I bike to the local mega contemporary art museum. There is a major Degas show, which I skip — I see dancers and tutus every day — and opt for the show of more recent work — the theme of which is Charlie Manson. Charlie Manson! Bad timing, as a young German boy has just gotten hold of a gun and massacred a bunch of his former schoolmates. Most of the work was by German and other European artists, many of them unfamiliar to me — a testament to how parochial the NY art world is. I have to admit the most riveting pieces were the ones closest to the source: the first, a hallway with some Bobby BeauSoleil paintings (which may have been collaborations with his wife Barbara), that were very cool, mythic and slightly creepy — like Mike Kelley or Jim Shaw, but for real.
BeauSoleil was in the 60’s band The Grass Roots, which later became the band Love. He also did the soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising. The second piece was a TV playing an interview with Charlie done a number of years ago — the Devil is an old man now. Anyway, every (obvious and) pointed question aimed at Charlie was deflected — brilliantly, and often in an unexpectedly philosophical way. When asked about how it feels being in prison much of his life, Charlie responds by saying, “I’m not in prison, you are.” I’m not sure how or if he elaborates, but he obviously means that we’re all prisoners of our preconceived ideas and the limiting social worlds we’ve constructed — no one is truly free. Anyway, it goes on like that, his response to every question spun out to infinity.
At the Düsseldorf airport, an young man seeks solace and confides in a friend:
Some say Cuidad Juárez is now the most dangerous place in the world — it beats Baghdad. Most of its arms come from the US, and the US buys most of its drugs as well.