My memories are like motes of dust; occasionally they sparkle and when they do I must capture them and pin them down like formaldehyde stunned butterflies. Sometimes the memory itself stuns me; as if I too have been dipped in the capture jar. Old Nabokov always liked a drop of his Killing fluid.
I am reminded (by an annonymous message (although I know who the message is from; how could I forget her)) of my performance at the Guggenheim in the mid 80's, I had intended to roller-skate all the way down the ramp at the gallery. Warhol was to film the event on super 8 and we intended to present a copy of the finished film to all the major galleries around the world apart from the Guggenheim itself. The purpose of the act was to create a 'fast forward' of my life and hint at my impact on modern art...
Warhol of course did not turn up! He had been pissed off with me for some time and just didn't bother. I was nabbed by security as I made my uncertain way down ( I had never roller-skated before) and unceremoniously removed from the premises. As I sat undoing the laces of my skates I was joined by a young French/Italian woman who had witnessed the whole thing. We talked about art and literature. We talked about Dylan and Springsteen. Her Name was Mona Hebuterne (Ithink I have spelled it right) and she gave me a pebble she had found on a beach in Devon; the pebble had a hole through the centre... I still have that pebble in my studio; when I need to focus on a single object or image I view it through the hole in the pebble. The pebble also reminds me of that day and of a magical woman who vanished as suddenly as she arrived.
It also reminds me my old friend Warhol.
Andy and I had had a mercurial relationship. I had met him in the sixties, he was working on his soup tins and stuff like that. I had arrived at the studio we shared to find Andy gone and a set of monochrome prints of Marilyn Monroe on the table: they looked unfinished to me so I applied bright overpaint to the prints; lips, eyelids and hair came alive... I was elated. Andy was not. We had a blazing row upon his return:
'Pop'. He said ( he always called me pop). 'I do not think that is art, pop'.
'Andy' I replied. 'One day the world will be clamouring for my 'popart'.
Well I guess Andy made a few bucks from that idea. But I'm not bitter. Andy then took to stealing my wigs and wearing them in public. He also airbrushed me from all the photographs of us in the studio... The rest isn't history.