THE HEAVY MENTAL, NOVEMBER 2011
The artist Donald Judd sat for an interview with Bruce Hooton in 1965 to create an ‘oral history’ for the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. In the transcript, Judd manages to say an awful lot while giving away precious little. But about halfway, this changes. Hooton describes a drawing of Judd’s as “monumental” – but Judd insists that the drawing is nothing more than a “post and lintel arrangement,” entirely unprepossessing.
Hooton, an experienced arts reviewer, has no idea what to make of this. He loses his cool:
MR. HOOTON: There’s no kind of philosophical point to the whole thing? … One decides to throw paint; one decided not to throw paint; or to simplify things. I mean…what?
Now, Donald Judd was always direct. He discussed his art with candor and disliked any attempt made by others to label it. But in answer to Hooton’s incredulousness, Judd stops talking about his work or even art in general. He just talks about experience, immediacy, and a different way to work and live. He talks about a moment, the moment, where something is created that changes everything around it forever.
Recently, Erik Brunetti moved to Marfa, Texas, with his wife Emmelie and their young daughter. Among other things, Marfa is home to the Donald Judd Foundation and a community of people who are there to work and live as Judd did: doing as they like, inventing their own interests, avoiding the played-out and narrow. These words were Judd’s, but in a way the ideas belong to Brunetti.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of Erik Brunetti’s vision, as it continues to evolve through his label, FUCT, and as it manifests in his life and art. People who have been following Brunetti since the DEN ONE days speak about him with reverence: too real to be an enigma, too tough to be ephemeral, but a legend and an icon all the same.
OK here goes… I can’t begin this conversation without acknowledging how strange things are in the world right now. Wall Street is down the road from where I am but it is also happening everywhere. I know this is a heavy question to start with, but have these upheavals influenced your thinking and your work?
I have always been politically aware. Always. I knew this was coming years ago. The USA has entrenched itself so deep with Middle Eastern affairs [that] it has finally come to bite us in the ass; Middle Eastern affairs meaning: supporting murderous hostile occupations throughout the Middle East. For example, Palestine – who are finally trying to climb out from under the apartheid of Israel [and] the USA – are finally seeking statehood at the UN, rightfully so. Obama has said he will veto this move. This has, in turn, isolated America from the rest of the world. Obama has completely lied in regards to Palestine statehood (see his speech in Cairo). Americans need to realize that Republicans and Democrats are the same exact thing. The US government is controlled by AIPAC: they make the decisions; they are the shot callers. With every election, every candidate panders to AIPAC due to campaign contributions, and the power they harness. Currently, the US government is trying to “Wag the Dog” and invent these ludicrous stories of Iran teaming up with the “Mexican drug cartel,” who are “plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.” This is fabricated to distract people from looking at the real problem: Wall Street. Israel [and the] USA are just itching to attack Iran, war is big business. All of this is directly tied to the criminals on Wall Street.
Tell me more about your political awareness and your art. How do they relate?
FUCT is not my art. It is a brand, with well-thought-out graphics and illustrations applied to garments, advertisements, photos etc. If you look at the entire entity as a whole, in theory, it could be considered art. I guess my mere being itself is the art. As I stated prior, I have always been immersed in politics, the government and world affairs. As a human being I feel it is my obligation to be aware. It is the force which controls the world, the economy, the people. I cannot walk around blindly being fed the news via the Western media. I have an immense library, in which I have read every book. I love to travel and meet people, I am the guy at the dinner table that will indeed bring up the forbidden topic of “politics and religion”.