Geoff Hendricks Interview 1/7/11
With Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle
Geoff: Beth, In your questions I really enjoyed the way you focused right in on various aspects that are central to my work like: Fluxus, queerness, nature, and sky. And then getting into this whole kinship network that is the nature of how I approach art and life that’s more in the spirit of commune. What you zeroed in on got me thinking about where I have been and where I’ve traveled and how that intersects with my art practice.
Annie: of course since we’ve become ecosexual, I appreciate your sky paintings as a kind of eco-erotic art. When we met and I saw your paintings they were sky paintings, but now they’re like paintings of my lover, you know?
Geoff: Sure, sure because you’re both married to her.
Annie: Yeah and I so appreciate them, and I see your paintings in the sky now. Which is fun, I think “hmm, there’s one of Geoff’s paintings.”
Geoff: I spent the last half of November and the first ten days of December up in Cape Breton, working on getting the barn in shape, and the grounds around it, and harvesting the last of the garden. Basically other than the second day I was there, and the day I left, there was no snow and it was warm with ever changing sky. It was great. Each day I’d take photos of what was going on and then some clouds would catch my eye, so the images I downloaded are a mix of sky and piles of burning wood, sky and fire. Sky and earth getting pushed around.
Annie: So, you’re going to turn 80 this summer?
Beth: How does that feel Geoff?
Geoff: Well it feels like any other age in a funny way, you know, you look ahead to it and seems sort of ominous. I just got an email from this Finnish artist who said she has a residency in Rome, but has been preoccupied with caring for her elderly 83 year-old parents. I thought elderly? For me 80 seems like just another point in time. As Gertrude Stein says, you always feel like a young adult moving into life some way, right through your life. So there is this feeling 80 will come and then I will be looking ahead to 90.
Beth: Well. We’re right behind you.
Geoff: Okay good, then you’ll be around and we’ll plan a big super event for my 90th and then something even more spectacular for the 100th I guess.
Annie: oh, great!
Geoff: Its gonna be a big bang up party and the neighbors, there is a First Nation Micmac woman, who is very active politically, for instance she’s gone to a conference in Hawaii about First Nation people and rights. We’ve had a couple of conversations at gatherings at peoples’ places, and at one potluck supper she got to talking with me and said, “I’m hearing about this birthday party that you’re having next summer. I better be invited, and if not I’m gonna crash it.”
Beth: Maybe she should bless the land for your birthday.
Geoff: Interesting idea. She is part of the community in Cape Breton.
Beth: Do you know what we’re doing right now Geoff?
Beth: We’re making oatmeal and miso soup. And I always think of you when we make miso soup. We’ve had some of the most fabulous meals at your house.
Annie: she’s hoping that you are what you eat and that she’ll turn into a Geoff Hendricks.
Geoff: Miso is really important for health.
Beth: Well I think love is also one of the best medicines around for health, big doses of love.
Geoff: That’s very important isn’t it? It’s what your weddings and your life are all about.
Annie: Do you consider yourself a love artist?
Geoff: No I leave that special territory for you, but you know, it reverberates. You were talking in one of your questions about gifting, and the kind of communal feeling, the kinship, and relationship with people that’s there in my work may be something parallel. It all works in a good collaborative, cooperative way. Quakerism that I grew up with has a lot of this too, about simple living, and pacifism and working to resolve problems, and helping people.
Beth: See I think that’s an important role that art can play without being an instrument of, or illustrative of, social goody two-shoeism or something.
Geoff: It’s not so much illustrative, but a process, and innately there in what’s done and how one works. I find that that’s something central to my work. It grows from what I’m doing, and can take a lot of different forms. Art’s not just a particular object or text or something like that. Once when we were doing things in Billy Apple’s loft, where I did Body Hair, the shaving piece, as part of my show Relics and Special Events, we were collectively sharing in activities and had a few New Years day gatherings. For one, we decided to write down our thoughts about what art was. The little text that I put together was about how at Dream Event, where I was sleeping and writing down dreams, there naked on a mattress under a sheet, with a pitcher of water to keep me from getting dehydrated and a pot to pee in and people could come at any hour of the day or night. There was one point early on when I was settling in that a woman was busy talking in the hallway. Billy Apple went out and said “shhhshhh, there’s a performance going on here!” I wasn’t talking so I couldn’t respond then, but in this New Years exchange I said that art wasn’t necessarily a specific object, but somehow the static that had gone on between Billy’s reaction, the woman, my response, and the installation, that it was in this kind of intangible area. Which is not to say that it can’t be formalized in a word statement or in a performance or an object or group of objects or a journey or whatever, but it’s about that kind of electricity, the static, that goes on in between all these things.
Beth: I like that definition a lot because I guess what I was referring to is what it seems like in the movement towards social practice. Some of the works that are produced in this area seem to me to be trying to create quick solutions to deep serious problems. And I’m not sure if that’s the role of art, I mean it can certainly try to help solve problems, but when art becomes a problem solving tool, I don’t feel that (for me), it speaks as art as much in the way that you’re describing. It doesn’t pay attention to the space in between.
Geoff: Right, the other can be also. One has to look at it as something that emanates out something else. It needs that happening in a way for it to resonate and to have this kind of greater usefulness, insight, impact.
Annie: Do you do meditation Geoff?
Geoff: I would like to do meditation. I will on occasion just sit. My assistant Ethan is much more regular about doing yoga and meditation and things like that.
Annie: Has it influenced your artwork?
Geoff: Sure, there are instances where it’s been handled in a more formal way. Growing up a Quaker where the service is sitting in silence, if you have something to say you would get up and say it, but a whole Meeting could go on with no one saying anything and would be just as powerful as if there were people speaking.
Annie: Your parents were Quaker…
Geoff: Yeah they were Quakers. My mother went to Earlham, a Quaker college in Indiana. My father grew up Norwegian Methodist, (or something like that), but they both helped found the Quaker meeting in Chicago and then I’ve been involved in the Quaker meeting up in Putney, Vermont. But I feel myself as much a Buddhist and also nothing, just one who communes with nature and the outdoors. Nye/Bici my ex-partner and I were at Tassajara Zen Center in ’68. That was a special and important moment where we sat in a regular way. There were stretches of silence and being involved in that whole discipline but my life is too free flowing to get into it in a regular way. You know its all part of my outlook on the world and life and who I am and that impacts the work too.
Beth: So you mentioned silence a few times in what you were just saying. What role does silence play in your work Geoff? In a free flowing way of course. (Laughter).
Geoff: Well just the sky itself has its own silence, and there have been these performances I’ve done, that have been very much about silence whether it was Dream Event, or Ring Piece, where I was sitting on this mound of dirt for 12 hours in the center of Charlotte Moorman’s Avant Garde festival in the Armory, in ’71, with relics from the Flux Divorce underneath the earth, Dick Higgins was releasing a white mouse every half hour, and in the crowd of people with the noise and everything, they quickly discovered my pile of dirt, and made a beeline for it. Suddenly I became conscious of mice crawling up my sleeve and onto my head, and peering out from the jacket of my tails. So it was immediately a magnet for everybody, and the next issue of the Village Voice, when it was still a good paper, there on the front page was a picture by Fred McDarrah, with me sitting on the pile of dirt with the mice all over me.
Beth: That’s so sweet that the mice felt safe with you.
Geoff: Yes, it’s very special. I’ve used animals like that on other occasions. For instance in Charlotte’s festival in Grand Central Station, I had half a box-car and Stephen Varble, who was my partner at that point, had the other half. I had a chicken and a white mouse that I released from under this pile of branches. And then I came out from under the pile and created a kind of forest across the front of my side with the branches. I had my dreams playing on a tape recorder and read more dreams, colored myself blue and projected sky slides. So a mouse and a chicken entered in there, and I’ve performed with a goat several times, and also a lamb.
Annie: Did anything in particular, or anyone in particular influence your interest in nature?
Geoff: No, I would I say they’re all manifestations of that interest rather than being an influence. Another piece, the first project I did with Francesco Conz was for the summer solstice up on a mountaintop in Norway near Bergen, I had this image of making a circle in the snow as the sun was going down and another as it was rising. Then I knew I was going to be in Italy a week later in time for a full moon, and wanted to do a companion piece there. That was followed by a piece down by the sea—sort of going from mountain to hill to ocean and from the summer solstice, the sun, to the moon, and then the sun again.
Annie: but was there a person, as a kid or something you read or something that sparked your interest in nature, like a moment when you were with your family… I’m just curious if your interest in nature was born in you, or if someone guided you or if there was some inspiration.
Geoff: well my mother’s name was Flora. When I was growing up we had a farm in Vermont, which has become the campus of Marlboro College that my father started, and my whole childhood I was going from Chicago to Marlboro during the summers, walking in the woods, learning to scythe, helping to bring in the hay, weeding gardens, planting seeds. All kinds of things like that.
Beth: Geoff I should send you writings about my grandmother’s garden, and especially the tomatoes. The trajectory you just described is similar to one I also took as a child, except I wasn’t coming from a large city like Chicago. We were living in a small city, Charleston, WV near the coalfields and going to my grandparents’ farm in Virginia. Now I’m tracing those roots back to my ecosexual beginnings.
Geoff: Yeah it’s an important part of the world and the killing off of small farms by this agribusiness is destroying so much more of the country than just the farmers, you know? In destroying that source of agriculture, it’s destroying a whole way of looking at the world. It’s destroying our contact with nature.
Beth: In severing our connection to nature it is also destroying a kind of spirituality and understanding of the world that is so important in terms of people empowering themselves through an understanding and lack of fear of nature.
Geoff: Besides the bioengineering, the pesticides, and the killing of the bees, the agribusiness is destroying so much more. But I could go on for quite awhile…anyway, the farm in Vermont was there all through my childhood. And when I was five, I had a sister who died of a mismatched blood transfusion. I had come down with scarlet fever and then she did. She got worse and was taken to the hospital. Those were the early days of blood transfusions, and the doctor took blood from my father without matching it. It was the wrong type, and my father was there and saw his daughter die before his eyes. This was a family trauma from early childhood. I would say it was not the only force that comes into my working with sky and having links with nature, but I would say this has some connection and impact as to why some of these things resonate with me in a stronger way than they might with someone else. Death becomes something that’s there in the iconography of my work. My father had a death mask made of his mother when she died, and when my father died in ’79. My brother Jon (who’s my kid brother, he’s the youngest) was saying how we really should have a death mask made of father, because we were all conscious of this death mask of his mother. But Jon asking wasn’t like, “let me go do it.” He was looking at big brother Geoff, the artist, kind of hint, hint. So without words said or anything, I took it upon myself to check with George Segal about the plaster to use, and cheesecloth, and gauze bandages, and things I’d need, and how to go about it. And I checked with the sculpture teacher up at Putney School, and she had some mold-making plaster that I could have. So I went down to the funeral home and had a marvelous few hours with the corpse of my father making casts of his face.
Beth: Wow that’s powerful
Geoff: These turned into art in their own way. I made a number of death masks in clay from the molds and got them fired at Douglass College (Rutgers) with my colleague in ceramics, Hui Ka Kwong, helping me. I gave one in an old valise to my brother Jon. Another in an old carton packed with newspaper and dry leaves, traveled with an exhibition I had through Scandinavia, and was left in Norway, together with a sky ladder, at the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter outside Oslo. This is how I put my father’s death mask there in Norway where his parents came from. So this is a real manifestation of death entering in as metaphor in my work. Death also has the connotation of rebirth. It’s part of the cycle we see every year in nature and the world around us. With my late lover Brian Buczak’s death of AIDS, that was the death that hit me the most powerfully, deep, deep grief. I was talking to Ingrid Nyeboe about her loss of Jill (Johnston) and how after Brian died, it was a year before I realized the full dimension of the grief. You put it away so that you can keep on functioning, but it sort of goes on simmering with you all the time. Ingrid was saying how she got back to their apartment, and would pick up something and burst into tears. And it was exactly the same way with me. There would be something and it would suddenly evoke all these memories. I remember driving up First Avenue and passing NYU Medical Center where Brian died, and not really conscious of were I was, suddenly getting all choked up. But it is part of life. When my mother died, which was around that same time, it was like the seasons changing.
Beth: grieving is a good healing thing.
Geoff: yeah it’s important, very important.
Annie: We want to be able to feel where people don’t feel. Those are the people I worry about that just don’t feel. Beth asked me a funny question yesterday, and I’m going to ask you the same question. It’s kind of a strange question, she asked me “are you happy?” in general, you know are you happy with your life. Would you say you’re happy with your life?
Geoff: Are you happy with your life is a very different question than are you happy.
Annie: oh ok, lets say are you happy?
Geoff: In a way, “happy” has other contexts in our society, which imply marginalizing the sadness, the struggles, and the hardships, which can have their own beauty and be part of this whole process that’s life. I think in our society happy has some of that resonance from “happy new year” to going ahead and getting drunk and throwing confetti and so forth, and “we had a great time, and everyone was so happy.” But somehow it was sort of like contentedness and I would say more than earlier there’s this kind of equilibrium and kind of contentment with how my life is flowing, which isn’t necessarily, I mean there aren’t necessarily moments of regret or sadness, or feeling imbalanced about all these forces. You two are involved with a certain amount of meditation, and all with your weddings and life generally, and there’s a kind of inner peace, a sort of radiance and contentment.
Beth: Right, but I think we’re certainly not… we don’t shy away from sort of bigger, and one would say perhaps the less happy, I think I was asking more the question “are you happy with your life?”
Geoff: Am I happy with my life? Yeah. You know, seeing collogues and friends and so forth become superstars while you’re doing somewhat parallel things but somehow in the lay of the cards or whatever, although you do have certain recognition, not becoming the known quantity others have become. There are a lot of people, Carolee Schneemann and Alison Knowles are examples of artists who have struggled with this all their life making fabulous work, and being marginalized. But the thing is you can’t dwell on it. Your center is not there in the perceptions of the world, the culture, as a whole, but in your own inner search. And the creation and manifestations of this comes out in what you bring together.
Beth: Some of your questions were getting into the birthday party and collaboration, and my whole take on… you say “you’ve engaged in collaborations in the past in your work with Brian Buczak and also collaborations with folks like Jill Johnston and Ingrid Nyboe and the wonderful wedding performance contributions, wedding boxes, other art presents that you’ve made for Annie and me for our wedding. Why do you engage in collaboration and what do you get out of this process, do you find collaboration a productive way to work? Do you think collaboration creates bigger conversations than you might ordinarily have, and if you ever have had difficulties in collaboration, what did you learn from them?”
Geoff: And the answers are yes, yes, yes—and these are very central questions and it is a situation where the minds of several people coming together in a way feed each other and resonate. It’s like your relationship with each other, or me with Sur, or Jill and Ingrid, and all of this too. What goes on there is more than one plus one, and does not equal two, it equals more than two. And it is also not without difficulties. I was reading your question, “if you’ve ever had difficulties in collaboration, what did you learn from them?” and I was thinking of certain fights that I had with Brian when we together, out at PS1 we did a collaborative piece. And some way or another, I may have triggered it, or it may have been Brian’s obstinacy or something that got said, whatever, it was a real kind of fight, but then we came around, and we put together the documentation of the piece, Rulers, Ladders and Buckets. The next weekend we preformed again, and it was fine. I suspect you’ve had occasions where you’ve had fights or disagreements.
Beth: oh yes we have, they’ve been quite fun and illuminating.
Geoff: yeah its fun, (laughter) you come out and realize that… you also have the realization that you can step down from that soap box that you were on for a moment and take a look at what was being confronted and discussed from a little different direction, and you realize yeah, that was kind of stupid.
Beth: but that’s also how change happens, I think.
Annie: That’s true. When we try to think of a title for something, we get into these arguments that ultimately leads to the best title.
Geoff; Collaboration has been something that has definitely worked with me right along in bringing pieces together, with Bici and me making Black Thumb Press, with Brian and me making Money for Food Press, and Sur and me with all the different projects we’re doing. We also talked earlier about this sort of art kinship system… working with others, and then also working in this kind of genealogy of you to your teachers, and you to your students. And the passing on of ideas, and taking knowledge and information that you go ahead and reshape and probably expand and push in other ways, but then your students go ahead and take it and you can be surprised at other directions it goes in. And the point that I made is that I really don’t have this capitalist mindset, which is about me and proprietary attitudes about what one does with ones own life and work. But it’s much more of the Quaker background I have this sense of sharing and extending out to others and it’s always been there with me. And I wouldn’t want it otherwise. I feel that it’s something that leads to a good quality of life. In a certain way it’s what goes on in this house here in New York. With bringing in Ethan, who just by chance came in because we needed somebody to care for this dying cat when we were going over to Salzburg. Then the cat died and Ethan, who had been a wonderful student, and had participated in the Flux Mass, and was into artist books, and performance and great with computers, just settled in, in a very natural way. Sur has spoken of us living together as an experiment in intergenerational living.
Beth; give him our love will you?
Geoff; oh I shall, absolutely.
Annie: that’s great he lives there with you full time?
Geoff: Yes, as I said, he was here and it was sort of natural to have him continue as part of the household.
Annie: we need one of those.
Beth: Geoff the things that you’re describing: collaborations and sharing, you know giving away ideas, are not the qualities that make someone a superstar in the capitalist society.
Geoff: I know, that is my subconscious choice of where I am, as opposed to the capitalist superstar of the world.
Beth: I’m so glad you are where you are, because at least for me, you’ve been a great example, in ways to live an art life. You know, I don’t even want to call it an art career, I want to just say in this integrated way where life is art – you know looking towards you, and looking to Linda Montano,
Geoff: Right, Linda Montano is another person with a similar kind of energy and spirit. And as you say, there is a genealogy to this, and one learns from one and passes it on to others. And all become one big family, and caring in a certain way too.
Annie: She’s trying to sell her archive, if you run into anyone buying archives. (laughter)
Geoff: She can check with NYU. They’re working on this sort of period, Sur is trying to get me moving forward on my own archive and getting it in better shape where it can go somewhere, but it’s a problem. You have your own body of material too that will get placed somewhere.
A: Well I was lucky I had a fire.
G; I remember that whole houseboat incident.
A: That solved a lot of that.
B: We’re building a new one now, though. We just had a really nice show at the Trisolinin Gallery at Ohio University were all the ephemera from the Green Wedding and the Blue Wedding are displayed. And now they’re getting ready to mount a show in their Kennedy Museum of the Purple Wedding ephemera. Petra Kralicklova is the curator and she just did a beautiful job displaying the stuff.
A: And of course your stuff is always in there, the envelopes, the boxes with the toe words, everything of yours is prized, prominently displayed and shared in everything we do.
B: You are always credited too, so you’re there with us Geoff! We should send you lists of these places where you have been with us.
G; Some other points you were talking about, right at the beginning you were raising the question, “is my work Fluxus? And when did I start to think of myself as Fluxus or when did I become seen as Fluxus,” and also the queer/gay and nature and sky that are all threads that moved in and out of my work. As to Fluxus, I was out there at Rutgers, as I describe in Critical Mass, at some of those very beginnings, with Allan Kaprow and Bob Watts and the chapel programs with Cage talking and Kaprow doing his first Happening in 1958. And getting to know George Brecht around that time, and all this was having an impact with me. But my feeling was that, well, Happenings are Kaprow, and Events are Brecht, and Watts was there with Maciunas, and the beginnings of Fluxus. It was exciting, but I wanted to find my own voice within this, rather than just being a part of what this circle of artists around me were generating. I was also involved in this heterosexual marriage, which had some impact, and in ’64 we had the birth of our daughter, and family, so in ways that deflected certain creative juices and drives, but I was also feeling connected with it all. Really from ’63 when the Fluxus people came back from Europe, Bici/Nye and I were involved in doing things of this nature. I guess it was around this time that she asked Bob Watts, “how do you become a member of Fluxus?” and Bob sorta shrugged his shoulders and said “well you either are or you aren’t, its nothing you can join” and we at that point weren’t, so we started the Black Thumb Press and sent out cards, and kept an ongoing journal we called “The Friday Book of White Noise”, where we would write down scores, thoughts, ideas. Then when Watts and Brecht brought together their Monday Night Letter at the Café au Go-Go, we did a reading of “The Friday Book of White Noise,” and Bici/Nye made this script/scroll, as a Möbius strip, that was a continuous thing. These were Fluxus like scores, and then by ’65, George Maciunas began including us on his mailing list of names, and we were taking part in Fluxus Banquets, and a paper concert at the Time Life Building. So sort of by osmosis in the 60’s we began to be part of Fluxus, but still we were also in a little bit of an outsider role, something that my life has always had. In ’63 when the group of Fluxus artists came back from Europe, Maciunas had set up this Flux Shop down on Canal Street in a loft, and I was there a few times. The first time I was there, Dick Higgins afterwards took me to the bar downstairs, and began to explain to me all the things about George Maciunas and what I had to watch out for, and about what was going on within Fluxus and the situation of the Flux-tour, because he had had this big split and fight with George. It was subliminal at that point, certainly not expressed with either of us, but a quiet queer male bonding, unrecognized, un-visualized, was beginning to take place. He was the other queer Fluxus artist. In the late sixties I was also on the Voorhees Assembly Board at the college, putting together a series of programs, and they were asking for new ideas.
B; Was this out in New Brunswick?
G; Yes, at Voorhees Chapel at Douglass College, so I was on this program committee and they selected me because they felt I would come up with new ideas and I said “How about a Fluxus concert?” they can be fun and lively, and could attract students. And they said fine. So I went and talked to George, and he said “It’s going to be in a chapel? We’ve never had a Flux Mass.” so immediately he began planning it while I got students involved and did all the arranging at the college. This went on to become a big controversy. There was a chaplain there that was really upset and felt that this was an affront to his proper religiosity. He was like the Christian coalition person that got the David Wojnarowicz tape censored from the Hide/Seek exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. I organized the Flux-Mass that became a big controversy, but I weathered it because I had tenure.
B: Tenure is a magical tool isn’t it?
G; It’s unbelievable Beth, and I think both of us have used it to its full advantage. Anyway next spring, Bici and I were in the throws of rethinking our relationship, We both were realizing our gayness/queerness, and we had a 10th anniversary coming up, and it was like “well how do we celebrate it?” We were still living together, and we had these two kids, that we both loved dearly. And I thought well why don’t we have a Flux Divorce? She was a little hesitant at first but then she became interested and got involved. I went to talk to George and collectively we did the event. Later he asked me to organize his Flux Wedding and be the Flux Minister, so I was very closely involved with George in lots of ways.
B; When did you start doing the head stands Geoff?
G: I’m not quite positive, but that’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed doing at least since adolescence. There is a picture on the mantel of me doing a headstand up in Cape Breton that my daughter Tyche took probably, when she was a teenager in the 70s. And there was a point where my performance work which had a kind of messiness, working with branches and earth, bringing in other people, transforming my body, and creating a sort of metamorphosis, rebirth imagery, and links with the forest and nature, often having sky slides projected over this. Then at a certain point I was getting others to do the performing and I just did headstands in the middle of all that was going on around me, this unwobbling pivot, and it came to a point where the other stuff seemed irrelevant so I’d just do a headstand, and attach artifacts, commemorative words, grass, whatever was germinal to the particular situation to my body, between my feet.
B. It is very intimate to put your head on the ground like that.
G. Yeah, that gets into something else, because there is this kind of metaphor that goes through my work of earth and sky and the interplay of the two. But the reversal of the two so that the first thing that I did, that I painted with sky, were a pair of old work boots from my farm up in Cape Breton the first summer I was there, and these Sky Boots I really liked because the boots are about the person, in a way a self portrait, and they’re also the part of you that touches the ground, but by putting the sky over them it flips them upside down and puts them into the sky. Or in a different way fuses sky and earth and the person all in one object. There have been headstands where I’ve colored my legs and feet blue and put them up into the air so that my feet become sky.
Beth And so you are continuing the headstands but are you doing any other work that you are excited about?
Geoff: Yes, sure, in March Sur and I are going over to South Africa. We have a residency near Johannesburg. We’re also going to be doing some workshops talking about AIDS. So there will be new things coming up there. Then with the work I was doing in Cape Breton on the barn, the carpenter as he took out old material put it on a big pile, and this past November when I was there burning all of this, I would come upon a particular board that had a special patina or a latch that was connected with a board or some particular piece of farm machinery, a fragment that seemed special, and I would put them to one side. I have a lot of objects like this, also pieces of beams, say 5‘ tall and 8”x8” with holes for pegs and mitered joints where other beams came in, maybe nails on them, a hook, splash of paint, they seemed like totem objects and with very little addition could become very interesting pieces. So I took some of these into my studio, and there is a whole wealth of material that will become transformed, like the things I’ve been doing with sky watercolors, and roots and ladders. Also there are publications and books I want to get done. I was going to do a book with Jill Johnston called 100 Headstands to be a sequel to my 100 Skies, but then she died. It’s something I still want to do. Probably I’d dedicate it to Jill’s memory.
Annie: I have one more question. Have you worked in any exhibitions or events that have focused on environmental art? And do you feel that you are an environmental art artist?
Geoff: Well yes, a woman from Munich who is writing her doctoral thesis on me organized a show there last summer called “Art Goes Green” and I did a green headstand for her in our back yard sending over the images that she turned into large photo blowups. But I feel that so much of my work with sky and using earth in performance, process work, and doing things like Between Two Points on a mountain top in Norway and a hill in Italy, and working with the sun and the moon, have all been part of this. There is always a strong link to nature and the environment. I guess there are some people who more totally identify themselves as environmental art artists. Yet it is certainly an aspect of my work, who I am and what I’ve been doing.
Annie: Do you feel that art could help environmental activist causes?
Beth: I’m more interested in whether it can help save the Earth.
Annie: Yeah that’s it. Can art help save the earth?
Geoff: It’s a big job, big ambition there, and it would be nice if there could be a whole kind of collective coming together like the anti war movement. That really turned DC around and was certainly a factor in the whole Vietnam War coming to an end. The agribusiness, genetically modified food, GMO’s, manipulations of seeds, are all things that absolutely enrage me.
Beth: We feel that our work is headed more and more in the direction of trying to bring more love to the earth.
Geoff: Oh it’s got to be.
Annie: We’re trying to make the environmental movement more sexy, fun and diverse-that is our environmental mission.
Geoff: You are doing a wonderful job there.