Musée Magazine Issue No. 11 - Vanity - Page 38

J O HN W AT E R S a natio na l tr ea sur e ANDREA BLANCH: Why did you think your work needed a facelift? JOHN WATERS: You always have to reinvent yourself. I have been doing this for fifty years. My God, you can never stay the same. You always have to change. You have to think up many new ways to tell stories and that is the challenge after you have been doing this for so long, especially in our world when everything has already been told. So in a way I try to satirize behind the scenes of the art world and the movie business because really my work is about editing. AB: Do you think you achieved the look you wanted with this show? JW: I hope so, but that is up to others. If they like it or get something new out of it or look at things in a different way, then it worked. It worked for me but it has to work for others. AB: You also said, something which I found interesting, that celebrity is the only obscenity left in the art world. Where does this idea come from? JW: It comes from a lot of things, and I am not going to name names, but that’s why I have kept my so-called art career separate from my film career. Many of my film fans don’t even know I have been doing this since the early ‘90s. It’s because celebrity is incredibly suspicious, as I understand it should be in the art world. When I for many years was showing with Colin de Land of American Fine Arts, he neutralized that for me because everybody knew Colin was anything but a groupie or impressed by celebrity. He was almost not impressed with it in any way. I made fun of it. I did a show in which I did one piece called ‘Over Exposed’ that had all my headshots stamped all over it, and I am overexposed, but I have made fun of that always. So I understand why it is the only obscenity left. Certainly sex is not, violence is not, but celebrity is, and I understand it. AB: Now that your work has achieved a level of mainstream acceptance from the art world, do you feel that you need to reassess or re-imagine your work because of this mainstream attention? Has it changed your approach to your work? JW: I think that isn’t the problem I have had in the art world. I think the problem is that I have had success in other fields, and that sometimes complicates it. I am not complaining, thou gh. I am making fun of the issue by bringing it up and using the issue and talking about the issue. AB: And you do that very well. JW: Thank you. AB: Would you say that your latest show ‘Beverly Hills John’ can be seen as a self-portrait, so to speak? JW: I think everything I do, no matter if I write a book or make a movie or do an art show, is always a self-portrait. It’s about your taste, and it’s about what you are really interested in at the time and what Portrait by Greg Gorman. 36