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.