There's No Telling What You'll Have To Do

The late, great curator Walter Hopps on his Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles:

Anyway, one of the painters I loved--and I realized that a number of the artists, including [Robert] Irwin, also really loved him--was Giorgio Morandi. No one was showing Morandi in the Westeren United States. I had been traveling, and I came back and discovered that [Irving] Blum had not put an image of Morandi on the invitation. I was really furious. I said, "One in a thousand people who get our invitation will even know who Giorgio Morandi is. We've got to have one of his drawings on this invitation."

Well, he hadn't had a photographer come in to take a picture. I said: "Clear this desk off. I'm going in the back and choosing a drawing." I picked out a Morandi drawing that was strong enough--it had glass over it--and I laid it down on the table. I took a piece of paper and laid it over the glass, took a soft pencil--and I'm not an artist; Blum would have been better because he can draw--and I traced out that Morandi drawing, to life size, in my own crude version. Traced that son of a bitch out on a blank piece of paper, and I said, "There's the artwork."

Blum said: "You can't do that. You've just made a fake Morandi."

I said: "You watch me do it. You just watch me do it." And that went to the printer, so it's printed in red with its line cut very elegantly on a paper. e waited to see who would identify it as a fake. Never--no one, no one. [Harald] Szeeman is right--there's no telling what you'll have to do.

The interview was originally published in Artforum in 1996, and is included in HUO's interview anthology, A Brief History of Curating.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: October 14, 2009.

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