PHOTO BY PETER SUTHERLAND
Trying to introduce Richard Prince feels like trying to introduce Ronald Reagan. Or Andy Warhol. Or Brad Pitt. Trying to explain who Richard Pryor is would feel weird if you were talking to an adult. What do you say? "He's really funny" is no good. "He's really good" is worse. Actually the worst is probably "He's an artist." Richard Prince is a big enough artist that he could probably be on a talk show but that never happens. The closest was Harmony Korine. Or Vincent Gallo. Or Chris Elliot. Trying to introduce Chris Elliot would be easier because nobody really knows who he is but everyone has seen The Simpsons and Theres Something About Mary. How many people have seen a Nurse Painting? A Hippie Drawing? A Hood Sculpture? They could be made-up, by a fictional artist, like in that french guy's new novel. When you describe a band do you think the person listening has any idea what you're talking about? What do the Black Eyed Peas sound like? Doesn't Bob Dylan make paintings? Marilyn Manson? Jim Carrey?
AP: You're a Leo, which is a pretty good sign for an artist... do you believe in astrology?
RP: All I know is that Leo has something to do with the lion in Wizard of Oz.
AP: What's your take on Quentin Tarantino? Did you see Death Proof? Did you like Pulp Fiction?
RP: I loved Pulp Fiction. Especially the part at the end where Tarrintino shows up at his house in his bathrobe sipping coffee.
AP: Do you follow the news? Do you read The New Yorker? What's the first section you skip to? Do you like movie reviews?
RP: I read the papers everyday. In fact I get them delivered. Having the papers delivered to you and opening the door and finding them there is like finding a lost wallet.
AP: Do you exercise? Work out? Do you think it's weird for an artist to go to the gym?
RP: My wife does the excersising. She runs 10 miles a day. She does yoga and pilates. I don't do anything.
AP: When are you happiest? In the studio? Driving your car? Reading a book? Getting high?
RP: I'm not sure about being happy. It's not something that happens very often with me.
AP: Did you ever meet JD Salinger? Did you think he was a weirdo? How did you feel when he died?
RP: Salinger wrote some great books. I just re-read Catcher and I was surprised how contemporary the writing sounded. Never met the guy. Sounded like he didn't want to be met. The fact that he was one of the first G.I.'s to walk into a German concentration camp pretty much says it all. I mean, that experience must have been devastating.
AP: Do you ever get depressed? Do you see a therapist?
RP: Depressed? I'm more angry than depressed. No I don't see a therapist. I use to. I figured out early on that talking about my mother wasn't going to help.
AP: Have you ever had pets? Cats or Dogs? Did you name them? Do you like animals?
RP: I have a dog. Maisey. I've always had a dog. I like to take her for walks in Central Park. I find people with dogs friendly
AP: How do you feel when you look at your art? Is it like looking at a mirror? Staring at the ocean? Meditation?
RP: Looking at art is one of the few things that make me feel good. It's probably the same feeling people get when they go to church.
AP: Do you believe in the unconscious? Freud or Jung? Is sex the bottom line?
RP: The bottom line for me is sitting in a chair in my studio looking at something that I'm trying to work out. That's not quite there yet. That needs more work. When I'm trying to make a connection and thinking about how I can contribute and push the thing forward. Knowing that some day it will end up having a life of its own.