Sunday morning arts section

Because love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care
For the people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves

This is our last dance
This is our last dance

David Bowie, from Under Pressure

wires cropRobert Guccione, Jr. interviewed David Bowie in 2001, shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.  The Daily Beast recently re-published it and it’s not the type of celebrity interview you’d find these days on E! or in People or ET.  Guccione asks questions such as:

I once saw a documentary on Marc Chagall and was struck by the fire in his eyes at 90—he was still curious and so engaged by life. You seem to have the same insatiable drive. Do you?

And he lets Bowie speak, at length, such as:

Oh, absolutely. You know, Bill Wyman started growing wine when he was living in the South ofFrance, he had a few plots and some vineyards and he said, “I ‘ve got this artist who lives next door and I called on him—‘Mr. Chiggle’—and I asked him if he’d do the labels for my bottle. And the old fellow said, ‘Yeah I’d love to do it. ‘ And he’s given me all these different ideas for labels on my bottle. I only just found out it was Marc Chagall! ‘You draw, don’t you? Could you do me a label for my bottle?”‘ [Laughs]

In London they’re just setting up the Picasso-Matisse show. It’s the first time that they’re being pitted against each other in a big retrospective for 100 years, a very precious Matisse and the wild bohemian Picasso. Matisse got a letter in the first World War saying that camouflage had just been invented by the French, and they got the idea from the Cubists and they had only Cubist artists do their camouflage because obviously Cubists understand breaking form.

Matisse’s letter from one of his mates on the front said, “You know, you’ll never believe this, but they’ve taken one of your rabbits and one of Picasso’s rabbits and they put them on the camouflage and all these fights have been breaking out amongst soldiers about which rabbit is better and then that suddenly became arguments about who’s the better painter.” You’re on the front line, shells exploding everywhere and you’ve got French soldiers discussing the merits of Matisse and Picasso.

The great thing is the debate is still raging today. When that show goes up it will happen all over again. “Who’s the better painter?!” Does it fucking matter? Yes it does. Yes it does: It’s good to take good long drinks from the past and understand what made us who we are, how we are and how we tested ourselves in certain situations and from the proof of that, define our lives now and see our way to the future. That’s what pisses me off about people who don’t have any interest in the history of our culture or any culture and learning from ones’ mistakes.


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