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Paintings by Abdul Mati Klarwein
Title: Robert Graves

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Interviewer: In which school do the critics, the dealers, and the collectors think you belong?

Abdul Mati Klarwein: That depends. During the abstract expressionist epidemic of the fifties, I was dismissed as a latent surrealist illustrator. In the sixties, when the pop art revolution swept the globe with its tidal waves of whimsical garbage, I was scorned as a psychedelic artist — especially when seen in the company of Tim Leary — too close to LSD for the straight culture-vultures of Madison Avenue. In the seventies, when conceptualism was the magic word (what else is there, anyway?) and a work of art was called a "piece", I was haughtily snubbed as an old-fashioned easel painter from Montmartre.

It's only in the eighties, now that conservative senility has entrenched itself in the marrow of Western culture, and good old-fashioned easel painting is being resuscitated as high-funk nostalgia, that the art-mart world is beginning to treat me with a little respect for the first time. I have a very nice, and respectable, European art dealer who peddles my images according to the rules of the game... To full interview



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