Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Way I See It

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Way I See It

Article excerpt

Does art make a difference?

It makes a difference to the quality of life we live. Art's main strength is its ability to reflect what's going on. It didn't start the French Revolution, but it was a witness.

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Should politics and art mix?

I think that art should be disruptive and make people think about their lives. Are Sonic Youth [my band] political? Well, they are, in that they offer an alternative to mainstream music.

Is your work for the many or for the few?

I don't think it is for everybody but I don't think art or music should be--that's why TV was invented.

Which artist do you most admire?

I really admire Yves Klein, because he wasn't simply an artist. He was an experimenter, he had kooky ideas and he forced Parisian society to change. I particularly like the fact that he referred to himself as "the sacred trickster".

Which artist do you least admire?

Damien Hirst. His work is almost like Las Vegas entertainment. It also makes fun of his audience in a grotesque way; in this sense he's mean-spirited. He doesn't add anything to the dialogue of art or the community.

Which product, if any, would you advertise?

I really can't think of one.

If you weren't a musician, what would you be?

A film-maker or a dancer. I could have been a cook, a thief, or even a candlestick-maker.

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?

My first law would be to give women equal pay. I'd essentially try to let women do whatever they wanted to do. …

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