty.

in Interviews | 01 SEP 11

An astronaut, cat, brontosaurus, grilled mackerel and leek sandwich and a Tyrolean hat.

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

Infinite piles of books and magazines. A small paper sculpture of an Egyptian pyramid and a collection of gallery invitations with cats on them. A cardboard press-out owl spreading its wings. Postcards. A Félix González-Torres poster. A large jellyfish screen saver.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

A reproduction of a Degas horse. A mural of Superman that my brother painted on my bedroom wall. Reproductions of Andy Warhol paintings in a copy of Robert Hughes’s The Shock of the New (1980) found in the school library. David Hockney’s Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980). The illustrations in a Jehova’s Witness edition of the Old Testament for kids, c.1970, especially the one about Daniel’s dream of the four beasts. A print of nine plums I received for my sixth birthday. A Paula Rego painting of a girl polishing her dad’s riding boots. A watercolour of the Great Fire of London by my sister (aged nine), which I copied.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?

A painting by Giorgio Morandi or Jean-Antoine Watteau. A Paul Nash landscape. An On Kawara ‘Date Painting’. A drawing by Rosemarie Trockel. Sigmar Polke’s Laterna Magica (1988–94). A Blinky Palermo, a John Stezaker or a collage by Frances Stark. Anything by Clarice Beckett (even a damaged painting will do).

What is your favourite title of an art work?

With Hidden Noise (1916) by Marcel Duchamp. Plötzlich diese Übersicht (Suddenly this Overview, 1981) by Fischli/Weiss. Bourgeois Wedding Couple – Quarrel (1919) by Hannah Höch. Kurt Schwitters + all the Single Ladies (2009) by Karl Holmqvist. Nick Silver Can’t Sleep (2007) by Janice Kerbel. Ich kann beim besten Willen kein Hakenkreuz entdecken (For the Life of Me I Can’t See the Swastika in This, 1984) by Martin Kippenberger. On a Clear Day (1973) by Agnes Martin. Higher Powers Command: Paint the Upper Right Corner Black! (1969) by Sigmar Polke. A Heap of Language (1966) by Robert Smithson.

What do you wish you knew?

Why so many writers are paralyzed by the fear of deadlines. My great-grandparents. How to sort out my records and books. The names of different types of dog. The answers to the questions that I don’t have the answers to.

What’s your favourite journey?

Into the unknown. Home. Through the Alps on a Swiss train. On horseback through a forest towards a lake. Passing the Trellick Tower, on London’s Westway. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981).

What should change?

People being mean. Press releases. The US health care system. Any oligarchy, autocracy, dictatorship or monopoly (except for the near-monopoly Judd Apatow currently holds as a producer of great comedy). The forces by which cities slowly lose their soul due to property speculation.

What should stay the same?

People being kind. The infinite possibilities of the imagination. Quality television. That art, despite all odds, still has the power to surprise and amaze. The mind-boggling deliciousness of the sandwiches at Num Pang, near Union Square, New York.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Writing more, especially about mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Being a character actor. Making music full-time. Writing, directing and starring in sci-fi feature films. Show-jumping.

What music are you listening to?

Late piano works by Franz Schubert. David Bowie, but only on Fridays. The English Riviera by Metronomy, SBTRKT by SBTRKT and We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves by John Maus (all 2011). Today and always, the collected works of Serge Gainsbourg. The Shangri-Las’ Myrmidons of Melodrama (1963–6). Henry Flynt’s Hillbilly Tape Music (2003). Wareika, ‘King’s Child (Villalobos Remix)’ (2009). Anything by Charles Trenet.

What are you reading?

The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing (2006) by T.J. Clark. Sanctuary (2011) by Brian Dillon. The Pale King (2011) by David Foster Wallace. Sebastian Haffner’s The Meaning of Hitler (1978). Postwar (2005) by Tony Judt. Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism (2010) co-edited by Jeff Khonsary and Melanie O’Brian. The novels of Dorothy L. Sayers. Lawrence Weschler’s Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Things One Sees (1982/2009). Eggs, Beans and Crumpets (1940) by P.G. Wodehouse. Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (2010) by Sharon Zukin.

What do you like the look of?

Astronauts, the night sky and a cold bottle of wine. Will Ferrell. Cats. Horses. Dogs. (Actually, most animals.) Very old or very new art galleries (some exceptions apply). My new Tyrolean hat. ‘No new mail’. Stationery. The fig tree in my garden. Brontosauruses.

frieze is an international contemporary art and culture magazine based in London, Berlin and New York. Recent issues have included ‘Design Matters’ (2011), ‘Religion and Spirituality’ and ‘Super-hybridity’ (both 2010). This year marks the 20th anniversary of its publication.