He is obsessed with building things, particularly shacks, barns, boats, houses, rabbit people with unusual penises.
Our friendship kicked into high gear while walking around the Getty Museum. He said he was from Salt Lake and that his brother was in charge of all the snowplows in the state of Utah, and that he had a serious love for skiing.
I went there with my arm in a cast and was staring at a roomful of German photography when Paul suddenly appeared and wanted to know howl broke my arm. The next season we were on-slope together, ripping through snow like banshees.
Behind him in the landscape I drew a square hole in the ground. I remember finding a rock in a vacant lot when I was five years old. After a short distance, a head appeared from the rock. Why the distance and safety, why behave on a big installation screen, or a monitor on the floor or a pedestal? Karen and Damon (wife and son) are central to the enterprise, as well as Mara (daughter), who has recently pulled up a chair in the office. Ideal for you, but inconceivable for other artists with families. I haven’t really looked at his work in the past few years, but I have thought about his career and his effect.
I know it’s hard on a performer (physically draining) but that used to be the appeal, the rush, which is why all actors want to perform in plays, the venue of the real. There used to be performance magazines and regular venues at museums and galleries for performance. If you squint it muffles my voice—wipe yourself on the carpet, and yoga is good for you. Beuys was critical to European artists being looked at by the art world. The shift from the emphasis on New York to Europe began with Beuys. They’ve appeared in your work consistently for 30 years.
Paul’s particular Grand Guignol came out of a true personal crisis that dealt with the ghoulish properties of culture, consciousness and family.