Thursday, September 22, 2011

paul richard kiss and tell

a cartoon our friend norm forwarded.

reminded me of this (not my video)

i knew paul briefly in the late 80s. he wasn't an artist then, i think he'd just graduated with a sociology degree from harvard. we went out on a couple of dates. for the second date he told me he was going to come over and make me a fettuccine alfredo dinner. it sounded elaborate and impressive! he sounded like a very confident cook!

he arrived and walked around my little apartment off newbury street. i was selling paintings back then after graduating cum laude from mica. i had a really large canvas on the wall, a picture of two figures in a room. paul looked at it.

"did you paint that?" he said, sort of dead pan... "i'm interested in that..."

he liked my painting!

"...i'm kind of interested in doing something like that myself."

hummmmmmm. twinge of resentment. "i don't know much about art but there can't be much to it" he seemed to be saying. "sure," i said, "you should definitely try it out!"

i was interested in the fettuccine dinner! paul filled a half gallon sauce pan with water put it on the stove and lit the burner. when it boiled he dumped in a whole box of prince fettuccine and stirred it a couple of times. eventually he seemed to consider it done and he took a box or can of sauce mix, added cream and poured it on. he seemed pretty satisfied with himself. he just seemed to have an inflated idea of his abilities all round.

romance didn't blossom.

BUT ...the joke was on me- he's now one of america's great street artists! his "i take myself so seriously" never break character persona is reminiscent of, but long predates, stephen colbert (the name is pronounced ree-shard, but i think it genuinely is french.) he's got his own multi-hybrid oeuvre: performance/classicist/conceptual/street... a good old fashioned draftsman, whose spare palette canvases, in old master tradition, have a painterly romantic quality.  other things he does are highly conceptual, highly humorous and highly mischievous. a gadfly, closer in spirit to early audacious bankys than any other street artist i'm aware of- and some of his hijinks even push the envelope on banksy. not a crusading  social critic like banksy, he's more of an art word provocateur.   with reverence for, and homage to other artists, but caustic contempt of art marketing. maybe because he provokes the establishment- museums, galleries, financiers, paul is apparently (i read on line) derided by some as a self promoter, which he is, (his initials are p r!) but that seems to be the whole comic/serious point, and it's a really a hoot, seeing an artist make such (art) loving fun of the art world and himself.

link: paul richard

anyway, as can be seen below, paul continued to pursue culinary perfection as well- and he now has a more appreciative dining companion!

1 comment:

  1. really don't let Cat see this, we'll die laughing