Keith Mayerson"You filter through your brain, your unconscious, your conscious and with the flick of your hand, you record things you can't quantify in words."
Interview & Portrait by Asher Penn
This reminds me of how you like the idea of method acting in relation to making art.
James Dean studied the method and loved method actors. In Rebel Without a Cause there's a scene where he fights Jim Backus who plays his dad and supposedly he had his own troubled relationship with his father. They designed the set to kind of look like his real home so when he steps on the set as an actor it’s a talisman to think about those real feelings he had with his real dad. He says his character's lines with those feelings, those emotions, which are real. These emotions give it such power and life. When I choose pictures to render, I select images that will have such meaning for me that in the act of the meditation of painting or drawing them, hopefully I can bring them to life.
Isaw a copy of your course packet for your NeoIntegrity class at Greene Naftali. What is Neo-Integrity?
In the hubris of my youth, I decided I wanted to start an art movement, called “NeoIntegrity”. It was about the integrity of the artist making a sincere artwork that would in a way conjure up what Roland Barthes deems a “third meaning”—perhaps invoking the sublime upon the viewer and speaking of the “soul” of the artist. Viewing great works in any medium remind us that we are human beings in the world and goes way beyond notions of commodity that still seem to bog down people’s enjoyment of art and the art world. In a late night of insomnia I wrote a whole manifesto outlining this, and years later was able to curate two large NeoIntegrity shows. I sent the manifesto to friends and artists I admired, many of whom agreed to be in the show. They chose work they would save first in a fire, work that they loved but maybe was misunderstood, work that wasn’t necessarily for sale.
This sounds like a holistic approach.
Art is about teaching. As a cultural producer, you can reach a lot of people. You can make something that for everybody, or at least exploited by television and movies to reach the masses. It's important to me that people make work that's about something personal. Sometimes if you look within you can break new ground by doing things because you don’t respond your art history or politics, you respond to your own history. It makes you think outside the box, but also gives you have a sense of responsibility. Art is language and language is power, and that hopefully when people are cultural producers they take on the responsibility for their images and what they could do within the world to make it a better place.
1 2From Sex Magazine #2 Winter 2012