an Abstract Artist
Are you in a constant fight with the canvas?
Yes, I am. I work very slowly trying to make all the elements talk to each other in a coherent way. It is a question of assembling. I’m putting them together into a new understanding.
Sure, that’s who I’m working for. But I’m still an artists’ artist. My biggest fun club is other artists. I always had the feeling that what you see is an elite working very much in its prime. Artists’ work filters down to people who are interested in art, and then it filters further down to the people who are sort of interested in art. Then it goes out in the real world. It takes maybe 20 years or 50 years, but it eventually comes out and it works.
Jo Baer here.
In 1983, you published an article in Art in America titled ''I Am No Longer an Abstract Artist’’. Why?
Jo Baer: The world changed big time from 1968 to 1972. Abstract art died of old age and I felt the need to reinvent my work. It became clear that everything that had gone on before suddenly fell out of date; it became somehow trivial and boring to keep doing it. I was in London when I wrote that article:
I had been working in a new way for eight or nine years by then, and I felt it was time to explain what and why I was doing it.