The thing about the ray gun is, you pick up anything you see on the street that's the shape of a gun.
The right angle is one of the world's basic shapes.
I had, over the years, collected things, small things, as people do, and I had put them all together and showed them in what became a building in the form of the Geometric Mouse.
I always knew America was all about guns. You go to the movies as a kid, everybody's got a gun.
There's always been a potential erotic possibility with objects.
The sexual is part of everything, and it's highly formalized. I hadn't done figure for a long time. And I thought to myself, "Why not the erotic figure?"
I think the Freudian impulse is in everything, so I just accept it. I don't always believe what Freud is saying but it sounds like fun.
The end of the '60s was a terrible time. I was in Los Angeles then, and I remember the night someone ran into the studio and told us about the Manson murders. Then suddenly something happened, the '60s disappeared. The '70s were completely different.
Of course, the '60s was a study in decadence. Everything just got worse and worse, and at the end of the '60s, everything was so horrible that people were killing each other.
Food is like clay; you can sculpt with it. Also it has an odor, and you can eat it. I don't eat a lot of cake, but I do make cakes! And unlike the Campbell's Soup Cans, my food is a humanized form and scale.
Actually, New York is great for playing around. I made a lot of studies for New York-a big vacuum cleaner lying on the Battery in Manhattan.
I started to draw buildings. I called them Proposed Colossal Monuments - they weren't for real, not for actual building. It was more a critique of architecture.
I like food because you can change it. I mean, there is no such thing as a perfect lamb chop; you can make all types of lamb chops. And that's true of everything. And people eat it and it changes and disappears.
I'm always careful to say that I changed everything I found.
Mine was not pop art. I maybe started with a subject, but I changed the subject.
My rule was not to paint things as they were. I wasn't copying; I was remaking them as my own.
Duchamp is known for calling a thing art, rather than making it. A lot of that is picked up in pop art, too.
My work doesn't have the same rules as, say, Andy [Warhol]'s work. But it's gathered together for the simple reason that we all worked with the images and objects around us.
I was very happy to be living in New York at that time, more than in the present time. Now it's all commerce.
Andy [Warhol] was on the scene, but he wasn't an artist at first; he was more an illustrator. He was always surrounded by about ten people who worshipped him. He'd go to a party and they would all come along. But he was drawing shoes and that sort of thing.
They asked me to do a show, and I was planning on showing my figure paintings. But my friends told me I shouldn't - the paintings were good but a little old-fashioned. They said, "Why don't you show the other stuff?" I had also been making rather strange objects, more in the Freudian tradition.
The art world was very small and the people got together at parties. There was less commercialism.
In 1958 I finally found a large enough apartment on the Lower East Side, where I reverted to figure painting. I drew and painted quite a lot of figures and nudes. People would come and pose for me.
Judson Church was a very important place because they believed in art. They also took care of drug addicts. Without the Judson, nothing could have happened.
You can take an object and simply put anything you want in that object, and I accessed that partly through Freudian ideas.
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