Friday, April 09, 2010

Dennis Hopper and Tony Shafrazi: Get Well Soon Dennis

In response to an article in the New York Times on April 7, Madman, Perhaps; Survivor, Definitely, by Manohla Dargis, about the life and career of Dennis Hopper, I realized I had failed to keep a promise I made to the art dealer Tony Shafrazi when I was at a museum opening back in January.

I had taken the only pictures of a moment Tony designed to send a message of love and support to a very ill Hopper, and I'd forgotten to email Tony the results for him to send along to Dennis as I had promised.

Back in the sixties, Hopper had taken a famous photograph of Roy Lichtenstein sitting on the floor beside some of his iconic paintings, a photograph which was blown up into a wall graphic that served as the introduction to the exposition. Tony, along with a couple of other friends from back in the day, wrote on the back of an art poster, "To Dennis, get back on your feet," and posed with it with their thumbs up.


I am very glad that Dennis Hopper is still with us, and apparently doing well. His career was an absolute uniquety---and the very definition of a well-rounded artist, in my humble opinion.

I don't know much about Tony Shafrazi's career, except that as a young man in 1974, he spray painted the words "Kill Lies All" on Picasso's Guernica at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The vandalism was cleaned off within a day, according to the New York Times, so perhaps he was more interested in the publicity then the sentiment, but he was a striking looking vandal nonetheless.

If I tried a stunt like that today in order to publicize my work, I'd be sitting in the Navy Brig in Charleston, South Carolina undergoing sensory deprivation torture, which is what it feels like most of the time here anyway, for an under-appreciated 9/11 truth questling such as myself. But I'll take the moral of Dennis Hopper's uncompromising world view to heart, and let it provide me with some sustenance. I also hope he stumbles upon this little message of love and support from his friends on the internets.