By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
"How did you know?" she innocently replied. Then she explained how artist Scott Grieger, her professor at Otis, was scheduled to drive the "getaway car" for Hickey.
Isn't that a bit drastic?
She assured me that it was not. Apparently the room was crowded with Dave Hickey groupies, and this exit strategy would behoove such an event. She wistfully added, "He's my mentor." Before I could ask Rubi with an i whether she meant Grieger or Hickey or Jensen, we were interrupted by the MC, who introduced the man of the hour, applying adjectives like original, intellectual, iconoclastic, humorous, etc., ending with the definitive phrase: "a cultural icon."
Generous applause greeted Hickey as he stepped up to the podium and stated that he would "go for boring tonight, if that's okay." (I think that was a rhetorical question.) Hickey can be enormously entertaining, but tonight was going to be different. Despite this forewarning, he failed miserably. The audience was enrapt. He referred to notes and sometimes read from them, but clearly they were not necessary. He spoke with passion and insight, although some of his points could have been thrown together on his flight from Vegas (where he teaches at the University of Nevada). In his deep Texan drawl, 'isms, 'ologies and 'istas spilled from his lips, and the sign-language interpreter beside him was kept busy. Have you seen the sign language for Abstract Expressionism?
As Hickey shared tales of visiting Alfred Jensen in New York, commending the artist's good choice of Scotch, calling Jasper Johns a Carolina cracker in comparison to Jensen, and imitating Jensen when he paints — like "wiping snot off his thumb" — the gallery began to feel like a church hall. Every head was lowered in deep concentration as Hickey transformed into a clergyman on his pulpit and the Jensen-patterned canvases morphed into stained-glass windows. The only difference was the constant flashing of cameras. Hickey had command of his congregation. Performance artist Reverend Ethan Acres, a follower of Hickey's who made it to the lecture, may have felt a tinge of envy — a sin he'd have to wrestle with later that night, I suppose.
"Do you understand what I'm saying here?" Hickey asked about six times when it might appear he just pulled that one out of his hat. Declarations about art rolled from his tongue. What makes great art? What is art? Age-old questions that have kept philosophers employed from the beginning of time, Hickey tackles effortlessly. "A great artist is a producer who wants their views to prevail." Hmmm. Does that make Dave Hickey a great artist?
After 45 minutes on cosmology and art, Hickey ended his monologue. "I'll answer questions," he said, "but I assure you that's all I know about Jensen." Not a single hand went up. Hickey hung around for a while, though, not making a quick exit after all. One-line reviews drifted through the lingering crowd: "Very articulate." "I really enjoyed the lecture." "What a romantic." "I don't care if he's a star." And, my favorite: "I think he's sexy." Now I understand the cultural-icon bit.
LOOKING BACK AT 25 YEARS OF L.A.WEEKLY
Though there have been strong women throughout history . . . it has only been since 1979, when Lisa Lyon won the First World Women's Bodybuilding Contest, that physique has taken off as competitive athletics for women. Women working out in gyms all over California see themselves as trailblazers of physical feminism. Like the men who inspired them, however, women bodybuilders live in a world ruled by obsessive-compulsion, in which the American fixation on food and fitness is taken to the ultimate degree and the '60s credo, you are what you eat, is a paranoid conviction. Bodybuilders gulp an astounding repertoire of food supplements: Bill Kumagai, editor of Power and Fitness, observes, "I've been in gyms where the first question asked is not 'What does it do to you?' but 'What color does it turn your piss?'"
—Livia Linden in "What Should
Women Look Like," June 26, 1981