By NOAH BECKER July, 2020
I had a studio visit with the great artist and critic Walter Robinson in New York years ago. He was talking about how Larry Gagosian visited his studio. It was impressive to hear about Gagosian doing a studio visit. Several years later I had two different directors from Gagosian visit my studio but not the actual man himself.
Robinson’s paintings of burgers and fries kind of shocked me with their honesty and humor. Later on we went to Walter Robinson’s opening at Jeffrey Deitch and experienced a lot of other paintings by the artist. It was inspiring to see another writer/artist combo like myself, doing great things with his paintings. It seems that Walter Robinson is a true figure of his time…
I ran into Larry Gagosian at Art Basel sometime after this and he was very nice. I didn’t mention Walter Robinson to Gagosian. Larry seemed tired so I chatted with him for a short time as one does at art fairs. Shortly after talking with Larry, I gave my art book to Leonardo Di Caprio. He seemed to be in a rush and had the beard from The Revanant, which I think he must’ve been filming at that time.
Later on I did studio visits with the great painters Jean-Pierre Roy and Eric White. Jean-Pierre told me that he went to high school with DiCaprio who collects his art and Eric White had some other DiCaprio and George Lucas stories of them collecting his work. My celebrity brushes with greatness paled in comparison to their real-life world.
I’m not without celebrity collectors. Adrien Brody, Mike Meyers and Ben Stiller have my paintings in their collections. It’s all related to how I was in Las Vegas as a child. I had lunch with Jerry Lewis, met Liberace and a host of other Vegas legends. It kind of warped my brain to the meaning of celebrity.
Speaking of celebrities, my friend the collage artist Michael Anderson calls me a “Starfucker” anytime I try and talk about celebrities. Anderson has real friends who happen to be famous and thinks differently than I do about famous people.
Anderson was the person who introduced me to Ornette Coleman and assisted me in making an important film with Ornette. Anderson also told Ornette to give me a saxophone lesson. If you haven’t seen Michael Anderson’s collages, I think it’s time you checked them out.
Through curating shows, making studio visits and general New York art scene fun, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and collaborate with many historical figures like Frank Stella, Donald Kuspit and others.
Even with this horrible pandemic and idiotic president in office, a strong and important international art world remains. Let’s all vote for Biden in Novemeber and hope for a fresh start and healed world in 2020. WM
Noah Becker shows his paintings internationally. A visual artist, saxophonist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine, Becker has also written freelance articles for many other major magazines. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has also written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010) viewable on Youtube.
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