About The Marble Cadillac project 

The recording will be pretty, pretty bad because of the sound of the car. You better shout. It's running.

When the Cadillac is complete, where would you like to have it shown. Whose collection would you like to see it in?
I'm not aware enough of collections. I don't know any single name of collectors beside the names of the people who bought my pieces. The best place to show the Cadillac is the place where I want to show it in front of O.K. Harris. It could be a Landmark on West Broadway, but they will have to move that bloody fire pump.

How do you feel about the marble Cadillac going to a private collection? Would you prefer to see it in a public setting a museum?
I prefer, certainly, a public situation. if it is a museum, I prefer outdoors. I see it ,best on the street.

Why a Cadillac as opposed to another car?
The first pieces I did were appliances from my childhood, from my appartment my mother's sewing machine, our radio, the toaster. I want to do our ref rigerator. When I was a kid, my parents had no car but .I remember being picked up at school by a close friend's car with a chauffeur. I remember they had a regular Plymouth for every day and f rom time to time, when the chauffeur was coming directly f rom the office of my friend's father, he came with a Cadillac. That was very special to us. We were maybe seven or eight years old and at that age the senses are very developed. The Cadillac did really smell different. The little knob to set the window up and down was transparent plastic and the steering wheel was very glamerous. The car was kept in very good shape and was the object of care of the chauffeur and the admiration of the people on the street. It was a treat to ride in it.

So you actually remember touching and seeing the details? It wasn't just the idea of a "Cadillac" and what it means, what it symbolizes?
I liked the car bef ore I knew what Cadillac means. I remember the quality of the car and the shortest cut to describe the quality of the car is to give it it's name and it was a "Cadillac". It was not a 50s car, it was a 47 or 48 Cadillac so what I am doing now is not exactly the car I used to ride in, but I think it is more representative of cars in general and American car production in particular. The car I chose is more a symbol and a car I admired f rom outside, looking at it on the streets and in gas stations.

Do you think the Cadillac has a wide audience? Do you think your sculpture will trigger such memories in many people or is it more a private vision?
I do love to be loved, to have feedback from the people who regard my work but I think of myself first. There is no speculation on being loved more by using a car that everybody loves, i t is first of aIl a car that I design as being a symbol and a car that pleases me. One often thinks that the artist has a message to deliver. That's bull shit. I believe that the artist shows with his work what everybody has uncon-ciously felt. When I do a Caddy that means Hey.' See? Me too:

Why marble? Did you ever make paintings of these childhood images - the appliances in your home, the car you rode home from school in?

Marble is a unique material not because of it's tradition and what people see in it as a symbol of durability but because you have te carve every piece separately and you can't make an edition, like in bronze for example. I like the no-return aspect. marble does not offer a chance te redeame yourself . You make a mistake, it's too late. Yeo better buy another block and start again. In other materials, you can add or subtract mater. In marble, and in wood also, you cannot add you can only subtract. But I de prefer marble te wood because while wood pulls you, marble pushes you - I mean your chisel. I do paint objects in marble. They are watercolors. Here exactly the opposite happens. You can not subtract, you can only add. You know that in painting with acrylic or oil you can add density or subtract it by adding white. That means coming back on an addition of color. It's like subtracting color. In watercolor you can't. If the paper is too dark, it's too late.
No repentance.



So, in f act, it has the same quality.
It's the same kind of quality. No way of return. It is somehow like life itself . The way of no return. You can't really erase part of your life. It's done. It's done.

So, this is a risky business. We are talking about a 45 ton block of marble for the Cadillac. Is there much chance for mistake?
The state of artist is dangerous in general. When you are talking about business, it is really risky. That is the reason parents are completely f reaked out when they hear that their child is going in that direction. Artists are used to risks, we take them all the time. I'll be care-full. I'll set my belt on - my safety belt.

Is that art?
Artists have hardly an idea about what is art and what is not. It's the public and the art critic who define that. Artists  confess   only themselves to be artists and whatever they do is art. Whatever they sign is art. We are now after Duchamps who signed a bottle rack. We know that Andy Warhol did his silk-screens by phone. He called the printer to say "put some red on the mouth, green on the eyes and print". It 's still an Andy Warhol and no one discusses that. I love it.

Can you imagine doing a series of sculptures of cars or is the Cadillac the ultimate car sculpture?
Artists make pieces that are good and others that are less good. I hope to do always better than the last. Now I have to do this one - the Cadillac - and this leads to the next piece. I am not thinking yet about another car. I would rather think about a Grey-hound Bus or a DC 3 or something like that. You never know what could happen. As a matter of fact, I saw a Volvo the other day. I thought it was a great car but you know.....this is still in the air.

Is there a great deal of resistance to your pro-ducing this piece?
The marble it self offers resistance to carving it is not a easy medium. There is no resistance at all to my carving a Cadillac. It's only the lack of money. if I had the money, I would have done it without hesitation - without a second thought.

A Greyhound Bus, a DC 3. The Cadillac is a huge project by itself . Is it the scale - the menumentality - that interests you?
It's true that the dimension adds te the ex-citement of the project. Mount Rushmore and the Great Pyramids are interesting because they are big. Imagine a model of Mount Rushmore. Would you be interested to look at it? Size is part of the excitement. There is more dynamic in it. marble works with its density.

Does your use of marble in sculpture have some-thing te do with permanence as well? A marble sculpture will not decay the way a wooden one, or a painted canvas, will or the way the Cadillac itself , in metal, will decay.
Everything decays if it doesn't get attention. Everyone does. Marble is not so solid, not so un-breakable as peeple think. If we still have some mar-ble sculpture f rom antiquity, it's not because they are marble. It is because people cared about them. I haven't speculated on the solidity of the marble in order te survive.

Can you imagine the Cadillac surviving 500 years f rom now - a damaged antiquity with a broken headlamp, a missing bumper or doorhandle?
Yeah, I think about it. It's very exciting. May-be some idiot will try to fix it - restore it. It will end in a French museum. It may end up with a French hubcap. It's fun te speculate. You know about the Sphinx in the Louvre which has been restored with a French baker's nose. No one notices it except someone who is very alert and can tell the difference be-tween a French and an Egyptian nose.

De you think of your sculpture surviving you?
I'm tempted to say I don't care but it would be a lie. I think that all artists believe they have a little victory on death through their work. I hate to say that after thousands of dead artists who have said it before me.

In other words, I could answer yes or no with the same conviction.

Noreen Lewandowski and Roland Baladi



New York 1985

Traduction française        

More texts in english:

The play on the rreal By Pierre Restany
The solar-relief in Leonardo , in Omni
From Mike to Marshall with love intervew by Franck Maubert
In OK Harris catalogue by Linda chase
Nam June's first tape, the transcript of the video

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