This is how the fourth installment of Volta came to be.
I was working in Budapest when I came across a handful of notebooks. School notebooks. Maybe short hand practice books? It was on a studio set — a school room set specifically — and the studio produced pornographic movies. I got a kick out of that. A notebook sat on each of the 20 or so desks in the “classroom”.
I love books and deconstructing books and putting them back together in different ways. (I blame this squarely on the shoulders of Joseph Cornell and his Manual of Marvels.) I scanned all the desks looking for my favorite. One of them screamed Cy Twombly. Very loudly. Right in my ear. So I stole it. Took it? Appropriated it! Better to ask forgiveness than permission…right?
When I got back to my studio, I pulled it apart and let it sit there a few weeks while I thought about what do to next.
I love flea markets almost as much as books. Maybe more. One of my favorites is the Pasadena City College flea that happens on the first Sunday of the month. Except January, of course — cause of The Rose Bowl Parade. (Speaking of which, I hate the Rose Bowl flea, so if you’re looking to assassinate me, don’t bother looking for me there.) I found two interesting printer’s blocks at P.C.C. The open hand of God? An instrument to measure and/or fix things? Who knows. But I knew they belonged in one of my books.
I love Warhol almost as much as I love fleas and Twombly and taking books apart and putting them back together. Loving and appreciating Warhol as much as I do might be a trite-and-silly thing — especially now — but it’s my thing. And I stand by it. So I grabbed two solid blocks, lots of random cans of (mostly) brightly-colored inks, the printer’s blocks I found, and then I got busy.
As I was working away, I fucked up the most important part of the book. So I slapped some white gesso over the whole page and wondered what next…for the next few weeks.
I have piles of found photos from my Adventures in Flea Markets in my studio, and one of them screamed Why Not? Right in my ear. Very loudly. So loudly I had made a silk screen of The Photo That Screamed At Me, and that screen had been sitting in the corner of my studio ever since, ready to rumble.
I love Wallace Berman’s work more than everything I’ve mentioned here, and you’ve probably heard me say this more than once: Volta is a direct response to Semina.