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 teaching—I 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 years.
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 orderly—they 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 ones.
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 like that.
SC: I guess you've been around America a lot since you were a kid, moving around with your family, and later on your own.
DH: Yes, I am a habitual traveler.
SC: So . . . what's this place all about if it's about anything?
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.