piss elegant

As soon as the paint was dry to the touch, Jackson broke down the stretcher, rolled the canvas, and transported both to Peggy's apartment building on East Sixty-first Street. When he reassembled it in the low, ground-floor elevator lobby, however, he discovered it was too long-by almost a foot. Sleepless, distraught, and close to panic, he telephoned Peggy at the gallery. "He became quite hysterical," Peggy recalled. That was before he began to drink. Knowing that Jackson would be in her apartment that day, and "knowing his great weakness," Peggy had hidden her liquor before leaving for the gallery. But Jackson soon found it. His calls became more and more frantic. He pleaded with her to "come home at once and help place the painting." Finally, she called Marcel Duchamp and David Hare and persuaded them to rescue Jackson. "Peggy wanted us to tack it up," Hare recalled, "but it missed by eight inches so we cut eight inches off from one end. Duchamp said that in this type of painting it wasn't needed. We told Jackson, who didn't care." By then, Jackson was too drunk to care. Weaving and incoherent, he walked into the apartment where Connolly's party was already under way, crossed the room, unzipped his pants, and peed in the marble fireplace.

The demons were loose again
--Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, Jackson Pollack: An American Saga (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991) pp. 468-9.

Between studies there were a good few parties at Yale: parties in the Rogerses' house when their old lady was away in Florida; parties in Eldred's attic, parties given by other students, and above all a big party given by Paul Rudolph for Jim, which has become legendary. Richard Rogers vividly remembers the crucial episode at it: 'He had this amazing modern, real extreme modern, slightly Hollywood apartment, with steps coming in at the higher level, marble steps cantilevered off the wall. At the end there was a double-height wall of glass, and outside this there was probably seven foot of open space before a big white wall. The wall had a great light on it so you looked at it as though it was the screen of a cinema, and the light reflected back into the room -- absolutely white. And everybody else was there. There was a piano, and let's say a hundred people. An hour later, still no Jim. No Eldred. Door opens up at high level, there's a commotion, yells and giggles and so on, and then suddenly there come Eldred and Jim, down these cantilevered slightly marbly steps, giggling because they're canned, literally just rolling down these goddamn steps, drunk. It was a great entry. Paralytic. And like a lot of these paralytic situations, they didn't hurt themselves. A few minutes later Jim says "Where's the loo?" Somebody says, "Oh, it's upstairs." Jim says, "Fuck the loo" or something, goes into the space outside, in front of this unbelievable white screen, turns round and pisses against the glass, with about a hundred people who could look nowhere else. Like on a cinema screen.'

This story is endlessly retailed. It is the best known of the many stories about Jim. All the versions are a little different, not surprisingly, as everyone was well stocked up with drink when it occurred. It has been improved on -- it seems likely, for instance, that the people at the other end of the room remained unaware -- but it happened. Rudolph hated to talk about it. Other people have different theories about why Jim did it: Rudolph had flayed Jim at a crit, as was sometimes his way with critics as well as students, and this was Jim's way of getting back at him; it was a 'sod you' gesture against the Yale establishment; it was just because Jim was drunk and happy. Perhaps it was a bit of all three, perhaps mostly the last. Explanations vary, but the basic image remains: Jim, with a big grin on his face, peeing against the glass.
--Mark Girouard, Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling (London: Chatto & Windus, 1998), pp. 124-5.

In the future, everyone will piss for 15 minutes.
--the posthumous Duchamp

Sep 22, 04 12:43 pm
el jeffe

How do you find the time to make these connections?

Sep 22, 04 1:40 pm  · 
el jeffe

sorry - Stephen.

Sep 22, 04 1:42 pm  · 

you might be sorry you asked...

Sep 22, 04 1:49 pm  · 

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