March 2009, Interview with Peter Caine

March 2009, Interview with Peter Caine
Installation view, Peter Caine

Noah Becker: My first exposure to your work was at the popular PS1 exhibition "Greater New York". You made a room full of Yeti creatures with glowing eyes. This room was instructive to me in terms of my own paintings. What was that work about?

Peter Caine: The piece went though several changes before i started to produce the objects. A lot of times I make the pieces in my head before it is produced in the round. The title of the piece was Overseer because the original idea was a peice about slavery in the Grand Old South. It had blacks in Picaniney fashion, real offensive, simian. It just seemed a little obvious. The whole thought of slavery and the masters just keep me thinking about God, and how could a God allow such an atrocity. When i think about God, and anyone that believes in God, God is a old man with a beard that looks like Merlin the magician. Just as ridiculous as the scientologist thinking we came to Earth on a DC 8 . God is a fucking Joke. Both stories, and all religious stories are made up because we are apes with imaginations. If the Monkey Humans dont understand something it must be God. If I took the Bible and wiped my ass with, it a bunch of Bible thumpers would want to kill me. If I wipe my ass with the Koran the Mohammed lovers would want to kill me. What the fuck is the mater with these religios people? The next time I run out of toilet paper I am going to Barnes and Nobel then load up the shot gun. Fuck em all. So the Wookies/Yeties are just a thought about how fucking stupid religious people are. When a piece is up, I don’t talk about it because I want the viewer to make their own decision about content and what it means. If you make it too much like a six flags animatronic display its not as entertaining, at least for me. Let the viewer think what they want, but the fact is i make it for my house so I can look at it. 

NB: You push the grotesque, ridiculous, political, horrific and banal past the point of reason. Your piece about the NYPD registered with me in terms of its addressing the Giuliani effect on New York which was totally overshadowed by 911. Giuliani's bad press was turned around due to his efforts on 911, which were quite amazing in terms of the emergency we faced, heroic actually. The guy who had a plunger stuck up his rectum by the NYPD was forgotten about after 911 happened. Amadou Diallo an immigrant to the United States from Guinea, who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999, by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Brendan Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss was really negative press for Giuliani. The four men fired a total of 41 rounds at this guy holding a wallet (not a gun). Apparently that piece based on the NYPD pig cop caused the NYPD to arrest people at Jack the Pelican during your opening?  

PC: No arrest took place. Not sure what you're asking but if it did take place it would have been me getting arrested. Let em. Fuck the cops. Most think that I am 'white' but I am not. My family lived a lie for years. Both my mom's and dad's side said they where Black Irish. Black Irish does not exist. All the spanish that were shipwrecked got back to Spain within 2 years time and where accounted for, not enough DNA to impact upon a group of light-skinned drunks. Black Irish is a term that non-whites used to pass themselves off as white. I would look at pictures of my grandfather and say, ‘how can he be white?’ He looked like a white skinned black man. Needless to say as people get older and times change the truth came out that my mother is Choctaw and my dad is Plains Indian. While as a kid my friends would joke and say I looked like a mexican. As a adult, I didn’t give a damn about what people thought about me and the way I looked. I found myself being pulled over by Brooklyn police while riding my bike; constantly. Searching me for drugs, just going on a fishing expeditions. I complained, once while in the police station a cop took me in the back and starting asking me if "I Know anything." One other time while complaining, a cop told me I was being profiled because i was "skinny and rode a bike, a lot of drug dealers ride bikes." Fuck the cops, talk about a bunch of jerk-offs. The NYPD is a corrupt bunch of abusive assholes. I wish they had come and arrested me so I could take them to court. The bad thing is that they may put a stick up your ass. Its not a gay act, just abusive and strange. I think a lot of cops have repressed homo feelings. Like anyone would care if some one was gay!????? A cop would care if you were gay, it would most likely excite them and since they cant kiss you they beat you or put a stick up your ass to get their rocks off. Like my dad said, Cops were last in their high school class, it's the only job they can do. No one else wants to be abusive for a living. Rudy's boys are as fucked up as Rudy. What a motherfucker. What he did to the homeless is just horrifying. I would have to check, but I think about 95 percent of homeless people have mental illness. That motherfucker didn't want to see them so he's pushing them out. Real good guy, "The Country's Mayor!" that motherfuck should be in jail. When 911 happened he just did his job, thats all. People say he cleaned up the town, but at what cost? I miss the peep-shows, Pawnshops. I can't even own a handgun in this town without going through some fucked up paper work that would take over a year. Thanks Rudy. I want my constitutional rights. Back in the day you could go to Times square, see a peepshow, buy a hand gun and get a hooker for less than 150. I miss those days. I don’t need Rudy telling me what I can or can not do. I hope his prostate takes him out soon. Didn't he marry his cousin?  

NB: What was interesting about New York is not the same, that's true. The no dancing policy was really ignorant. How do you feel being an artist in New York? Is it as glamorous as you thought it would be?

PC: Glamorous? I pick up dog shit to pay the rent. Only the rich and the mentally ill should go into art. 

NB: Are you working with an art dealer these days?

PC: About glamorous, if someone is out eating cheese and drinking wine then they can't make stuff. Making crap is a lonely thing You hang out alone in your studio and if your girlfriend comes by while you have a deadline, its not a good thing. Stress before a show will put stress upon a relationship if the girlfriend is needy. Nothing glamorous about making stuff.
Working with art dealers?
 Yes I have to work with art dealers. They are nice enough to let me put up my stuff. Without the dealers I would not be able to see the finished product.. Finding a place to show is not a problem. I turn down shows if it is not the right fit. I have to budget my time, energy and money.  
 Money is the problem. The dealers that I work with let me do my own thing, but sometimes I can tell when they think I might be a bit harsh. It's good to hear feedback, I have no problem hearing such things. Its not always a bad idea to tone it down a bit, however with my upcoming installation "Ann Frank's Room" toning it down would be a deal-breaker. In that case I would just show someplace else or just put it in my house upstate. People like to see a freak show, a lot of people come to see my shit so it's "win-win" for me and gallery owners. I have a problem with the art world, but its not with the gallery owns. You won't ever find me in Miami putting up an installation again. That place is a fucking joke. I have a problem with that fucking thing and other such events. I feel sorry for the young artists that jump though hoops for the carrot that they will never get. Be careful for what you wish for. 

NB: Are you in support of Obama? I'm sure you are happy that Bush is out. What is your take on Obama or the concept of an African American president of the USA?  

PC: He's fine. I hope it comes out that he's gay. Then we will have the first black gay president. He reminds me of my brother who is gay. Yes, I know he has kids but its just proof that gay guys have sperm too. I think he's just fine. The next thing he should do is legalize weed and tax religions. African American? I don’t know about how black he is. I don’t think he's listening to fiddy cent and asking his bitch where the hot sauce is. Speaking of hot sauce give his girls another ten years and we are talking some serious shit! Dem bitches will be hot. What about the fucking dog? Wuz it all just talk. I bet he can't stand dogs because they get hair on his suit and they smell. What kind of president doesn't have a dog? What a fucking dandy. I have considered running for office. If I do, I will run on the feed the homeless pigeon platform. We can teach the homless to hunt pigeon in an urban setting. They can be armed with b.b. guns and nets. Maybe not b.b. guns 'cause the homeless are crazy, but if they net one, they eat what they kill. 2 problems solved, no more hunger and no more pigeons. I would also have the government produce human-chimp hybrids. The military applications for such an animal are many. The domestic use of the Manpanzees would increase productivity and make our lives easier. Who would not want a Chimpman butler? Ethics have no place in science, it's all about pure knowledge. Best thing he has done, getting stem cell research back on track. Three cheers for the American president or African american president if you like  

NB: Manpanzees hahaha that got a laugh from me. You know, I voted for Barack Obama and feel really proud he is president of the USA. There are many issues and layers in this discussion. Thanks for taking time out of your busy week to speak with us Peter. You are an inspiration to many.


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Editor-in-Chief: Noah Becker

Noah Becker is founder and editor-in-chief of Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, a visual artist, jazz musician and writer.



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