Last night I popped in a DVD screener of Llyn Foulkes One Man Band, a documentary directed by Tamar Halpern and Christopher Quilty that will be at the Film Forum May 7 through 13. A fascinating portrait of the idiosyncratic 70+year-old artist, the film shows Foulkes at work on The Lost Frontier, a painting that took twenty years to complete. Readers may remember seeing it at his New Museum retrospective last year.
Foulkes is widely regarded as an influential but under-recognized artist, and the film adroitly captures a dystopic world view in which the Disney corporation is brainwashing our children (I agree). As he continues to fuss over and edit The Lost Frontier, he laments that painting is like life. “It’s never finished. Until they take it away.”
Here are some other memorable quotes from the film:
“The stock market of art controls everything. Do I become part of that?”
“I turned down $75,000 because [the painting] just wasn’t done…I gotta do the right thing with the picture…you don’t publish a book unless it’s done.”
“I wasn’t a good husband. My marriage was falling apart and I was trying to solve it in a painting.”
“Collectors like Eli Broad think they can turn art into real estate.”
“I’m always ten years ahead…by the time everyone catches up I’ve moved on to something else…but it sounds like sour grapes.”
Before his NYC opening: “I’ve alienated so many people in the art world I’m sure no one will come.”
“Do ten more of these and I’ll give you a show,” the gallery told him. “I’m not gonna do ten more!”
On editing the painting w a chainsaw. “My process is make and destroy, and then do it again.”
For readers in New York, I strongly recommend checking out the show this week. On Wednesday, May 7, and Saturday, May 10, the filmmakers will be on hand after the 6:20pm screening for a discussion about the film. For other dates and cities, click here.
UPDATE: I’ve just learned that art critic and poet Raphael Rubinstein is the film’s associate producer.