Was it Mark Rothko? I think it was Rothko who when asked said that he went to New York City to “bum around and be poor for a while”. Maybe it was Jasper Johns? The Young Americans series are painted copies of photographs of sculptures; simulacra of simulacra. The sculptures are by fat, rich, old, dead Americans, created while they were funky young Americans in the sixties. These paintings refer to the relationships between mediums. The original sculptures are also paintings insofar as they have painted surfaces. Paintings are always sculptural, even if in a flat manner.
The Chelsea Baby series are compositionally based on Picasso works from the Museum of Modern Art. Picasso was not a funky young American. He was a cool European who was far too arrogant to travel to America. Now he lives there permanently. One day walking in Chelsea I was looking at a lot of limp abstraction. Echoing through the precinct was a lock-groove of Jay-Z’s Picasso Baby. He was in a gallery a street away doing a marathon performance for his new video with lots of art world figures hanging around. He called it a “performance art film”. “I wanna Rothko, no I wanna brothel/ No, I wanna wife to fuck me like a prostitute… “. I rolled from gallery to gallery looking at slacker abstract paintings. Jay kept going, “Jeff Koons balloons I just wanna blow up/ Condos in my condo, I wanna row of/ Christie’s with my missy, live at the MoMA”. I get closer, it gets louder and I see Marina Abramovic exiting the gallery. It hurts. I feel ill. “House like the Lourve or the Tate Modern/ coz I be going ape-shit at auctions… Ca-Ca-Ca Picasso Baby, Ca-Ca-Ca Picasso Baby”