Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Category: Apollo

Bill Viola

bill viola

When Bill Viola talks about his art, he refers to it as ‘our work’. He and his wife, Kira Perov, have been working together since they met in Melbourne, Australia, in 1977. The first thing Viola tells me, when I sit down with him at his studio in Long Beach, California, is that it is most important that my interview include Kira. Read the rest of this entry »

Donald Judd

Donald Judd, 101 Spring Street, 1970. Photo by Paul Katz.
© Judd Foundation. Courtesy Judd Foundation Archives


How do you feel about the term Minimal Art?’ asks the art historian Barbara Rose. ‘Well I don’t like it,’ replies Donald Judd, leaning into the table and smiling shyly. ‘What’s minimal about it?’ Scattered across the bare floorboards of the warehouse loft behind him are a tricycle, a child’s painting, a small forest of cacti in terracotta pots, a toy truck and an open trunk. Read the rest of this entry »

Carl Andre

Carl Andre building 'Cedar Piece', 1964

What is the most important thing to say about Carl Andre? Carl can’t remember. ‘What was it I once said?’ he responds when I ask him which, of all his contributions to the history of art, he is most proud of. ‘I didn’t make a great contribution but all I did was add the … It was something like …’ He tails off. ‘My mind is gone. I have no memory,’ he says simply and equitably. At 77, Andre is one of the most important living artists in America. Melissa Kretschmer, his wife, cuts in. She accompanies us throughout our conversation; nearly three decades Andre’s junior, she is better able to recall some of the details that evade her husband. Read the rest of this entry »

Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Photograph: Amanda Friedman

A chapter in Lynda Resnick’s book Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business is titled ‘The One True Copy of Jackie Kennedy’s Real Fake Pearls’. Resnick tells the story of how, in 1996, Sotheby’s auctioned the estate of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, including her iconic three-strand pearl necklace. It didn’t matter that the pearls were imitation, and that the young Jacqueline Bouvier had picked them up at Bergdorf Goodman for around $35. They were listed by Sotheby’s at $200–$300. Resnick was determined to have them, and persuaded her husband Stewart to bid all the way to the jaw-dropping closing price of $211,000. The couple were the subject of ridicule in the national press. Read the rest of this entry »

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha may now regret saying, in 1966, that ‘being in Los Angeles has little or no effect on my work’. He’s been pedaling back from this characteristically contrary statement ever since. After all, the city has been his muse ever since he arrived from Oklahoma City in 1956. What he was perhaps trying to say is that he’s not an ambassador for Los Angeles – a city that, for all its brittle self-absorption, he admits that he loves. ‘Palm trees have a narcotic effect on me’ he says, speaking from his Culver City studio. ‘And all this tropical vegetation. Mix that with, what have you, fast food and movies, and the forward motion of things out here, with respect to artists, it’s a pretty jumpy scene.’ Read the rest of this entry »