me one thing that you've
learned from art." It is not an educational activity. But
we like education, and we like things that go away. You don't
need to know anything to understand good art. The only justification
for an exhibition these days is some educational purpose, or if
it's a box office. At the MoMA what goes is what will get
them a box office; the MoMA is more market driven than Mary Boone
is. Mary Boone will sometimes put something up just to see if
people like it. The MoMA would never do that. And there are a
lot of artists that would benefit from a show at the MoMA, who
are Modern artists like Bradley Walker Tomlin, James Brookes,
and many others who never had a major show. The MoMA will put
up Picassos, because people will go see that. The perfect MoMA
show would be Picasso's paintings of the Holy Land from
the collection of Jacqueline Kennedy.
SC: I understand you are going to do one of these "hber"
shows. What are your ideas to make it different?
DH: Well, its called "Beau Monde," beautiful world,
and I am interested in doing a show that has length as well as
width. Most shows are comprised of people from age 35 to 45, of
all nations, genders, ethnicities etc, etc. My show will start
with people from the oldest practicing generation, and also include
some people in their '20s, all of whom are interested in
fabrication. Rather than dealing with cultural identity, I am
interested in the interface of culturesthe impurity and
reconciliation of various cultures, about how one culture impacts
SC: You critique works of art with regards to their ideological
stance, positioning generosity and inclusiveness against exclusivity,
and speaking about works that practice contingency rather than
autonomy, and are anti-hierarchical and anti-authoritative at
their core. How does that influence your taste?
DH: I am interested in works in which something happens when you
look at them. And also I am interested in works that have either
the simplicity or the complexity to change their meanings. Good
art, to survive, must change its meaning. If we still had to think
about a Pollock the way he thought about it, we would hate it.
He was crazy, he was an asshole. He thought he was doing Jungian
Expression or something. Works of art have to be free enough in
the culture to sustain reinterpretation over the years, and they
have to continue to happen, and that's very difficult.
Works of art don't have messages. They don't have
determinate meanings. They're not just formal objects.
Deleuze has a book about Lewis Carroll, The Logic of Sense, which
is exactly about the way we perceive and sense things. Lewis Carroll
has lines that don't mean anything, but they have meaning.
And that's how art works. A Pollock doesn't mean
anything, but it has meaning, we can find meanings for it, if
we care to. I am really not concerned with what the artist meant.
It's totally irrelevant. I have written a lot of fiction,
I don't know what it meant, I know that the story doesn't
mean what I thought it meant. Artists don't know what they're
doing, so why ask them? What matters is, what the consensus of
opinion of what the work means on a particular moment. And it
really matters that a work of art can survive the changing of
I am very concerned with the process of thinking and the process
of meaning; I am not really concerned with thought or with what
things mean. Works of art, according to TS Elliot, are objective
correlatives; they are things in the world that we use to correlate
our opinions about. That's not meant to discount the artist.
It's meant to free the artist, so they can do what they
want, because they don't know anyway. I know some grown
up artists who know pretty well what they are doing. Ed Ruscha
knows what he expects to get, so do Bridget Riley, Richard Serra,
and Ellsworth Kelly. But these are people in their sixties and
seventies. Anyone who is much younger than that, if they are any
good, are still improvising. And then there are people, like Rauschenberg,
who are 70 years old and are still improvising. Bob doesn't
have the faintest idea what he's doing, but he is doing
it every day. I am interested in that, I don't like rules.
I think art is for people who like art, who like to talk about
physical things in the world. I don't think there is any
difference, say, between talking about the Lakers and talking
about Terry Winters. Maybe that the Lakers are better, and you
talk about them with different people. They are both occasions
SC: Your art criticism seems to be a choice you've made
within the sphere of writing. You use art criticism to write just
as much as you use writing to criticize art.
DH: Yeah, I am a writer. My whole idea in life is to be able to
make a living doing what I like to do. I like to write, and I
like to write about hard things in the worldI don't
usually like to make things upalthough I do occasionally.
It's fine to make things up at times, because it's
so hard to write about things in the world. I am a pretty good
writer. I mean some days I write better and some worse, but I
have skills, and my view of the world is solid enough that regardless
of the topic you give me, I will say some version of the same
thing. I wrote a piece called "Earth Scapes, Land Works
and Oz" back in '72 for Art in America about Land
Art and my position has not changed since then. I have spent most
of my career writing about Post-Minimalist art. I write about
Bruce Nauman, John Baldessari, Ann Hamilton, Robert Gober. Only
recently, because of the shift in taste, do I get to write about
people whom I have deep temperamental affinities with, like Warhol
or John Wesly. For 30 years you couldn't get a job or occasion
to write about these people. I like getting assignments, if I
didn't get them I would probably not write anything, except
maybe Rock N Roll songs. God, I thought of a really good name
for a band the other day, I saw it in Newsweek; 'Cloning
Pigs for Parts' . . . "We're,