I have always been a writer but writing has always been too diaphanous for me somehow. No matter how fast you make it go, it still seems to dawdle. I can’t quit writing because it’s all I can do, so I write about art, which is instantaneous and a cure for writing, for the endless tedium of word, word, word, word—event, event, event, event. Thus, I am able, simultaneously, to repudiate my practice and reinforce my addiction to it. Also, I prefer objects to people and stories and pictures.
About the images on the following pages, you should keep this in mind. I have been doing this for thirty-five years. All the artists are my friends. Three of them are my ex-students. At one time or another, I have included all these artists in exhibitions or written about their work. I own works by all of them and I would be a fool if I didn’t. This selection of images should, I think, betray the contours of my taste without commentary. If this selection doesn’t speak for itself, I’m in trouble.
The only image that is not visibly accessible in the photograph is Robert Gober’s installation at the Geffen in Los Angeles. You cannot hear the waterfall rushing down stairs or look down through the suitcases into the aqueous, turquoise underworld that opens up beneath them. On the Sunday afternoon after the opening, I was there to give a little talk introducing the piece. There was a lot of milling around and controversy about the pipe through the Virgin. I noticed the Latino guy who guards the space looking smug so I walked over to him.
“You get it, don’t you,” I said.
“Duh,” he said. “Mercy flows through the Virgin.”