wanted to be junior
professors in a school and that was it. It wasn't exciting.
My idea of embarking upon graduate studies was to go some place
where the smart people are. Unfortunately, the smart people are
no longer in universities, the smart people are writing for [The
Simpsons, the smart people are writing for LL Cool J. There are
exceptions, and that's an exaggeration, but most of all
academic culture is just one big handicap, and I live in it with
colleagues that I respect, but it ain't where the thoughts
are thought. I kind of like teachingI mean, I enjoy working
with artists. But what I do with graduate students now, is exactly
what I did with the artists I represented when I was a dealer.
I go to their studios, we sit around and talk about the work with
the idea of how can we get this shit looking like something. That's
it. I like being around people who work. All of my social talk
is with people who have done something between the time I talked
to them last, and the time I talk to them now. University people
really don't do very much, so you have to talk about pets.
I am mostly interested in people who are doing things and are
busy. I get along with them.
SC: So when did you start teaching?
DH: Well, I was doing semesters here and there, and then I decided
I wanted to move to Las Vegas, so I kind of bullied the people
here into hiring me, because I had a good resume, and I wanted
to have health insurance, and I wanted to have contact with young
artists, but not as a critic. Since I have a lot of apparent leverage
in art world, young artists don't behave "normally"
around me anymore. I enjoy working with young artists, I find
myself in the midst of a generation of young artists with more
temperamental affinities than I had with young artists for many
SC: Do you like TV?
DH: Well, I watch it all the time.
SC: What's you favorite thing?
DH: Basketball. I'll watch anything. I liked Perry Mason
so I like Law and Order which is like Perry Mason. The first half
is law the second is order, it's a type of Formalism. The
density of the variations they run on that sort of thing becomes
interesting. I watch kickboxing movies, which seem to be the most
orderly movies that are made. Some guy kills some guy's
brother and then there's explosions. I like them because
all the people that work on these movies are extremely professional
and the plots are very orderlythey all have a kind of
coherence that your standard Hollywood movie doesn't have
any more. I was telling somebody the other day it looks to me
that Hollywood is making foreign films. I mean what fucking universe
does Runaway Bride live in. It's like it comes from Belgium
or something, what the fuck is that about. The last one I really
understood was Encino Man, which was pretty good.
SC: What was that about?
DH: It's a high school comedy in which a bunch of kids
living in Encino defrost a Neanderthal man who becomes the most
popular guy in school.
BEN BUCHANAN: What about reality TV?
DH: Oh, I hate that.
SC: What about cops?
DH: Kind of, I like the song. The song is great and I like the
idea that as long as I keep my fucking shirt on, I won't
get arrested. I don't like baseball. I don't like
most things, I mostly channel surf. The Simpsons are cool.
SC: Consistently cool.
DH: Yeah. I like actually that cartoon on MTV, Daria, with the
little girl . . .
BB: The disaffected youth?
DH: Yes, the disaffected youth, I think she's great. I
recognize that family. I watch whatever comes up. I usually watch
Biography but I don't really like it. There is only about
one in ten that's any good, but it's interesting
to know shit about peoples' lives, and it's also
interesting to speculate on what their lives are actually like,
as opposed to what you have been told that they were like. I hated
Survivor because I teach at a faculty and Survivor is about how
bureaucracies work. First you cut off the odd and the weak, then
you cut off the strong, then you form an alliance of mediocre
people, and the administrator of that alliance gets to be dean.
And that's what Survivor is about.
SC: And they get the cash.
DH: Yeah, they get the cash. I watch TV without the sound. I am
actually kind of annoyed that there isn't any music on
MTV anymore, that there are all those reality shows and sit-coms.
I'll leave MTV on, and if the picture looks good, I will
put the sound on, although the music video industry has collapsed.
Its one of those genres in which the first ones were the best
BB: That's very true.
DH: Also, I was a songwriter, so I hated MTV. I didn't
like that they got their shot at my song, I would rather have
them send me a video with a clip track, and let me write to their
video. Rather than putting my teenage love song on Mars or something
SC: I guess you've been around America a lot since you
were a kid, moving around with your family, and later on your
DH: Yes, I am a habitual traveler.
SC: So . . . what's this place all about if it's
DH: I don't have any idea. It's interesting, and
its perpetually amazing. It is less amazing than it used to be
because a lot of the eccentricity and the regional differences
have been smoothed out. In a sense, I like that. I like that anywhere
I go, I can stay at the Holiday Inn, and I know where the bathroom
is. But I am really interested in people who make it up as they
go along and there are still some out there. Regardless of what
my colleagues say, you have in this place, still, a lot more options,
and a lot more freedom than I see in other places. You can really
do some weird shit. You can always leave town as well; go to the
edge and declare that the center. You can always leave town and
start again and then start 'againagain.' It is possible
in good times to live on the margin. Like in the '60s and
'70s, their was enough money floating around to get by.
I have no idea how I supported myself between '68-'78.
This kind of money and fluidity is coming around again, so there
is enough money that there is a margin that you can survive on.
And that privileges improvisation. I think it is going to get
better, I believe in Darwin.
SC: You believe in evolution and progress?
DH: No, I believe in deviation. What you want is a maximum field
of deviation. And anything that tries to keep things from deviating
is against my principles. The more deviation there is, the more
new things you have to select and not select from. And that interests
me. That's why I didn't like art from '75
to '85; that was against deviation. You had to be a certain
kind of person to be an artist, and believe certain kinds of things
that I stopped believing when I quit the SDS. So that's
my aspiration for the art world, that it would be a place that
tolerates intellectual tumult.