Page 1

T R E N T O N Texts by

Valerie Cassel Oliver Brooke Davis Anderson Trenton Doyle Hancock in conversations with

Gary Panter and

D O Y L E

Stanley Whitney 152 pages with 138 color reproductions Also including a limited-edition 32-page comic book of a new drawing series: Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw

TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK: SKIN AND BONES, 20 YEARS OF DRAWING

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON

Comprehensive in scope, this two-decade survey includes works from 1984 to 2014, uncovering the foundation of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s prolific career while chronicling the cast of colorful characters that he has brought to life. What emerges is a wide range of influences, including comics, graphic novels, cartoons, music, film, and visual art—the entire sweep of high and low connections. While Hancock’s paintings have become widely known, his extensive body of drawings, collages, and works on paper—both discrete and monumental—have not been fully explored. This publication provides a glimpse into the evolution of the artist’s idiosyncratic vision by showing viewers the genesis of his mythology—including the epic Mound saga—as well as the larger development of his practice. Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing reveals the artist’s concentration on line, his approach to the tradition of drawing, and his ability to implode that tradition through mark-making dexterity, compositional skill, and conceptual weight.

H A N C O C K


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N TO N DO E R Y C HAN OCK

20 YEAR

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LE H A N Y O CO D

A R S OF D

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Valerie Cassel Oliver Texts by

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Valerie Cassel Oliver Brooke Davis Anderson

in conversations with

Gary Panter and

Stanley Whitney C O N T E M P O R A R Y

A R T S

M U S E U M

H O U S T O N


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0

YE

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TR E N T ON

LE H A N Y O CO D

A R S OF D

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Valerie Cassel Oliver Texts by

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Valerie Cassel Oliver Brooke Davis Anderson

in conversations with

Gary Panter and

Stanley Whitney C O N T E M P O R A R Y

A R T S

M U S E U M

H O U S T O N


Published on the occasion of the exhibition Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver, senior curator, for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

6

Exhibition itinerary: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston April 27–August 3, 2014 Akron Art Museum, Ohio September 6, 2014–January 4, 2015

Lenders to the Exhibition Additional support is provided by Anonymous; Brad and Leslie Bucher; Burning Bones Press; Sara Paschall Dodd; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Cullen Geiselman; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Lester Marks; Judy and Scott Nyquist; Lea Weingarten; and Peter and Linda Zweig.

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York March 25–June 28, 2015

This exhibition has been made possible by the patrons, benefactors, and donors to the Museum’s Major Exhibition Fund:

Copyright © 2014 by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Major Patrons Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen Fayez Sarofim Michael Zilkha

Artwork by Trenton Doyle Hancock © 2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock Artwork by Lee Baxter Davis © 2014 Lee Baxter Davis Artwork by Gary Panter © 2014 Gary Panter All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 5216 Montrose Boulevard Houston, TX 77006 www.camh.org Distributed by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. 155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10013 www.artbook.com Library of Congress Catalog Control Number: 2014945693 ISBN: 978-1-933619-50-7 For the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Publication coordinators: Valerie Cassel Oliver, Nancy O’Connor, and Sarah Schultz Editor: Betsy Stepina Zinn Design: Don Quaintance, Public Address Design, with design/production assistant Elizabeth Frizzell Printing and prepress color: Shapco Printing, Minneapolis Typography composed in HT Foro Cover: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Bone Zone #1, 2013 (detail). Ink on paper, 11¾ x 9 inches. Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Back cover: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Monster (Land-Based), 2010. Ink on paper, 11 x 8 inches. Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Endpapers: Trenton Doyle Hancock, selection of Epidemic!: Morphing Head (Pencil Tests), 2013–14. Machine ink on paper copied from graphite on paper original animation cels, 11 x 8½ inches each. Courtesy the artist Half-title page: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Absorbed, 2004 (detail). Ink on paper, 12 x 9 inches. Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Frontispiece: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Hancock Twins, 1995 (detail reproduced with digital alteration to figure’s left arm, 2014). Ink on paper, 7 ¾ x 10 ¼ inches. Courtesy the artist Skin and Bones logo designed by the artist

Contents

Patrons Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Kempner III Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim Benefactors George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Louise D. Jamail Anne and David Kirkland KPMG, LLP Beverly and Howard Robinson Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister Leigh and Reggie Smith Yellow Cab Houston

Donors Bank of Texas Bergner and Johnson Design Jereann Chaney Elizabeth Howard Crowell Dillon Kyle Architecture Sara Paschall Dodd Ruth Dreessen and Thomas Van Laan Jo and Jim Furr Barbara and Michael Gamson Brenda and William Goldberg Jackson and Company King & Spalding L.L.P. Marley Lott Belinda Phelps and Randy Howard Lauren Rottet Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc. Karen and Harry Susman Mr. Wallace Wilson

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is made possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc. Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for the Future is made possible by generous grants from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Anonymous, Jereann Chaney, Marita and J. B. Fairbanks, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, Leticia Loya, Fayez Sarofim, Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister, and David and Marion Young. The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons, members, and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from the Houston Endowment, the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, The Wortham Foundation, Inc., and artMRKT Productions.

7 Foreword Bill Arning

8 Acknowledgments Valerie Cassel Oliver and Trenton Doyle Hancock

10 The Hunger Within Valerie Cassel Oliver

18 Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Gary Panter Moderated by Daniel Atkinson with Valerie Cassel Oliver

26 Vegans and Vivian Girls: Mythology and Grand Thinking in the Work of Trenton Doyle Hancock and Henry Darger Brooke Davis Anderson

30 Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Stanley Whitney Moderated by Max Fields

SELECTED WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

38 Epidemic!

44 The Liminal Room

56 From the Mirror

80 CAMH also thanks its artist benefactors for their support, including Jules de Balincourt, Jack Early, Mark Flood, Keltie Ferris, Barnaby Furnas, Theaster Gates, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Mary Heilmann, Jim Hodges, Jennie C. Jones, Klara Lidén, Maya Lin, Robert Mangold, Melissa Miller, Marilyn Minter, Angel Otero, Enoc Perez, Rob Pruitt, Matthew Ritchie, Dario Robleto, Ed Ruscha, Rusty Scruby, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, James Surls, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and William Wegman.

It Came from Studio Floor

88 Moundish

140 Official Airline of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Catalogue of the Exhibition

146 Trenton Doyle Hancock Biography


Published on the occasion of the exhibition Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver, senior curator, for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

6

Exhibition itinerary: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston April 27–August 3, 2014 Akron Art Museum, Ohio September 6, 2014–January 4, 2015

Lenders to the Exhibition Additional support is provided by Anonymous; Brad and Leslie Bucher; Burning Bones Press; Sara Paschall Dodd; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Cullen Geiselman; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Lester Marks; Judy and Scott Nyquist; Lea Weingarten; and Peter and Linda Zweig.

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York March 25–June 28, 2015

This exhibition has been made possible by the patrons, benefactors, and donors to the Museum’s Major Exhibition Fund:

Copyright © 2014 by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Major Patrons Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen Fayez Sarofim Michael Zilkha

Artwork by Trenton Doyle Hancock © 2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock Artwork by Lee Baxter Davis © 2014 Lee Baxter Davis Artwork by Gary Panter © 2014 Gary Panter All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 5216 Montrose Boulevard Houston, TX 77006 www.camh.org Distributed by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. 155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10013 www.artbook.com Library of Congress Catalog Control Number: 2014945693 ISBN: 978-1-933619-50-7 For the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Publication coordinators: Valerie Cassel Oliver, Nancy O’Connor, and Sarah Schultz Editor: Betsy Stepina Zinn Design: Don Quaintance, Public Address Design, with design/production assistant Elizabeth Frizzell Printing and prepress color: Shapco Printing, Minneapolis Typography composed in HT Foro Cover: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Bone Zone #1, 2013 (detail). Ink on paper, 11¾ x 9 inches. Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Back cover: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Monster (Land-Based), 2010. Ink on paper, 11 x 8 inches. Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Endpapers: Trenton Doyle Hancock, selection of Epidemic!: Morphing Head (Pencil Tests), 2013–14. Machine ink on paper copied from graphite on paper original animation cels, 11 x 8½ inches each. Courtesy the artist Half-title page: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Absorbed, 2004 (detail). Ink on paper, 12 x 9 inches. Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Frontispiece: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Hancock Twins, 1995 (detail reproduced with digital alteration to figure’s left arm, 2014). Ink on paper, 7 ¾ x 10 ¼ inches. Courtesy the artist Skin and Bones logo designed by the artist

Contents

Patrons Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Kempner III Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim Benefactors George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Louise D. Jamail Anne and David Kirkland KPMG, LLP Beverly and Howard Robinson Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister Leigh and Reggie Smith Yellow Cab Houston

Donors Bank of Texas Bergner and Johnson Design Jereann Chaney Elizabeth Howard Crowell Dillon Kyle Architecture Sara Paschall Dodd Ruth Dreessen and Thomas Van Laan Jo and Jim Furr Barbara and Michael Gamson Brenda and William Goldberg Jackson and Company King & Spalding L.L.P. Marley Lott Belinda Phelps and Randy Howard Lauren Rottet Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc. Karen and Harry Susman Mr. Wallace Wilson

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is made possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc. Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for the Future is made possible by generous grants from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Anonymous, Jereann Chaney, Marita and J. B. Fairbanks, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, Leticia Loya, Fayez Sarofim, Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister, and David and Marion Young. The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons, members, and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from the Houston Endowment, the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, The Wortham Foundation, Inc., and artMRKT Productions.

7 Foreword Bill Arning

8 Acknowledgments Valerie Cassel Oliver and Trenton Doyle Hancock

10 The Hunger Within Valerie Cassel Oliver

18 Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Gary Panter Moderated by Daniel Atkinson with Valerie Cassel Oliver

26 Vegans and Vivian Girls: Mythology and Grand Thinking in the Work of Trenton Doyle Hancock and Henry Darger Brooke Davis Anderson

30 Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Stanley Whitney Moderated by Max Fields

SELECTED WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

38 Epidemic!

44 The Liminal Room

56 From the Mirror

80 CAMH also thanks its artist benefactors for their support, including Jules de Balincourt, Jack Early, Mark Flood, Keltie Ferris, Barnaby Furnas, Theaster Gates, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Mary Heilmann, Jim Hodges, Jennie C. Jones, Klara Lidén, Maya Lin, Robert Mangold, Melissa Miller, Marilyn Minter, Angel Otero, Enoc Perez, Rob Pruitt, Matthew Ritchie, Dario Robleto, Ed Ruscha, Rusty Scruby, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, James Surls, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and William Wegman.

It Came from Studio Floor

88 Moundish

140 Official Airline of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Catalogue of the Exhibition

146 Trenton Doyle Hancock Biography


Lenders to the Exhibition

Foreword

Brooke Davis Anderson and Jay S. Potter, New York

Samuel R. Peterson , Hamden, Connecticut

James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, New York

The Rachofsky Collection , Dallas

Erika Ranee Cosby, New York

Anika Rahman, New York

DEPART Foundation, Grottaferrata, Italy

Lawrence Rinder, Berkeley, California

Charles Desmarais and Kitty Morgan, San Francisco

Gail Ann Rothman and Brent Rycroft, New York

Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, New York

Sloan and Carli Schaffer, Los Angeles

Georgia and Christopher Erck, San Antonio

Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer, Asheville, North Carolina

Rosa and Aaron H. Esman, M.D., New York

Rebecca and Scott Tankersley, Dallas

The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia

Tim Walsh and Mike Healy, Santa Barbara, California

Nash and Marion Flores, Dallas

Lea Weingarten, Houston

Stewart Ginsberg , Chappaqua, New York

Elisabeth Ross Wingate, New York

Kevin Graham, Pharr, Texas

Martina Yamin, New York

David Alan Grier, Los Angeles

Zang Collection, London

Hales Gallery, London

Peter and Linda Zweig, Houston

James Cohan Gallery, New York Jones Wajahat Family, New York KAWS, New York Julie Kinzelman and Christopher Tribble, Houston Noel Kirnon, New York Jeanne and Michael L. Klein, Austin, Texas Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee Susan and Lewis Manilow, Chicago Lester Marks, Houston Metoyer Collection, Houston and Amsterdam Charles Dee Mitchell, Dallas The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

and other collectors who wish to remain private

S

ince the early 2000s, when Trenton Doyle Hancock exploded on the visual arts scene as a conspicuous young hotshot from Texas, I have known something of his complex narratives of Mounds and Vegans. I had no idea at the time that I would end up running a museum in Houston, where he is justifiably beloved as an artist who, while showing globally, chooses to remain based here. In many ways he is the quintessential Houston artist, finding in the city’s love of artistic eccentrics a way to fully inhabit a world of his own invention. A visit to his studio reminds us of an earlier ethos in which artists were supposed to be visionaries, rather than businessmen. This is perhaps one of the reasons why he has thrived here and I, for one, am thrilled that he has made Houston his home. Working with a hometown artist has its perks. It has been an absolute joy to see Trenton in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s galleries regularly, speaking with visitors and sharing his work with young and old. His passion is contagious and electric; his charm, undeniable. Through the vision of Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing— the artist’s first mid-career drawing survey—presents a visual and encyclopedic feast for visitors to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The earliest works in the exhibition were created by the hand of a very young Trenton, age ten. We see the evolution of this young man and his understanding of the world through the lens of his graphic stories and from the characters that populate his inner worlds. I would like to thank Valerie Cassel Oliver for bringing together an exhibition that chronicles the life and work of Trenton Doyle Hancock up to the present day. Skin and Bones is, in scope, a monster of a show. With so many wonderful things in Trenton’s archives to choose from, Valerie certainly had a creative mountain to climb and did an amazing job presenting an exhibition that captures the spirit and beauty of Trenton’s mind. The decision to focus on drawing came naturally, given that everything that flows from the artist’s fecund imagination begins on paper.

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by Brad and Leslie Bucher; Burning Bones Press; Sara Paschall Dodd; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Cullen Geiselman; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Lester Marks; Judy and Scott Nyquist; Lea Weingarten; Peter and Linda Zweig; and an anonymous donor. We are excited that this exhibition will travel to the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled to see Houston’s finest work shared with my city. Bill Arning Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, New York Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, California Jim and Paula Ohaus, Westfield, New Jersey Mary Alice and Christopher Paul, Dallas

6

7


Lenders to the Exhibition

Foreword

Brooke Davis Anderson and Jay S. Potter, New York

Samuel R. Peterson , Hamden, Connecticut

James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, New York

The Rachofsky Collection , Dallas

Erika Ranee Cosby, New York

Anika Rahman, New York

DEPART Foundation, Grottaferrata, Italy

Lawrence Rinder, Berkeley, California

Charles Desmarais and Kitty Morgan, San Francisco

Gail Ann Rothman and Brent Rycroft, New York

Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, New York

Sloan and Carli Schaffer, Los Angeles

Georgia and Christopher Erck, San Antonio

Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer, Asheville, North Carolina

Rosa and Aaron H. Esman, M.D., New York

Rebecca and Scott Tankersley, Dallas

The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia

Tim Walsh and Mike Healy, Santa Barbara, California

Nash and Marion Flores, Dallas

Lea Weingarten, Houston

Stewart Ginsberg , Chappaqua, New York

Elisabeth Ross Wingate, New York

Kevin Graham, Pharr, Texas

Martina Yamin, New York

David Alan Grier, Los Angeles

Zang Collection, London

Hales Gallery, London

Peter and Linda Zweig, Houston

James Cohan Gallery, New York Jones Wajahat Family, New York KAWS, New York Julie Kinzelman and Christopher Tribble, Houston Noel Kirnon, New York Jeanne and Michael L. Klein, Austin, Texas Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee Susan and Lewis Manilow, Chicago Lester Marks, Houston Metoyer Collection, Houston and Amsterdam Charles Dee Mitchell, Dallas The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

and other collectors who wish to remain private

S

ince the early 2000s, when Trenton Doyle Hancock exploded on the visual arts scene as a conspicuous young hotshot from Texas, I have known something of his complex narratives of Mounds and Vegans. I had no idea at the time that I would end up running a museum in Houston, where he is justifiably beloved as an artist who, while showing globally, chooses to remain based here. In many ways he is the quintessential Houston artist, finding in the city’s love of artistic eccentrics a way to fully inhabit a world of his own invention. A visit to his studio reminds us of an earlier ethos in which artists were supposed to be visionaries, rather than businessmen. This is perhaps one of the reasons why he has thrived here and I, for one, am thrilled that he has made Houston his home. Working with a hometown artist has its perks. It has been an absolute joy to see Trenton in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s galleries regularly, speaking with visitors and sharing his work with young and old. His passion is contagious and electric; his charm, undeniable. Through the vision of Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing— the artist’s first mid-career drawing survey—presents a visual and encyclopedic feast for visitors to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The earliest works in the exhibition were created by the hand of a very young Trenton, age ten. We see the evolution of this young man and his understanding of the world through the lens of his graphic stories and from the characters that populate his inner worlds. I would like to thank Valerie Cassel Oliver for bringing together an exhibition that chronicles the life and work of Trenton Doyle Hancock up to the present day. Skin and Bones is, in scope, a monster of a show. With so many wonderful things in Trenton’s archives to choose from, Valerie certainly had a creative mountain to climb and did an amazing job presenting an exhibition that captures the spirit and beauty of Trenton’s mind. The decision to focus on drawing came naturally, given that everything that flows from the artist’s fecund imagination begins on paper.

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by Brad and Leslie Bucher; Burning Bones Press; Sara Paschall Dodd; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Cullen Geiselman; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Lester Marks; Judy and Scott Nyquist; Lea Weingarten; Peter and Linda Zweig; and an anonymous donor. We are excited that this exhibition will travel to the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled to see Houston’s finest work shared with my city. Bill Arning Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, New York Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, California Jim and Paula Ohaus, Westfield, New Jersey Mary Alice and Christopher Paul, Dallas

6

7


Acknowledgments

A

s a curator, I have had the extraordinary fortune of working at an institution that has for over 65 years valued curiosity, critical rigor, and the laborious nature of writing history as it happens. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston has also invested heavily in the ideas and practices of living artists, oftentimes providing the public with its earliest glimpse of an artist’s visual articulation in the form of his or her first solo exhibition. This was the case with Trenton Doyle Hancock, whose work was featured in Perspectives 129: Trenton Doyle Hancock; The Life and Death of #1, organized by former senior curator Lynn M. Herbert and presented at the Museum in 2001. The current survey of his drawings comes more than a decade later and reinforces the Museum’s commitment not just to feature emerging talent, but to invest in an artist’s development and trajectory over the course of his or her career. I am grateful to the Museum, the Board of Trustees, and Director Bill Arning not only for their commitment to this artist, but also for the time and resources that allowed me to delve deep into his practice. This project has benefited greatly from the openness of the artist. I have characterized the endeavor as “our collaboration.” Trenton’s expansive view and immense talent have spawned a number of thoughtful deliberations, and the outcome of such a productive dialogue is evident in the overall look and feel of the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue. From start to finish, the project stands as a true testament to the trust and affection between us. Trenton allowed me unprecedented access to his home and studio to rummage through whole histories of his work, much of which is presented here for the first time. For this, and for his enduring friendship, I am truly grateful. My immersion in his drawing practice would not have been possible without the incredible community of people that surrounds the artist. I owe a debt of gratitude to Trenton’s partner, JooYoung Choi; studio assistant, Cody Ledvina; and the staff of James Cohan Gallery, especially Jane and James Cohan, Elyse Goldberg, Philip Tan, and Laurie Harrison, who was superb in assisting with locating and securing key loans for the exhibition. Paul Hedge at Hales Gallery, Trenton’s London representative, was also very enthusiastic and supportive of the show. Early on in the process, the artist’s former gallery, Talley Dunn Gallery, provided invaluable information regarding the artist’s early works on paper and potential lenders, and I want to thank Talley Dunn and Beth Taylor for their support. Because much of the work featured in this exhibition had not been exhibited or documented, I owe a great debt of gratitude to Paul Hester, who painstakingly photographed many of the drawings. The show also debuts a number of new projects,

8

including the artist’s first digital animation, a wallpaper piece, and a series of drawings for the comic book Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw. I am indebted to the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, which recently awarded Trenton the Greenfield Prize, enabling him to embark on an ambitious project to bring his drawings to life; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, for making possible the prototype of the artist’s most recent wallpaper; and Judy and Scott Nyquist, who underwrote the framing of the new series. This exhibition also coincides with the completion of Destination Mound Town, a public mural commissioned by Houston’s Hermann Park Conservancy for its centennial anniversary celebration. I am grateful to Doreen Stroller and Lea Weingarten for their thoughtful partnership in bringing the artist’s studies for Destination Mound Town and his wider practice to their audiences. Other individuals whose efforts were invaluable to this exhibition in ways large and small include art consultant Lisa Brown, and curators David Norr and Alison de Lima Greene. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my colleagues Janice Driesbach, chief curator, and Ellen Rudolph, former senior curator, Akron Art Museum, Ohio, as well as Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, and Lauren Hayes, assistant curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. These individuals advocated for and committed to the presentation of this exhibition in their respective institutions, cultivating a broader audience, for which I am eternally grateful. The publication marks the Museum’s ongoing collaboration with Don Quaintance at Public Address Design, whose openness to new ideas and attention to detail are extraordinary. I want to thank all the contributors, including Trenton Doyle Hancock, Brooke Davis Anderson, Gary Panter, and Stanley Whitney. I would also like to thank interns Patricia Restrepo and Hannah Quinn, who ably compiled the biography section of this book as well as carefully reviewed and verified the titles and dimensions for the over three hundred drawings. Editing a publication means directing the book’s overall vision as well as its “nuts and bolts,” but many of the details fell to Curatorial Associate Nancy O’Connor, who was remarkable in her ability to synthesize not only my vision for the catalogue, but also the organization of the book’s most intricate moving parts. This publication marks her last with the Museum and I cannot say enough about how invaluable she has proven to be not only on this project, but also to the department. For this publication, we also debut our collaboration with Betsy Stepina Zinn, who serves as the working editor for the catalogue. As with all editors, she lends her remarkable talents to ensuring clarity and consistency throughout the book. At the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, I am fortunate to work with a family of tremendously dedicated and talented

individuals. Without their help and support, an endeavor of this magnitude could never manifest itself. Curatorial Associate Nancy O’Connor was again instrumental in keeping all aspects of the project on track as well as negotiating the exhibition’s touring efforts. Registrar Tim Barkley managed various aspects of loan requests and coordinated complicated shipping arrangements. Preparator Jeff Shore also deserves special thanks for his dynamic exhibition design and installation talents. I am also appreciative of Director of Community Engagement Connie McAllister and her colleagues Daniel Atkinson and Max Fields, who not only garnered visibility for the project, but also contributed to the catalogue by facilitating the conversations between the artist and Gary Panter and Stanley Whitney . Connie’s team also created an in-depth digital platform that is utilized both within the exhibition and on the Museum’s website. Moreover, the diligence in securing press and creating thoughtful programming ensured an awareness of and framework for interpretations of the exhibition. I am tremendously grateful to Deputy Director Amber Winsor and her team for their enormous efforts in securing much needed funding for the project. I am indebted to a group of individuals and institutions who graciously provided additional financial support, including Brad and Leslie Bucher; Burning Bones Press; Sara Paschall Dodd; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Cullen Geiselman; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Lester Marks; Judy and Scott Nyquist; Lea Weingarten; Peter and Linda Zweig; and an anonymous donor. These contributors exceeded expectations, raising great enthusiasm and anticipation for the exhibition along the way. Finally, I want to thank the lenders to the exhibition, who are all listed in the front of the catalogue. Their generosity in sharing the work in their collections should always be considered a true testament to their belief in this artist. From an early age, Trenton has forged a path and a career based on his love for all things—cartoons, music, toys, and B movies. It is a love that has profoundly informed an already inventive and expansive mind. This exhibition presents the influences and experiences that have cultivated Trenton’s practice, divided into five distinct sections: Epidemic!, which tracks his early experiments as an illustrator and cartoonist; The Liminal Room, which features various doodles and other non sequiturs; From the Mirror, which documents the artist’s self-portraiture; It Came from Studio Floor, the seminal transitional body of work marking the artist’s leap from illustration to fine art; and finally, Moundish, which chronicles the epic narrative that he devised to explore good and evil. From the beginning of my search through Trenton’s studio and home, it was clear that he has a prolific and unfaltering talent. If audiences have never before understood his practice, this lens of unfiltered, uncensored works on paper is the perfect portal in which to immerse oneself. It is a delightful journey and one that I hope will keep you thinking for years to come.

T

hanks to all who made Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing a success. A special thanks to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Valerie Cassel Oliver for curating the show. Without Valerie’s expertise and discerning eye, the exhibition would not have been as lyrically focused. Her trust in my vision gave me confidence in the selection process, and her cool objectivity helped me understand my own practice in ways I never thought possible. I want to thank the people who have encouraged me to draw over the years: Carolyn Briley, Fannie Rollerson, Alma Twitty, David Johnson, Jean Samoza, Randi Haggard, Gail Hogue, Tom Neely, Cathie Tyler, Kristin Shauck, Johnnie Robertson, Barry Phillips the Younger, Lee Baxter Davis, Michael Miller, Tina Fletcher, Tom Seawell, Barbara Frey, Tom Clark, Chad Forsyth, Robyn O’Neil, Gary Panter, Christian Schumann, Stanley Whitney, Dona Nelson, Margo Margolis, Frank Bramblett, Monica Vidal, Iva Gueorguieva, William Villalongo, David Norr, Matthew Sontheimer, Garrett Davis, Kayla Escobedo, and Ralph Bakshi. My love and appreciation goes out to JooYoung Choi for inspiring me to animate my thoughts. Thanks to The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Burning Bones Press; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Hales Gallery, London; and many others who have provided their services, expertise, and institutional support. Thanks to Akron Art Museum, Ohio, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, for helping broadcast my vision. Thanks to the lenders and funders who have generously extended their artworks and financial support in order to make this project all that it could be and more. Thanks to Brooke Davis Anderson for her continued support and eloquent insights. And it is a pleasure to have worked with the talented Don Quaintance on another catalogue. I could not be happier with Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, and I am honored to be afforded this kind of reflection on my practice. Thank you all! Trenton Doyle Hancock

Valerie Cassel Oliver Senior Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

9


Acknowledgments

A

s a curator, I have had the extraordinary fortune of working at an institution that has for over 65 years valued curiosity, critical rigor, and the laborious nature of writing history as it happens. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston has also invested heavily in the ideas and practices of living artists, oftentimes providing the public with its earliest glimpse of an artist’s visual articulation in the form of his or her first solo exhibition. This was the case with Trenton Doyle Hancock, whose work was featured in Perspectives 129: Trenton Doyle Hancock; The Life and Death of #1, organized by former senior curator Lynn M. Herbert and presented at the Museum in 2001. The current survey of his drawings comes more than a decade later and reinforces the Museum’s commitment not just to feature emerging talent, but to invest in an artist’s development and trajectory over the course of his or her career. I am grateful to the Museum, the Board of Trustees, and Director Bill Arning not only for their commitment to this artist, but also for the time and resources that allowed me to delve deep into his practice. This project has benefited greatly from the openness of the artist. I have characterized the endeavor as “our collaboration.” Trenton’s expansive view and immense talent have spawned a number of thoughtful deliberations, and the outcome of such a productive dialogue is evident in the overall look and feel of the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue. From start to finish, the project stands as a true testament to the trust and affection between us. Trenton allowed me unprecedented access to his home and studio to rummage through whole histories of his work, much of which is presented here for the first time. For this, and for his enduring friendship, I am truly grateful. My immersion in his drawing practice would not have been possible without the incredible community of people that surrounds the artist. I owe a debt of gratitude to Trenton’s partner, JooYoung Choi; studio assistant, Cody Ledvina; and the staff of James Cohan Gallery, especially Jane and James Cohan, Elyse Goldberg, Philip Tan, and Laurie Harrison, who was superb in assisting with locating and securing key loans for the exhibition. Paul Hedge at Hales Gallery, Trenton’s London representative, was also very enthusiastic and supportive of the show. Early on in the process, the artist’s former gallery, Talley Dunn Gallery, provided invaluable information regarding the artist’s early works on paper and potential lenders, and I want to thank Talley Dunn and Beth Taylor for their support. Because much of the work featured in this exhibition had not been exhibited or documented, I owe a great debt of gratitude to Paul Hester, who painstakingly photographed many of the drawings. The show also debuts a number of new projects,

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including the artist’s first digital animation, a wallpaper piece, and a series of drawings for the comic book Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw. I am indebted to the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, which recently awarded Trenton the Greenfield Prize, enabling him to embark on an ambitious project to bring his drawings to life; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, for making possible the prototype of the artist’s most recent wallpaper; and Judy and Scott Nyquist, who underwrote the framing of the new series. This exhibition also coincides with the completion of Destination Mound Town, a public mural commissioned by Houston’s Hermann Park Conservancy for its centennial anniversary celebration. I am grateful to Doreen Stroller and Lea Weingarten for their thoughtful partnership in bringing the artist’s studies for Destination Mound Town and his wider practice to their audiences. Other individuals whose efforts were invaluable to this exhibition in ways large and small include art consultant Lisa Brown, and curators David Norr and Alison de Lima Greene. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my colleagues Janice Driesbach, chief curator, and Ellen Rudolph, former senior curator, Akron Art Museum, Ohio, as well as Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, and Lauren Hayes, assistant curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. These individuals advocated for and committed to the presentation of this exhibition in their respective institutions, cultivating a broader audience, for which I am eternally grateful. The publication marks the Museum’s ongoing collaboration with Don Quaintance at Public Address Design, whose openness to new ideas and attention to detail are extraordinary. I want to thank all the contributors, including Trenton Doyle Hancock, Brooke Davis Anderson, Gary Panter, and Stanley Whitney. I would also like to thank interns Patricia Restrepo and Hannah Quinn, who ably compiled the biography section of this book as well as carefully reviewed and verified the titles and dimensions for the over three hundred drawings. Editing a publication means directing the book’s overall vision as well as its “nuts and bolts,” but many of the details fell to Curatorial Associate Nancy O’Connor, who was remarkable in her ability to synthesize not only my vision for the catalogue, but also the organization of the book’s most intricate moving parts. This publication marks her last with the Museum and I cannot say enough about how invaluable she has proven to be not only on this project, but also to the department. For this publication, we also debut our collaboration with Betsy Stepina Zinn, who serves as the working editor for the catalogue. As with all editors, she lends her remarkable talents to ensuring clarity and consistency throughout the book. At the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, I am fortunate to work with a family of tremendously dedicated and talented

individuals. Without their help and support, an endeavor of this magnitude could never manifest itself. Curatorial Associate Nancy O’Connor was again instrumental in keeping all aspects of the project on track as well as negotiating the exhibition’s touring efforts. Registrar Tim Barkley managed various aspects of loan requests and coordinated complicated shipping arrangements. Preparator Jeff Shore also deserves special thanks for his dynamic exhibition design and installation talents. I am also appreciative of Director of Community Engagement Connie McAllister and her colleagues Daniel Atkinson and Max Fields, who not only garnered visibility for the project, but also contributed to the catalogue by facilitating the conversations between the artist and Gary Panter and Stanley Whitney . Connie’s team also created an in-depth digital platform that is utilized both within the exhibition and on the Museum’s website. Moreover, the diligence in securing press and creating thoughtful programming ensured an awareness of and framework for interpretations of the exhibition. I am tremendously grateful to Deputy Director Amber Winsor and her team for their enormous efforts in securing much needed funding for the project. I am indebted to a group of individuals and institutions who graciously provided additional financial support, including Brad and Leslie Bucher; Burning Bones Press; Sara Paschall Dodd; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Cullen Geiselman; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Lester Marks; Judy and Scott Nyquist; Lea Weingarten; Peter and Linda Zweig; and an anonymous donor. These contributors exceeded expectations, raising great enthusiasm and anticipation for the exhibition along the way. Finally, I want to thank the lenders to the exhibition, who are all listed in the front of the catalogue. Their generosity in sharing the work in their collections should always be considered a true testament to their belief in this artist. From an early age, Trenton has forged a path and a career based on his love for all things—cartoons, music, toys, and B movies. It is a love that has profoundly informed an already inventive and expansive mind. This exhibition presents the influences and experiences that have cultivated Trenton’s practice, divided into five distinct sections: Epidemic!, which tracks his early experiments as an illustrator and cartoonist; The Liminal Room, which features various doodles and other non sequiturs; From the Mirror, which documents the artist’s self-portraiture; It Came from Studio Floor, the seminal transitional body of work marking the artist’s leap from illustration to fine art; and finally, Moundish, which chronicles the epic narrative that he devised to explore good and evil. From the beginning of my search through Trenton’s studio and home, it was clear that he has a prolific and unfaltering talent. If audiences have never before understood his practice, this lens of unfiltered, uncensored works on paper is the perfect portal in which to immerse oneself. It is a delightful journey and one that I hope will keep you thinking for years to come.

T

hanks to all who made Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing a success. A special thanks to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Valerie Cassel Oliver for curating the show. Without Valerie’s expertise and discerning eye, the exhibition would not have been as lyrically focused. Her trust in my vision gave me confidence in the selection process, and her cool objectivity helped me understand my own practice in ways I never thought possible. I want to thank the people who have encouraged me to draw over the years: Carolyn Briley, Fannie Rollerson, Alma Twitty, David Johnson, Jean Samoza, Randi Haggard, Gail Hogue, Tom Neely, Cathie Tyler, Kristin Shauck, Johnnie Robertson, Barry Phillips the Younger, Lee Baxter Davis, Michael Miller, Tina Fletcher, Tom Seawell, Barbara Frey, Tom Clark, Chad Forsyth, Robyn O’Neil, Gary Panter, Christian Schumann, Stanley Whitney, Dona Nelson, Margo Margolis, Frank Bramblett, Monica Vidal, Iva Gueorguieva, William Villalongo, David Norr, Matthew Sontheimer, Garrett Davis, Kayla Escobedo, and Ralph Bakshi. My love and appreciation goes out to JooYoung Choi for inspiring me to animate my thoughts. Thanks to The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Burning Bones Press; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Hales Gallery, London; and many others who have provided their services, expertise, and institutional support. Thanks to Akron Art Museum, Ohio, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, for helping broadcast my vision. Thanks to the lenders and funders who have generously extended their artworks and financial support in order to make this project all that it could be and more. Thanks to Brooke Davis Anderson for her continued support and eloquent insights. And it is a pleasure to have worked with the talented Don Quaintance on another catalogue. I could not be happier with Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, and I am honored to be afforded this kind of reflection on my practice. Thank you all! Trenton Doyle Hancock

Valerie Cassel Oliver Senior Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

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The Hunger Within

I had no systematic way of learning but proceeded like a quilt maker, a patch of knowledge here a patch there but lovingly knitted. I would hungrily devour the intellectual scraps and leftovers of the learned.

VA L E R I E C A S S E L O L I V E R

—Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo 2

In the Beginning, Epidemic!

He had a hunger that was telling him to draw it 1 —Trenton Doyle Hancock

T

renton Doyle Hancock has always drawn. Some of his earliest childhood memories are of sitting at a table at his Aunt Fan Fan’s house with a pen and a scrap of paper. The artist credits his aunt for teaching him to draw. A bit shy as a child, Hancock found in drawing a way to express himself freely and fully. In those early and foundational years, he used the medium with great imagination, generating a host of visual narratives surrounding superheroes, alien- and land-based foes, and their fearsome confrontations. From those first images—some of which are featured in this exhibition and catalogue—it is apparent that even at a young age Hancock had a great talent for iconography and narrative. The act of drawing became more than just learned gesture for the artist; it assumed the position of mother tongue. And many of the characters that Hancock made in those early years (at the age of ten) would later resurface in his work as an adult. His continued engagement with the stylus—be it in graphite or ink—created not only an efficient use of mark and line, but also an extraordinary manual dexterity enhanced by his skills as a drummer at his grandfather’s church. It also ignited a hunger within the artist to speak through drawing. In the ensuing years, drawing as both gesture and language has evolved for the artist. Skin and Bones: Trenton Doyle Hancock, 20 Years of Drawing charts several trajectories in his work by framing its presentation in five mutable spheres.

10

Epidemic! follows the artist’s illustrative influence and directed work, such as the cartoon series he began while at Paris Junior College and later resumed at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University, Commerce), as well as his most recent drawings, Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw. It Came from Studio Floor includes significant works that mark a pivotal shift in Hancock’s practice of melding his interests in cartoons— sequential visual narration and wordplay—with installation art. Moundish traces the artist’s epic mythology of the Mounds that unfolds over a ten-year period between 1999 and 2009. The Liminal Room contains a body of visual non sequiturs that spans two decades. And finally, From the Mirror presents a series of self-portraits created over roughly the same period. While shifts in Hancock’s work have aligned with seminal moments in his personal life, his expansive use of media—ranging from dense landscapes to loose gestural portraits and from intricate collages and word paintings to monumental wall drawings, animation, and wallpaper—underscores the many influences that have affected his practice: comics and cartoons, video games, films, music, and toys, as well as a number of visual artists ranging from Rogier van der Weyden and Chaim Soutine to Philip Guston. With pinpoint precision, Hancock has extracted the essential qualities of these sources, both high and low, and coalesced them into an unmistakable signature language and iconography that resonate in the totality of his work.

Hancock’s formative studies at Paris Junior College were directed toward a career in illustration. His subsequent enrollment at East Texas State, however, would change that pursuit. Hancock often credits the artist and professor Lee Baxter Davis, among others, for ushering in this turning point in his conceptual framework. Under Davis, East Texas State was considered a flash point for artistic invention—integrating self-generated mythologies with drawing. Davis and his prestigious group of alumni, including Georganne Deen, Hancock, Greg Mertz, Robyn O’Neil, Gary Panter, and Christian Schumann, are best known under the moniker “Lizard Cult.” The group is distinct for its alchemy of rich symbolism delivered with a punk-like sensibility, their narratives teetering between material and immaterial worlds. Hancock’s matriculation at East Texas State was influential in developing his command over the medium of drawing, but like the members of Lizard Cult before him, it also gave him license to explore the notion of myth in his work. While mythology was not a new consideration for Hancock— he is from an expansive genealogy of evangelical Baptist ministers—the permissive exploration of a self-created myth as an artistic practice was all encompassing. The possibility of a visual equivalent to an inherited talent of rhetorical prowess and storytelling was an astounding discovery for the artist as he compartmentalized his artwork from his Christian rearing. Despite this constructed division, it was inevitable that it would seep into his burgeoning visual narratives, which for Hancock would prove more fruitful than imagined. Hancock’s time at East Texas State was further enhanced by the artist’s voracious appetite for learning. A self-described “nerd” from a rural town, Hancock was determined to reach beyond the imaginary limits of his upbringing. He immersed himself in reading and learning as much as he could about the contemporary art scene, and the professors whom he met at East Texas State—such as Davis, Michael Miller, and Tom Seawell—were also instrumental in guiding his education both in and outside of the classroom. During his years at the university, he had the opportunity to work with visiting artists such as Jürgen Partenheimer, a German abstract painter. Partenheimer’s facility with drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as his delicate dance between materiality and immateriality—what he referred to as metaphysical realism—greatly influenced Hancock. Moreover, a chance encounter with Gary Panter’s work in a mid-’90s issue of Raw magazine and then later with the artist himself in New York set Hancock on a course of art making that would bridge his interest in underground comics and his profound love of art and mythology, as well as his desire to rebel against the traditional definition of genres such as drawing, painting, and installation

Trenton Doyle Hancock, The Water, 1995

work. Hancock was poised to enter the conversation around imploding genres already at hand in the contemporary art world. Until that point, Hancock had been looking for a means to connect what for him had been his divergent practices of drawing, painting, printmaking, and commercial illustration. At Paris Junior College, Hancock began a weekly series of editorial cartoons that he continued at East Texas State under the name Epidemic! The cartoons demonstrate the artist’s engagement with the world around him—campus, municipal, state, and national politics as well as the social and cultural dynamics of the day. The title of the series is taken from a 1961 book by Frank G. Slaughter, a physician and novelist who also wrote under the pseudonym C. V. Terry. In his novels, Slaughter drew upon his experiences as a physician and advances in medical technology, as well as his keen love of literature, the Bible, and history. Hancock initially used the book as a reference for a school project, but it became an inspirational touchstone for the cartoon series. Epidemic! tackles a number of issues and highlights the blight and uncertainty of the United States in the ’90s. The subject matter

11


The Hunger Within

I had no systematic way of learning but proceeded like a quilt maker, a patch of knowledge here a patch there but lovingly knitted. I would hungrily devour the intellectual scraps and leftovers of the learned.

VA L E R I E C A S S E L O L I V E R

—Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo 2

In the Beginning, Epidemic!

He had a hunger that was telling him to draw it 1 —Trenton Doyle Hancock

T

renton Doyle Hancock has always drawn. Some of his earliest childhood memories are of sitting at a table at his Aunt Fan Fan’s house with a pen and a scrap of paper. The artist credits his aunt for teaching him to draw. A bit shy as a child, Hancock found in drawing a way to express himself freely and fully. In those early and foundational years, he used the medium with great imagination, generating a host of visual narratives surrounding superheroes, alien- and land-based foes, and their fearsome confrontations. From those first images—some of which are featured in this exhibition and catalogue—it is apparent that even at a young age Hancock had a great talent for iconography and narrative. The act of drawing became more than just learned gesture for the artist; it assumed the position of mother tongue. And many of the characters that Hancock made in those early years (at the age of ten) would later resurface in his work as an adult. His continued engagement with the stylus—be it in graphite or ink—created not only an efficient use of mark and line, but also an extraordinary manual dexterity enhanced by his skills as a drummer at his grandfather’s church. It also ignited a hunger within the artist to speak through drawing. In the ensuing years, drawing as both gesture and language has evolved for the artist. Skin and Bones: Trenton Doyle Hancock, 20 Years of Drawing charts several trajectories in his work by framing its presentation in five mutable spheres.

10

Epidemic! follows the artist’s illustrative influence and directed work, such as the cartoon series he began while at Paris Junior College and later resumed at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University, Commerce), as well as his most recent drawings, Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw. It Came from Studio Floor includes significant works that mark a pivotal shift in Hancock’s practice of melding his interests in cartoons— sequential visual narration and wordplay—with installation art. Moundish traces the artist’s epic mythology of the Mounds that unfolds over a ten-year period between 1999 and 2009. The Liminal Room contains a body of visual non sequiturs that spans two decades. And finally, From the Mirror presents a series of self-portraits created over roughly the same period. While shifts in Hancock’s work have aligned with seminal moments in his personal life, his expansive use of media—ranging from dense landscapes to loose gestural portraits and from intricate collages and word paintings to monumental wall drawings, animation, and wallpaper—underscores the many influences that have affected his practice: comics and cartoons, video games, films, music, and toys, as well as a number of visual artists ranging from Rogier van der Weyden and Chaim Soutine to Philip Guston. With pinpoint precision, Hancock has extracted the essential qualities of these sources, both high and low, and coalesced them into an unmistakable signature language and iconography that resonate in the totality of his work.

Hancock’s formative studies at Paris Junior College were directed toward a career in illustration. His subsequent enrollment at East Texas State, however, would change that pursuit. Hancock often credits the artist and professor Lee Baxter Davis, among others, for ushering in this turning point in his conceptual framework. Under Davis, East Texas State was considered a flash point for artistic invention—integrating self-generated mythologies with drawing. Davis and his prestigious group of alumni, including Georganne Deen, Hancock, Greg Mertz, Robyn O’Neil, Gary Panter, and Christian Schumann, are best known under the moniker “Lizard Cult.” The group is distinct for its alchemy of rich symbolism delivered with a punk-like sensibility, their narratives teetering between material and immaterial worlds. Hancock’s matriculation at East Texas State was influential in developing his command over the medium of drawing, but like the members of Lizard Cult before him, it also gave him license to explore the notion of myth in his work. While mythology was not a new consideration for Hancock— he is from an expansive genealogy of evangelical Baptist ministers—the permissive exploration of a self-created myth as an artistic practice was all encompassing. The possibility of a visual equivalent to an inherited talent of rhetorical prowess and storytelling was an astounding discovery for the artist as he compartmentalized his artwork from his Christian rearing. Despite this constructed division, it was inevitable that it would seep into his burgeoning visual narratives, which for Hancock would prove more fruitful than imagined. Hancock’s time at East Texas State was further enhanced by the artist’s voracious appetite for learning. A self-described “nerd” from a rural town, Hancock was determined to reach beyond the imaginary limits of his upbringing. He immersed himself in reading and learning as much as he could about the contemporary art scene, and the professors whom he met at East Texas State—such as Davis, Michael Miller, and Tom Seawell—were also instrumental in guiding his education both in and outside of the classroom. During his years at the university, he had the opportunity to work with visiting artists such as Jürgen Partenheimer, a German abstract painter. Partenheimer’s facility with drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as his delicate dance between materiality and immateriality—what he referred to as metaphysical realism—greatly influenced Hancock. Moreover, a chance encounter with Gary Panter’s work in a mid-’90s issue of Raw magazine and then later with the artist himself in New York set Hancock on a course of art making that would bridge his interest in underground comics and his profound love of art and mythology, as well as his desire to rebel against the traditional definition of genres such as drawing, painting, and installation

Trenton Doyle Hancock, The Water, 1995

work. Hancock was poised to enter the conversation around imploding genres already at hand in the contemporary art world. Until that point, Hancock had been looking for a means to connect what for him had been his divergent practices of drawing, painting, printmaking, and commercial illustration. At Paris Junior College, Hancock began a weekly series of editorial cartoons that he continued at East Texas State under the name Epidemic! The cartoons demonstrate the artist’s engagement with the world around him—campus, municipal, state, and national politics as well as the social and cultural dynamics of the day. The title of the series is taken from a 1961 book by Frank G. Slaughter, a physician and novelist who also wrote under the pseudonym C. V. Terry. In his novels, Slaughter drew upon his experiences as a physician and advances in medical technology, as well as his keen love of literature, the Bible, and history. Hancock initially used the book as a reference for a school project, but it became an inspirational touchstone for the cartoon series. Epidemic! tackles a number of issues and highlights the blight and uncertainty of the United States in the ’90s. The subject matter

11


hybrid plant-mammal creatures who live in the fields. Torpedoboy is their protector and his moral ambiguity and penchant for antagonizing the Vegans—whose sole purpose is to destroy and devour the Mounds’ flesh—sets interesting and divergent courses for the narrative. Indeed, Torpedoboy’s resurrection engenders Hancock’s complex tale, spawning a creative preoccupation that spanned the better part of ten years.

Trenton Doyle Hancock, It Came from Studio Floor series, 2002, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

of the series seldom overlaps with what Hancock was creating in the classroom. Instead, it takes on a number of high-profile issues of the time: the case of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer; the debate of science versus creationism; environmental issues; safe-sex campaigns; and the influence of pop culture on violence in society. In addition, Hancock localized issues in and around the university, particularly the “frat boy,” one of the few characters who recurs in subsequent editorial works. In his cartoons, Hancock was deft at integrating imagery, commentary, and the written word. The captions pay homage to his love of language and wordplay. His perspective on the politics of the day is often laced with absurdist humor. His characters skew toward the comedic and perverse— a little old lady serial killer, priests who refused compassion to those in need, animated body parts, and insects engaged in fine dining. Meticulously drawn in variously sparse or dense panels, Epidemic! decisively references the subcultures of punk music and underground cartoons such as those found in Raw magazine, but with a Garry Trudeau sensibility. The challenge of conveying so much complexity within a small frame was a great training ground for the artist’s dexterity in rendering volumes with the highest efficiency of marks and lines. Hancock continued his contributions to the university paper from 1994 to 1996. During this period, he also attempted to develop two graphic novels— The Switch (1996) and Casablanca Revised (1996)—and he also began experimenting with possible prototypes for his nascent mythology. The artist briefly used the image of the penguin as an alter ego in paintings such as I Hugged an Aquatic Icy Figure (1996), unaware that his earliest avatar was primed for reinvention. It would occur through his interest in collapsing his love of the editorial with creating art for the white cube.

12

Return of Torpedoboy Clever and perceptive as a child, Hancock archived many of his early drawings. In search of the epic mythology that Lee Baxter Davis championed, Hancock began digging deeper into his past, sifting through his childhood fantasy characters. In the process, he happened upon Torpedoboy. The artist was perhaps intrigued by the fantastical freedom he had as a child and his ability to create an articulated character that even then he understood to be a dimension of his own self. His early drawing Me Turning into Torpedoboy (1984) proves prescient, as do the myriad storylines generated around the character. From this foundation, Hancock constructed Torpedoboy—the morally ambiguous protector of the Mounds, but more on that later. Hancock’s It Came from Studio Floor series presents his adult rendition of Torpedoboy. Gone are his mask and cape. In this grown-up version, Torpedoboy is a black male who dons a tight-fitting top and tights along with the basic “tightie-whities.” There is no attempt to hide his identity. He is not out saving ordinary civilians from evil villains; rather, he is trolling the sewers for Vegans to antagonize. Happening upon the Vegans’ lair, Torpedoboy first confronts his “skin and bone” foes while they consume tofu. In a brazen act, Torpedoboy taunts them and then steals their “prized meal” before heading above ground. He later uses the stolen tofu to buy the services of the prostitute Trudi Flooso, whose name is one of the many anagrams of the phrase Studio Floor that Hancock thread throughout the narrative. The story unfolds in both framed images and text written directly on the walls. Unlike his editorial cartoons, this ten-panel tale packs a punch and unveils the ongoing battle in two of the mainstays of the artist’s rapidly unfolding myth surrounding the Mounds,

Journey into Moundland While in the undergraduate program at East Texas State, Hancock began experimenting with the epic narrative. In the late ’90s, prior to the reintroduction of Torpedoboy in his work, the artist began to construct a character that would stand at the heart of his story and also function as his alter ego. While in graduate school at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Hancock continued to shape what he would call the Mound—a half-human, half-plant entity that embodies the artist’s vulnerabilities, strivings, and desires. Hancock has written, “Mounds are called such because of their shape, which recalls hills, heaps, mountains, etc. Mounds are usually covered in black-and-white alternating fur bands that encircle their whole bodies . . . most often interrupted by blotches of pink skin showing through from underneath. Mounds may or may not have heads.” The fur-striped heaps, as described by the artist, are essential to his narrative and they embody the social and political complexities the day. Hancock once revealed that the black-and-white-striped markings on the Mounds symbolize uniforms worn by prison inmates.3 By all accounts in today’s society, Hancock, as a black male, was more likely to be imprisoned than to become a professional artist. The fact that the Mounds are objectified and sought after as well as rejected and reviled is not unlike the theories put forth by Gerald Early in his book Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation (1994). Standing at the epicenter of Hancock’s narrative, the Mounds give voice to the most unlikely and helpless members of society. From life in the rural landscape of East Texas fraught with racial tension to the urban blight of Philadelphia, Hancock has always been keenly aware of the “dangers” that his maturing body posed, increasing his susceptibility to violence at the hands of racist whites, other black men, or the police. In his narrative, the genesis of the Mounds is rooted in the benevolent act; however, their lives are filled with horrid struggles that beset a placid existence. Ever the wordsmith, Hancock used elisions—the omission of letters in words to create new ones—of the names of his grandparents, parents, and sibling as source material for naming his characters. In the artist’s mythology, Homerbuctas is the father of “an average prehistoric ape family”—including his wife, Almacroyn, and his two children, Brouthescam and Cromalyna—as depicted in the work Family Portrait: (Mound Half and Ape Half ) (2003). One day, while out searching for food, Homerbuctas is overwhelmed by the beauty of a field of flowers and begins masturbating. He returns again and again to the field. His compulsion of continuously succumbing to beauty and the crypto-chemical reaction between his semen and the flora gives rise to the Mounds,

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Stay Hidden or They Will Kill You, 2006

and their existence sets into motion an epic struggle that results in the destruction of his family. The conflict is a morality tale between good and evil, though at times characters walk a thin line between the two opposing forces. Brouthescam and Cromalyna are relegated to the underworld after slaughtering several hundred baby Mounds in a fit of jealousy; Almacroyn later attacks Homerbuctas and he kills her. The outcast children transform, procreate, and give birth to the Vegans, who become great enemies of the Mounds and the antagonists in the mythology. Vegans are loosely based on a couple with whom Hancock once lived while in graduate school. Their dogma about veganism and judgment about his eating habits—the artist is an unapologetic carnivore— provided Hancock with the attributes he would later graft onto his bony and relentless foes. The artist’s time in Moundland was his most prolific—and materially varied—to date. Over the course of ten years, each shift

13


hybrid plant-mammal creatures who live in the fields. Torpedoboy is their protector and his moral ambiguity and penchant for antagonizing the Vegans—whose sole purpose is to destroy and devour the Mounds’ flesh—sets interesting and divergent courses for the narrative. Indeed, Torpedoboy’s resurrection engenders Hancock’s complex tale, spawning a creative preoccupation that spanned the better part of ten years.

Trenton Doyle Hancock, It Came from Studio Floor series, 2002, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

of the series seldom overlaps with what Hancock was creating in the classroom. Instead, it takes on a number of high-profile issues of the time: the case of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer; the debate of science versus creationism; environmental issues; safe-sex campaigns; and the influence of pop culture on violence in society. In addition, Hancock localized issues in and around the university, particularly the “frat boy,” one of the few characters who recurs in subsequent editorial works. In his cartoons, Hancock was deft at integrating imagery, commentary, and the written word. The captions pay homage to his love of language and wordplay. His perspective on the politics of the day is often laced with absurdist humor. His characters skew toward the comedic and perverse— a little old lady serial killer, priests who refused compassion to those in need, animated body parts, and insects engaged in fine dining. Meticulously drawn in variously sparse or dense panels, Epidemic! decisively references the subcultures of punk music and underground cartoons such as those found in Raw magazine, but with a Garry Trudeau sensibility. The challenge of conveying so much complexity within a small frame was a great training ground for the artist’s dexterity in rendering volumes with the highest efficiency of marks and lines. Hancock continued his contributions to the university paper from 1994 to 1996. During this period, he also attempted to develop two graphic novels— The Switch (1996) and Casablanca Revised (1996)—and he also began experimenting with possible prototypes for his nascent mythology. The artist briefly used the image of the penguin as an alter ego in paintings such as I Hugged an Aquatic Icy Figure (1996), unaware that his earliest avatar was primed for reinvention. It would occur through his interest in collapsing his love of the editorial with creating art for the white cube.

12

Return of Torpedoboy Clever and perceptive as a child, Hancock archived many of his early drawings. In search of the epic mythology that Lee Baxter Davis championed, Hancock began digging deeper into his past, sifting through his childhood fantasy characters. In the process, he happened upon Torpedoboy. The artist was perhaps intrigued by the fantastical freedom he had as a child and his ability to create an articulated character that even then he understood to be a dimension of his own self. His early drawing Me Turning into Torpedoboy (1984) proves prescient, as do the myriad storylines generated around the character. From this foundation, Hancock constructed Torpedoboy—the morally ambiguous protector of the Mounds, but more on that later. Hancock’s It Came from Studio Floor series presents his adult rendition of Torpedoboy. Gone are his mask and cape. In this grown-up version, Torpedoboy is a black male who dons a tight-fitting top and tights along with the basic “tightie-whities.” There is no attempt to hide his identity. He is not out saving ordinary civilians from evil villains; rather, he is trolling the sewers for Vegans to antagonize. Happening upon the Vegans’ lair, Torpedoboy first confronts his “skin and bone” foes while they consume tofu. In a brazen act, Torpedoboy taunts them and then steals their “prized meal” before heading above ground. He later uses the stolen tofu to buy the services of the prostitute Trudi Flooso, whose name is one of the many anagrams of the phrase Studio Floor that Hancock thread throughout the narrative. The story unfolds in both framed images and text written directly on the walls. Unlike his editorial cartoons, this ten-panel tale packs a punch and unveils the ongoing battle in two of the mainstays of the artist’s rapidly unfolding myth surrounding the Mounds,

Journey into Moundland While in the undergraduate program at East Texas State, Hancock began experimenting with the epic narrative. In the late ’90s, prior to the reintroduction of Torpedoboy in his work, the artist began to construct a character that would stand at the heart of his story and also function as his alter ego. While in graduate school at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Hancock continued to shape what he would call the Mound—a half-human, half-plant entity that embodies the artist’s vulnerabilities, strivings, and desires. Hancock has written, “Mounds are called such because of their shape, which recalls hills, heaps, mountains, etc. Mounds are usually covered in black-and-white alternating fur bands that encircle their whole bodies . . . most often interrupted by blotches of pink skin showing through from underneath. Mounds may or may not have heads.” The fur-striped heaps, as described by the artist, are essential to his narrative and they embody the social and political complexities the day. Hancock once revealed that the black-and-white-striped markings on the Mounds symbolize uniforms worn by prison inmates.3 By all accounts in today’s society, Hancock, as a black male, was more likely to be imprisoned than to become a professional artist. The fact that the Mounds are objectified and sought after as well as rejected and reviled is not unlike the theories put forth by Gerald Early in his book Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation (1994). Standing at the epicenter of Hancock’s narrative, the Mounds give voice to the most unlikely and helpless members of society. From life in the rural landscape of East Texas fraught with racial tension to the urban blight of Philadelphia, Hancock has always been keenly aware of the “dangers” that his maturing body posed, increasing his susceptibility to violence at the hands of racist whites, other black men, or the police. In his narrative, the genesis of the Mounds is rooted in the benevolent act; however, their lives are filled with horrid struggles that beset a placid existence. Ever the wordsmith, Hancock used elisions—the omission of letters in words to create new ones—of the names of his grandparents, parents, and sibling as source material for naming his characters. In the artist’s mythology, Homerbuctas is the father of “an average prehistoric ape family”—including his wife, Almacroyn, and his two children, Brouthescam and Cromalyna—as depicted in the work Family Portrait: (Mound Half and Ape Half ) (2003). One day, while out searching for food, Homerbuctas is overwhelmed by the beauty of a field of flowers and begins masturbating. He returns again and again to the field. His compulsion of continuously succumbing to beauty and the crypto-chemical reaction between his semen and the flora gives rise to the Mounds,

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Stay Hidden or They Will Kill You, 2006

and their existence sets into motion an epic struggle that results in the destruction of his family. The conflict is a morality tale between good and evil, though at times characters walk a thin line between the two opposing forces. Brouthescam and Cromalyna are relegated to the underworld after slaughtering several hundred baby Mounds in a fit of jealousy; Almacroyn later attacks Homerbuctas and he kills her. The outcast children transform, procreate, and give birth to the Vegans, who become great enemies of the Mounds and the antagonists in the mythology. Vegans are loosely based on a couple with whom Hancock once lived while in graduate school. Their dogma about veganism and judgment about his eating habits—the artist is an unapologetic carnivore— provided Hancock with the attributes he would later graft onto his bony and relentless foes. The artist’s time in Moundland was his most prolific—and materially varied—to date. Over the course of ten years, each shift

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in his mythology enabled Hancock to challenge himself in the form and technique of the presentation. The sheer number of characters, and their specific attributes, allowed Hancock to explore myriad possibilities of merging drawing with other media, including painting, sculpture, and collage. He deftly moved from the loose gestural strokes of Salad (1999) and Judgment #2 (2000) to the finely detailed lines of Family Portrait: (Mound Half and Ape Half ) (2003) and Fresher Fields (2003). More curious are the series of delicately drawn and straightforward portraits, each entitled Soul (2000–1), which the artist created using the images of missing children found on postcards and milk cartons. These lost souls are the inhabitants of the Mounds, and their innocence and precarious departures confront some of the artist’s more weighted emotional frameworks for understanding the dynamics of what is valued in society. It is also during this period that Hancock “painted on canvas,” using ink pen to render words that dip, wind, and move across a stretched canvas with affixed collage. His iconic use of acrylic on canvas—as seen in the paintings Friends Indeed (2000), Bye and Bye (2002), We Love You (2003), and Join Us (2002)—is layered with collaged canvas and other materials from the artist’s studio. Hancock also produced a series of small word paintings on paper, such as Wow That’s Mean (2008), for which he created the illusion of collage using only ink. Hancock’s mythology reads like a ten-year sermon on creationism, the bastardization of life, and its eventual redemption. As the story progresses, the lines between good and evil, Mound and Vegan, increasingly intertwine. With the creation of Painter—a benevolent spirit who not only stays the hands of some Vegans against the Mounds, but also leads a select few to venerate them—the artist insists on a reconciliation of sorts. Hancock also introduced the radical Vegan Sesom, who has a vision in which Painter comes to him. Emerging from the apparition as St. Sesom, he becomes both missionary and high priest among a group of renegade Vegans. And it is only through the ritualistic imbibing of Moundmeat that the Vegan is made whole. Hancock’s most lyrical work features the Miracle Machines, a device the Vegans created to convert Moundmeat into color. Set in densely populated fantastical landscapes reminiscent of 15th-century Dutch and Italian Renaissance masters, the Miracle Machines are surrounded by obsessive marks and expressive figuration. By 2006, Hancock had introduced a host of new characters into his narrative: Ossilanterns, bony Vegan warriors; Color Babies, the innocent and manufactured offspring of Moundmeat put through a Miracle Machine; and the fleshedout Vegan disciples of St. Sesom. Beautifully drawn and occupying center stage, these characters are animated and immortalized among the living in the ballet Cult of Color: Call to Color, mounted in 2008 by Ballet Austin. Hancock designed the costumes, sets, and backdrops for the ballet, and the landscapes he created would later reoccur as stand-alone drawings. Indeed, from 2008 on, char-

14

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Lepracondriac, 1999

acters progressively recede into the background. Concealing themselves from the predatory Vegans, Color Babies are represented as domed heads and bright eyes peeking out from an increasingly dense alien landscape. With the ever-evolving mythology reaching its zenith, Hancock began to turn away from the narrative. As he had in the past, when he needed to cleanse his visual palate, Hancock returned to the diminutive element of the doodle or the non sequitur. Their emergence as a focal point in the artist’s practice was an opportunity to refresh, restore, and redirect his energy. These works and earlier drawings of the same ilk coalesce in a renewed emphasis on a category of works called The Liminal Room. The Liminal Room From early on in his practice, Hancock utilized the non sequitur as a means of reflexive visual thinking. The artist’s editorial cartoons from the ’90s demonstrate his deftness at exacting imagery and language. However, he also employed a looser method of visual brainstorming that occasionally yielded works rife with free association. Hancock created the disparate drawings in this

section over a period of 20 years, and they provide insight into his own internal chronology. The artist’s references to life, work, and study are all visible, as are his tongue-in-cheek nods to pop culture such as For Rockwell (2001), which is an ode to the 1984 hit song “Somebody’s Watching Me,” by Rockwell and featured guests Michael and Jermaine Jackson. Hancock is also a master at wordplay. Similar to cannibalizing imagery, he is equally adept at reordering consonants and vowels to construct new words and meanings. His detailed notes from his sixyear obsession (2006–12) with the online Yahoo! game SpellDown provided material for one of the newest work in the exhibition, an eponymous wallpaper created in 2014 in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Earlier examples of the artist’s preoccupation with words include Like Guston but Blacker and Worse (1997). Here Hancock’s visual meanderings feature word combinations such as “latter matter” or “Enemy Z, Enzyme, Zenemy.” The contexts for his earlier drawings are as random as the material on which they are created. And, the artist is unflappable in his ability to take scraps of paper from notebooks and sketchpads, pizza boxes, and other found objects in the service of his unconscious doodles-turned-art. However, the evocative title of the 1997 drawing reveals Hancock’s astute understanding of his own work in dialogue with Philip Guston’s. At the time, Hancock was concurrently working on the prototype for the character Loid—a white-hooded figure obviously referencing Guston’s paintings of Ku Klux Klansmen—who is always accompanied by the phrase you deserve less. Like Guston but Blacker and Worse contains a barrage of images, notes, and phone numbers that adds an ephemeral quality to the work, but it is slightly different in tone, perhaps due to Hancock’s casual, but knowing, reference to Guston. While it is a transitory thought, there is the sense that Guston will reappear, yet for the moment the connection is ephemeral— the very sheet is ripped as if its use was temporary. Hancock’s Lepracondriac (1999) carries an equally humorous bent; yet, rather than a complex layering of notes and images, the work comprises sparse, strategic lines that render a leprechaun-hypochondriac in the midst of extruding a rainbow pile of poop. Later works in this section center on Hancock’s childhood fascination with aliens and monsters. Multiple iterations of cave scapes include minute figuration in the form of upright stalagmites and jagged hills, bone protrusions arising from the earth, and otherworldly vegetation. The scenes depict a post-apocalyptic Mound world that the artist has singlehandedly destroyed. There are also studies for water and land monsters, as well as alien populations, who are the presumed inhabitants of the newly imagined realm. At any moment, these later works feel as if they can form a new mythology—breaking sharply with an earlier decade of free-form riffs toward compact expressions that can be interlocked and layered into discrete bodies of work. They also signal a level of expectation that the artist has of himself and a shift in his own utilization of free association as footprints for concise groups of work rather than the “one-offs” or non sequiturs of the past. This change in Hancock’s thinking and practice is also apparent in his series of self-portraits that underscore the seismic turns in his personal evolution.

From the Mirror While many self-portraits provide a clearly distinguished likeness of the sitter, Hancock’s alter egos favor a fluid presentation of self. His early self-portraits are almost devoid of anxiety and critical assessment. They are—like his editorial cartoons—humorous and probing but do not function out of a need for validation. Having lent his thoughts and emotional disposition toward the development of characters such as Torpedoboy and the Mounds, Hancock relinquished the traditional framing of self-portraiture as an accurate and true portrait of the self. His closest physical likeness is in the work Hancock Twins (1995), which he created as an undergraduate at East Texas State. The portrait depicts the young artist with another staff contributor to the school’s paper. In other early self-portraits, Hancock captured approximations of his physical and emotional states. They are nonetheless truthful and reflect his real-world experiences, such as being a high school substitute teacher or an employee at the local Pizza Inn after graduating from college. Hancock’s self-portraits also function as visual diaries, as in the multiplicative self-rendering Skowhegan Summer Sicko (1997). On the artist’s first visit to the famed summer residency program, he was confronted with an onslaught of the flu. A clockwise sequence of caricatures, the work immerses viewers in the myriad stages of sickness as Hancock succumbs to high fever, dysentery, and fits of chills that confine him to bed. Other works chronicle the artist’s acceptance into Tyler School of Art and the travails of his life in Philadelphia. In one work he is featured as his Mound alter ego walking determinedly along a solitary road toward an “Emerald City,” which, in this case represents the Ivory Tower of graduate school. Leaving Home (1998) conceptually embraces the unification of Hancock and his Mound alter ego. There is also a humorous, yet authentically rendered, self-portrait created in the style of fellow artist and friend Robyn O’Neil. Hancock challenged O’Neil to a duel in which they would each produce self-portraits in the style of the other. Hancock’s work—Plants Bear Witness to All the World’s Atrocities, Secrets That Die in Our Breath (2003)—reveals the deep bond and understanding between the two friends, as Hancock was able to render the self-portrait with such exactitude that it is almost indistinguishable from O’Neil’s oeuvre. Another series of portraits—drawn in simple, assured lines on white paper—reveals some of the artist’s passions, including playing the drums (Shedding; 2009) and people watching, as well as his reverence for the faith-based upbringing that instilled so much within him. It was not until 2010 that Hancock featured a more decidedly critical self-examination in his work. While many of Hancock’s self-portraits are cloaked in the various layers of his alter egos, the death of his father, in 2010, provided the catalyst for the artist to expose his most intimate and self-depreciating work to date. Distanced from earlier self-portraits in both tone and conceptualized figuration, this body of work is a seismic shift in Hancock’s often irreverent and comedic output. These portraits are dark, critical, and focused on the physical body. Here viewers bear witness to the artist’s struggle with his weight and self-image—something he has battled since childhood.

15


in his mythology enabled Hancock to challenge himself in the form and technique of the presentation. The sheer number of characters, and their specific attributes, allowed Hancock to explore myriad possibilities of merging drawing with other media, including painting, sculpture, and collage. He deftly moved from the loose gestural strokes of Salad (1999) and Judgment #2 (2000) to the finely detailed lines of Family Portrait: (Mound Half and Ape Half ) (2003) and Fresher Fields (2003). More curious are the series of delicately drawn and straightforward portraits, each entitled Soul (2000–1), which the artist created using the images of missing children found on postcards and milk cartons. These lost souls are the inhabitants of the Mounds, and their innocence and precarious departures confront some of the artist’s more weighted emotional frameworks for understanding the dynamics of what is valued in society. It is also during this period that Hancock “painted on canvas,” using ink pen to render words that dip, wind, and move across a stretched canvas with affixed collage. His iconic use of acrylic on canvas—as seen in the paintings Friends Indeed (2000), Bye and Bye (2002), We Love You (2003), and Join Us (2002)—is layered with collaged canvas and other materials from the artist’s studio. Hancock also produced a series of small word paintings on paper, such as Wow That’s Mean (2008), for which he created the illusion of collage using only ink. Hancock’s mythology reads like a ten-year sermon on creationism, the bastardization of life, and its eventual redemption. As the story progresses, the lines between good and evil, Mound and Vegan, increasingly intertwine. With the creation of Painter—a benevolent spirit who not only stays the hands of some Vegans against the Mounds, but also leads a select few to venerate them—the artist insists on a reconciliation of sorts. Hancock also introduced the radical Vegan Sesom, who has a vision in which Painter comes to him. Emerging from the apparition as St. Sesom, he becomes both missionary and high priest among a group of renegade Vegans. And it is only through the ritualistic imbibing of Moundmeat that the Vegan is made whole. Hancock’s most lyrical work features the Miracle Machines, a device the Vegans created to convert Moundmeat into color. Set in densely populated fantastical landscapes reminiscent of 15th-century Dutch and Italian Renaissance masters, the Miracle Machines are surrounded by obsessive marks and expressive figuration. By 2006, Hancock had introduced a host of new characters into his narrative: Ossilanterns, bony Vegan warriors; Color Babies, the innocent and manufactured offspring of Moundmeat put through a Miracle Machine; and the fleshedout Vegan disciples of St. Sesom. Beautifully drawn and occupying center stage, these characters are animated and immortalized among the living in the ballet Cult of Color: Call to Color, mounted in 2008 by Ballet Austin. Hancock designed the costumes, sets, and backdrops for the ballet, and the landscapes he created would later reoccur as stand-alone drawings. Indeed, from 2008 on, char-

14

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Lepracondriac, 1999

acters progressively recede into the background. Concealing themselves from the predatory Vegans, Color Babies are represented as domed heads and bright eyes peeking out from an increasingly dense alien landscape. With the ever-evolving mythology reaching its zenith, Hancock began to turn away from the narrative. As he had in the past, when he needed to cleanse his visual palate, Hancock returned to the diminutive element of the doodle or the non sequitur. Their emergence as a focal point in the artist’s practice was an opportunity to refresh, restore, and redirect his energy. These works and earlier drawings of the same ilk coalesce in a renewed emphasis on a category of works called The Liminal Room. The Liminal Room From early on in his practice, Hancock utilized the non sequitur as a means of reflexive visual thinking. The artist’s editorial cartoons from the ’90s demonstrate his deftness at exacting imagery and language. However, he also employed a looser method of visual brainstorming that occasionally yielded works rife with free association. Hancock created the disparate drawings in this

section over a period of 20 years, and they provide insight into his own internal chronology. The artist’s references to life, work, and study are all visible, as are his tongue-in-cheek nods to pop culture such as For Rockwell (2001), which is an ode to the 1984 hit song “Somebody’s Watching Me,” by Rockwell and featured guests Michael and Jermaine Jackson. Hancock is also a master at wordplay. Similar to cannibalizing imagery, he is equally adept at reordering consonants and vowels to construct new words and meanings. His detailed notes from his sixyear obsession (2006–12) with the online Yahoo! game SpellDown provided material for one of the newest work in the exhibition, an eponymous wallpaper created in 2014 in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Earlier examples of the artist’s preoccupation with words include Like Guston but Blacker and Worse (1997). Here Hancock’s visual meanderings feature word combinations such as “latter matter” or “Enemy Z, Enzyme, Zenemy.” The contexts for his earlier drawings are as random as the material on which they are created. And, the artist is unflappable in his ability to take scraps of paper from notebooks and sketchpads, pizza boxes, and other found objects in the service of his unconscious doodles-turned-art. However, the evocative title of the 1997 drawing reveals Hancock’s astute understanding of his own work in dialogue with Philip Guston’s. At the time, Hancock was concurrently working on the prototype for the character Loid—a white-hooded figure obviously referencing Guston’s paintings of Ku Klux Klansmen—who is always accompanied by the phrase you deserve less. Like Guston but Blacker and Worse contains a barrage of images, notes, and phone numbers that adds an ephemeral quality to the work, but it is slightly different in tone, perhaps due to Hancock’s casual, but knowing, reference to Guston. While it is a transitory thought, there is the sense that Guston will reappear, yet for the moment the connection is ephemeral— the very sheet is ripped as if its use was temporary. Hancock’s Lepracondriac (1999) carries an equally humorous bent; yet, rather than a complex layering of notes and images, the work comprises sparse, strategic lines that render a leprechaun-hypochondriac in the midst of extruding a rainbow pile of poop. Later works in this section center on Hancock’s childhood fascination with aliens and monsters. Multiple iterations of cave scapes include minute figuration in the form of upright stalagmites and jagged hills, bone protrusions arising from the earth, and otherworldly vegetation. The scenes depict a post-apocalyptic Mound world that the artist has singlehandedly destroyed. There are also studies for water and land monsters, as well as alien populations, who are the presumed inhabitants of the newly imagined realm. At any moment, these later works feel as if they can form a new mythology—breaking sharply with an earlier decade of free-form riffs toward compact expressions that can be interlocked and layered into discrete bodies of work. They also signal a level of expectation that the artist has of himself and a shift in his own utilization of free association as footprints for concise groups of work rather than the “one-offs” or non sequiturs of the past. This change in Hancock’s thinking and practice is also apparent in his series of self-portraits that underscore the seismic turns in his personal evolution.

From the Mirror While many self-portraits provide a clearly distinguished likeness of the sitter, Hancock’s alter egos favor a fluid presentation of self. His early self-portraits are almost devoid of anxiety and critical assessment. They are—like his editorial cartoons—humorous and probing but do not function out of a need for validation. Having lent his thoughts and emotional disposition toward the development of characters such as Torpedoboy and the Mounds, Hancock relinquished the traditional framing of self-portraiture as an accurate and true portrait of the self. His closest physical likeness is in the work Hancock Twins (1995), which he created as an undergraduate at East Texas State. The portrait depicts the young artist with another staff contributor to the school’s paper. In other early self-portraits, Hancock captured approximations of his physical and emotional states. They are nonetheless truthful and reflect his real-world experiences, such as being a high school substitute teacher or an employee at the local Pizza Inn after graduating from college. Hancock’s self-portraits also function as visual diaries, as in the multiplicative self-rendering Skowhegan Summer Sicko (1997). On the artist’s first visit to the famed summer residency program, he was confronted with an onslaught of the flu. A clockwise sequence of caricatures, the work immerses viewers in the myriad stages of sickness as Hancock succumbs to high fever, dysentery, and fits of chills that confine him to bed. Other works chronicle the artist’s acceptance into Tyler School of Art and the travails of his life in Philadelphia. In one work he is featured as his Mound alter ego walking determinedly along a solitary road toward an “Emerald City,” which, in this case represents the Ivory Tower of graduate school. Leaving Home (1998) conceptually embraces the unification of Hancock and his Mound alter ego. There is also a humorous, yet authentically rendered, self-portrait created in the style of fellow artist and friend Robyn O’Neil. Hancock challenged O’Neil to a duel in which they would each produce self-portraits in the style of the other. Hancock’s work—Plants Bear Witness to All the World’s Atrocities, Secrets That Die in Our Breath (2003)—reveals the deep bond and understanding between the two friends, as Hancock was able to render the self-portrait with such exactitude that it is almost indistinguishable from O’Neil’s oeuvre. Another series of portraits—drawn in simple, assured lines on white paper—reveals some of the artist’s passions, including playing the drums (Shedding; 2009) and people watching, as well as his reverence for the faith-based upbringing that instilled so much within him. It was not until 2010 that Hancock featured a more decidedly critical self-examination in his work. While many of Hancock’s self-portraits are cloaked in the various layers of his alter egos, the death of his father, in 2010, provided the catalyst for the artist to expose his most intimate and self-depreciating work to date. Distanced from earlier self-portraits in both tone and conceptualized figuration, this body of work is a seismic shift in Hancock’s often irreverent and comedic output. These portraits are dark, critical, and focused on the physical body. Here viewers bear witness to the artist’s struggle with his weight and self-image—something he has battled since childhood.

15


Trenton Doyle Hancock, Golf: The Desecration of the Gopher’s Home (Self-Portrait), 1994–95

Hancock also exposed his discomfort in being unable to reconcile his internal self with what the world sees, externally. Skin, and the act of shedding it, becomes a visual refrain in his later work. Confronting his father’s mortality, Hancock faced his own physical limitations by twisting, turning, and stretching the drawn body up to and beyond its limits. He dug deep emotionally, divulging the pain of loss and its effects of depletion upon his own strength. Works such as When They Found Me, I Wasn’t There (2011), Buff and Britches (2010), and Scrape 1 (2011) typify this period. While these drawings represent emotional dregs, they also became the catalyst for the one of the artist’s most ambitious projects to date: the animation Epidemic!: Morphing Head (Pencil Tests) (2013–14). For the project, Hancock laboriously created more than two hundred graphite drawings capturing subtle shifts in facial expression and action. The works on paper were used to produce a two-minutelong video, which the artist continued to extend over the run of the exhibition and its tour. With the end goal of ten minutes, Hancock reveals the arduous process of bringing his work to life. Drawn in black and while lines, the video harkens back to the early days of Walt Disney and the multitude of animation cels generated in the creation of screen magic. Hancock refuses the “magic of technology,” in lieu of the unvarnished process of his hand, which captures his unbridled willingness to shift, stretch, and contort in the service of expanding beyond the frame.

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Epidemic! Returns (or Never Left) In Hancock’s most recent drawing series Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw (2014), the artist revisited the cartoon imagery and format of his earliest Epidemic! works. Playing off the whitehooded figure Loid, Hancock again paid homage to the artist Philip Guston, who experienced the Ku Klux Klan as a Jewish youth in California and subsequently created painted caricatures of it. As a black youth in Paris, Texas, Hancock was keenly aware of the legacies and immediacy of race relations in his town. In 1893, history was made when the ex-slave Henry Smith was brutally beaten and lynched at the city’s fairgrounds in front of a crowd of ten thousand onlookers. In the new Step and Screw series Hancock confronts the present and historical legacies of Guston’s Klansmen head-on with stark physicality. The ghostly narrative chronicles overlapping real and imagined scenes that suggest Hancock’s own history is perhaps inextricably intertwined with Guston’s. Each of the 30 panels in the series features a narrative text that the artist laboriously excised into matte board and affixed atop a pen-and-ink drawing. The two visual modes—text and image—work in tandem to develop multiple storylines that take on new significance in proximity. Rendered in sharp, comic-book style, the images portray Torpedoboy’s lure into the Klansmen’s den. The title Step and Screw is a multilayered wordplay on the caricatured black persona Stepin Fetchit, who happily performs

menial tasks. So too, Torpedoboy is called upon to screw in a light bulb; however, the ruse places him in mortal danger. In a nightmarish twist, the most mundane task turns into a terrifying predicament as the dangling light bulb morphs into a lynching noose. Hancock’s installation mirrors the scene; viewers must enter a walled structure to observe the sequence of drawings. The space is illuminated by a single glaring light bulb. The accompanying texts blend historical events with the artist’s biography. Here patches of black paint peek through the cutout letters, only to be stifled by encroaching swaths of ghostly white gesso overpainting. The words hover like ever-present specters, compelling viewers to actively engage with the text and ostensibly its implications. The series also takes on the cyclical nature of racial violence in Paris—from the aforementioned 1893 lynching to the controversial killing of Brandon McClelland in 2008. Moreover, Hancock highlighted uncanny personal coincidences, such as the fact that his grandmother, Ida Wells, shares the name of anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells, or that his aunt, Fannie Mae Rollerson , shares a first name with Ida B. Wells’s aunt, Fannie Butler. Other seemingly disparate narratives come together, including the death of Henry Berliner, the inventor of the helicopter, on Hancock’s birthday. The artist’s fascination with flight gave rise to the alter ego Torpedoboy, who is now the fictional vessel for Berliner’s spirit. Each of these convergences variously increases the intensity of the narrative or tips the balance toward humor. The series thus functions as a cathartic release of personal and communal histories that underpin the artist’s practice, including characters such as Torpedoboy and Loid, who both precede and appear throughout the Mound mythology. Overall, Step and Screw stands at the crossroads of Hancock’s mastery over the medium—his ability to blend absurdist imagery with trenchant commentary to create a profoundly contemplative meditation on the strange fruit of intolerance. The works featured in Skin and Bones: Trenton Doyle Hancock, 20 Years of Drawing represent but a fraction of the artist’s output of drawings over the last two decades, forming the base for his larger oeuvre of painting and printmaking. His prolific and deeply profound drawings indicate not only the artist’s evolution in practice but also his ability to expose the personal and communal legacies that continue to hinder our development as a collective society. His use of pop culture in the fantastical imagery of Epidemic! and the Mounds enables viewers to see behind the proverbial curtain, making him one of the most relevant artists of his day. His approach to drawing—whether monumental, site-specific works or intimate, laborious markings—seeks to implode the tradition of drawing through the magic of mechanical dexterity and conceptual weight. We are fortunate to witness the visual impact of this artist’s work over the course of two decades and eagerly await his continued evolution along the trajectory of other artists who have brought an authentic and unabashed voice to the world.

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Man Don’t Work Don’t Eat, 2010

NOTES 1 The phrase is an excerpt from the artist’s sketchbook that was used in the Houston presentation of the exhibition Skin and Bones: Trenton Doyle Hancock, 20 Years of Drawing. 2. Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo, 1972 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday), 51. 3. Trenton Doyle Hancock, conversation with the author while he was a resident fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s CORE program, 2001.

17


Trenton Doyle Hancock, Golf: The Desecration of the Gopher’s Home (Self-Portrait), 1994–95

Hancock also exposed his discomfort in being unable to reconcile his internal self with what the world sees, externally. Skin, and the act of shedding it, becomes a visual refrain in his later work. Confronting his father’s mortality, Hancock faced his own physical limitations by twisting, turning, and stretching the drawn body up to and beyond its limits. He dug deep emotionally, divulging the pain of loss and its effects of depletion upon his own strength. Works such as When They Found Me, I Wasn’t There (2011), Buff and Britches (2010), and Scrape 1 (2011) typify this period. While these drawings represent emotional dregs, they also became the catalyst for the one of the artist’s most ambitious projects to date: the animation Epidemic!: Morphing Head (Pencil Tests) (2013–14). For the project, Hancock laboriously created more than two hundred graphite drawings capturing subtle shifts in facial expression and action. The works on paper were used to produce a two-minutelong video, which the artist continued to extend over the run of the exhibition and its tour. With the end goal of ten minutes, Hancock reveals the arduous process of bringing his work to life. Drawn in black and while lines, the video harkens back to the early days of Walt Disney and the multitude of animation cels generated in the creation of screen magic. Hancock refuses the “magic of technology,” in lieu of the unvarnished process of his hand, which captures his unbridled willingness to shift, stretch, and contort in the service of expanding beyond the frame.

16

Epidemic! Returns (or Never Left) In Hancock’s most recent drawing series Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw (2014), the artist revisited the cartoon imagery and format of his earliest Epidemic! works. Playing off the whitehooded figure Loid, Hancock again paid homage to the artist Philip Guston, who experienced the Ku Klux Klan as a Jewish youth in California and subsequently created painted caricatures of it. As a black youth in Paris, Texas, Hancock was keenly aware of the legacies and immediacy of race relations in his town. In 1893, history was made when the ex-slave Henry Smith was brutally beaten and lynched at the city’s fairgrounds in front of a crowd of ten thousand onlookers. In the new Step and Screw series Hancock confronts the present and historical legacies of Guston’s Klansmen head-on with stark physicality. The ghostly narrative chronicles overlapping real and imagined scenes that suggest Hancock’s own history is perhaps inextricably intertwined with Guston’s. Each of the 30 panels in the series features a narrative text that the artist laboriously excised into matte board and affixed atop a pen-and-ink drawing. The two visual modes—text and image—work in tandem to develop multiple storylines that take on new significance in proximity. Rendered in sharp, comic-book style, the images portray Torpedoboy’s lure into the Klansmen’s den. The title Step and Screw is a multilayered wordplay on the caricatured black persona Stepin Fetchit, who happily performs

menial tasks. So too, Torpedoboy is called upon to screw in a light bulb; however, the ruse places him in mortal danger. In a nightmarish twist, the most mundane task turns into a terrifying predicament as the dangling light bulb morphs into a lynching noose. Hancock’s installation mirrors the scene; viewers must enter a walled structure to observe the sequence of drawings. The space is illuminated by a single glaring light bulb. The accompanying texts blend historical events with the artist’s biography. Here patches of black paint peek through the cutout letters, only to be stifled by encroaching swaths of ghostly white gesso overpainting. The words hover like ever-present specters, compelling viewers to actively engage with the text and ostensibly its implications. The series also takes on the cyclical nature of racial violence in Paris—from the aforementioned 1893 lynching to the controversial killing of Brandon McClelland in 2008. Moreover, Hancock highlighted uncanny personal coincidences, such as the fact that his grandmother, Ida Wells, shares the name of anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells, or that his aunt, Fannie Mae Rollerson , shares a first name with Ida B. Wells’s aunt, Fannie Butler. Other seemingly disparate narratives come together, including the death of Henry Berliner, the inventor of the helicopter, on Hancock’s birthday. The artist’s fascination with flight gave rise to the alter ego Torpedoboy, who is now the fictional vessel for Berliner’s spirit. Each of these convergences variously increases the intensity of the narrative or tips the balance toward humor. The series thus functions as a cathartic release of personal and communal histories that underpin the artist’s practice, including characters such as Torpedoboy and Loid, who both precede and appear throughout the Mound mythology. Overall, Step and Screw stands at the crossroads of Hancock’s mastery over the medium—his ability to blend absurdist imagery with trenchant commentary to create a profoundly contemplative meditation on the strange fruit of intolerance. The works featured in Skin and Bones: Trenton Doyle Hancock, 20 Years of Drawing represent but a fraction of the artist’s output of drawings over the last two decades, forming the base for his larger oeuvre of painting and printmaking. His prolific and deeply profound drawings indicate not only the artist’s evolution in practice but also his ability to expose the personal and communal legacies that continue to hinder our development as a collective society. His use of pop culture in the fantastical imagery of Epidemic! and the Mounds enables viewers to see behind the proverbial curtain, making him one of the most relevant artists of his day. His approach to drawing—whether monumental, site-specific works or intimate, laborious markings—seeks to implode the tradition of drawing through the magic of mechanical dexterity and conceptual weight. We are fortunate to witness the visual impact of this artist’s work over the course of two decades and eagerly await his continued evolution along the trajectory of other artists who have brought an authentic and unabashed voice to the world.

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Man Don’t Work Don’t Eat, 2010

NOTES 1 The phrase is an excerpt from the artist’s sketchbook that was used in the Houston presentation of the exhibition Skin and Bones: Trenton Doyle Hancock, 20 Years of Drawing. 2. Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo, 1972 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday), 51. 3. Trenton Doyle Hancock, conversation with the author while he was a resident fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s CORE program, 2001.

17


Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Gary Panter Moderated by

TDH It was about the idea of deconstructing something that seemed solid. Maybe it started from looking at Lee’s work and then what I saw in Gary’s art took it a step farther. Lee would snap back to this classical grounding, whereas Gary had mastered the idea that something can be both falling apart and building up at the same time. I wondered how he got that strange gravity in the architecture of those drawings. Things seemed to float in space and coalesce in a way that made me think, “I can tell what’s happening right there, I can tell what that is, but it also seems like it’s falling apart.” It had a certain kind of deconstruction that was akin to art of the insane or children’s art, but it was something different. It was more associated with Cubism, but maybe Cubism mixed with a bad science experiment.

DA N I E L AT K I N S O N with VA L E R I E C A S S E L O L I V E R

DA What do you think of all that, Gary?

Daniel Atkinson (DA) A lot of great artists came out of the program at East Texas State University [now Texas A&M University, Commerce]. Why do you think that happened? What influence do you feel Lee Baxter Davis had on that outcome? Gary Panter (GP) I grew up in Sulphur Springs, Texas, about 12 miles away from Commerce. My parents would have sent me to a Christian college in the Ozarks, but they didn’t have enough money. I don’t know how they got the money for me to go to East Texas State, but I went there, saw Lee’s work, and thought, “I’m in the right place.” I used to sneak over before I was a student there because I was an art fiend, but once I finally met Lee, it just felt right. Trenton Doyle Hancock (TDH) I had a similar experience growing up in Paris, Texas, about 45 minutes away. I didn’t get to sneak over to East Texas State before I enrolled. My mother suggested I go to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. They showed me around there and I thought, “Well, thank you for showing me where I’m not going to go. I know I’m not going to do this.” I ended up at East Texas State by default because most of my family went there, and I really had no aspirations to leave and go to any other school. When I arrived and saw Lee’s work, I also thought, “I’m in the right place”—I had the exact same thoughts. I’m sure I said it out loud in the hallway when I saw the work on the wall. Several years into my schooling, a friend of mine who was a grad student in the literature program—actually, he was my roommate—gave me an issue of Raw magazine because he thought I’d like it. I’d never heard of Raw, and as I thumbed through it, your work was sort of tucked in the middle of the issue—it was one of the small-format issues from the ’90s. I fell in love with your work, and when I showed it to Lee, he said, “Oh, that’s Gary. He went to school here.” I replied, “Are you kidding me? This is astronomical that I would end up here,” and Lee literally opened a drawer right in front of me and pulled out the exact same prints from the magazine to show me. I was astonished.

18

GP So that was early on? TDH I think it was ’96. GP A year or two before I got to East Texas State in the early ’70s, Charles McGough, the new head of the art department, had just hired all these terrific teachers. Bruce Tibbetts was my painting teacher and he was perfect for me. He had been to Rhode Island School of Design, and he gave me a fantastically weird mix of sources: John Cage’s book Silence, Frank Zappa’s album Lumpy Gravy, Stravinsky, and other things that were very influential to me. TDH Right, I think the legacy of hiring strange and really talented people continued because the band of teachers I worked with was equally amazing. I had Michael Miller, who brought in this real world New York idea of painting. He basically told us that you had to be as articulate about your craft as a doctor or a lawyer—he urged us to stay in the library, be inquisitive, go see shows, go make the effort to make art. So I credit him for that. Then there was Tom Seawell, who taught silk screening, one of my first classes when I got there. I was doing these drawings of myself in kind of a Klan hood, trying to get at some of the darker things about East Texas, and he asked me if I had heard of Philip Guston. I hadn’t, so he let me borrow a book on him and I just soaked it up right there. In fact I forgot to give it back to him, and just recently he asked me if I still had it. So, 20 years later, I had to give it back. DA You’ve both talked about the aha moment you had when you saw Lee’s work. What specifically grabbed your attention about it? TDH Lee’s work felt important, and it seemed to incorporate all these things I was interested in and dealing with at the time. I’d been grappling with my religion and I could feel that in his work too, but it never lost its sense of whimsy. His work also makes you

Lee Baxter Davis (born 1939), Contemplating the Departure, 1994. Graphite on paper, 19 1/2 x 20 inches. Collection the artist

think that what you’re seeing is an illusion, as if there’s something behind the image and you’re looking at symbols. He’s a master at organizing symbols. It feels like you’re looking at tarot cards when you look at his work. It feels thousands of years old, the language that he’s speaking. I can’t say that about all artists; in fact I can narrow it down to maybe just a few living artists. I wanted to get there; I wanted to figure out how to make art like that. I thought, “I’ll devote the rest of my schooling to trying to figure this out and I’m happy to be here and study under this guy.” GP Well, I was already interested in dinosaurs, monsters, science fiction, Pop Art, Surrealism, Dada, all that stuff. I would never get tired of looking at a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher—I always went searching for them and terrapins and horny toads. Variations on all these creatures are in Lee’s work. He’s taken the things that everyone is ignoring, shooting, burning, and trying to get rid of, and it’s this magical realm of flounders in parachutes and cicadas and other beings. Everything is in the work. DA I’m going to bump ahead a little bit. Trenton, you talked about seeing Gary’s work in Raw and the impact it had on you. Can you flesh that out a little bit more and talk about the influence that you drew from seeing that work?

GP Well, being an art nerd from a young age and also coming into painting at a time when it was declared dead, my take on it was that the 20th century was a research lab of what you could do with art. So you had all these options, but by 1970 many of them had been exhausted. Naturally everybody gravitated toward hybridization. I was coming from Jean Dubuffet and Cobra. Then the Chicago Imagists really had a big influence on me. In Brownsville, Texas, a formative place for me, you’d see a lot of bad print jobs—printed off-register Mexican wrestling posters and stuff like that. I was always attracted to them. And in the early cartoon drawings of Fred Harman and the Bigfoot guys, where the marks are super organized even if the drawing is cartoony or silly, the shadow on the ground behind them looks like Abstract Expressionism. It’s Cy Twombly. Then gradually, you get to meet people like Peter Saul. I wanted to be a part of that conversation. I had graduated from East Texas State with a painting degree and then I started trying to do illustration. I even took illustration classes with Jack Unruh, a famous Texas illustrator. I drove all over Texas trying to get work and no one would hire me, so I went to Los Angeles. I went to record shops to find out what was happening and I started seeing flyers for bands. They were these crappy, crummy photocopies. Here I was, a commercial artist, trying to figure out how to participate in the scene. I began working as an illustrator for bands, creating these weird posters and album covers. Weird because so much of my work came out of Rauschenberg’s drawings and ’50s formalism, but I was melding it with pop and punk. I quickly discovered that you can become a famous cartoonist and illustrator a lot faster than a painter, and I was just trying to survive. I loved making cover art for Frank Zappa. And later, designing sets for The Pee-wee Herman Show. But it felt like there was a real tension between that and my painting practice.

19


Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Gary Panter Moderated by

TDH It was about the idea of deconstructing something that seemed solid. Maybe it started from looking at Lee’s work and then what I saw in Gary’s art took it a step farther. Lee would snap back to this classical grounding, whereas Gary had mastered the idea that something can be both falling apart and building up at the same time. I wondered how he got that strange gravity in the architecture of those drawings. Things seemed to float in space and coalesce in a way that made me think, “I can tell what’s happening right there, I can tell what that is, but it also seems like it’s falling apart.” It had a certain kind of deconstruction that was akin to art of the insane or children’s art, but it was something different. It was more associated with Cubism, but maybe Cubism mixed with a bad science experiment.

DA N I E L AT K I N S O N with VA L E R I E C A S S E L O L I V E R

DA What do you think of all that, Gary?

Daniel Atkinson (DA) A lot of great artists came out of the program at East Texas State University [now Texas A&M University, Commerce]. Why do you think that happened? What influence do you feel Lee Baxter Davis had on that outcome? Gary Panter (GP) I grew up in Sulphur Springs, Texas, about 12 miles away from Commerce. My parents would have sent me to a Christian college in the Ozarks, but they didn’t have enough money. I don’t know how they got the money for me to go to East Texas State, but I went there, saw Lee’s work, and thought, “I’m in the right place.” I used to sneak over before I was a student there because I was an art fiend, but once I finally met Lee, it just felt right. Trenton Doyle Hancock (TDH) I had a similar experience growing up in Paris, Texas, about 45 minutes away. I didn’t get to sneak over to East Texas State before I enrolled. My mother suggested I go to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. They showed me around there and I thought, “Well, thank you for showing me where I’m not going to go. I know I’m not going to do this.” I ended up at East Texas State by default because most of my family went there, and I really had no aspirations to leave and go to any other school. When I arrived and saw Lee’s work, I also thought, “I’m in the right place”—I had the exact same thoughts. I’m sure I said it out loud in the hallway when I saw the work on the wall. Several years into my schooling, a friend of mine who was a grad student in the literature program—actually, he was my roommate—gave me an issue of Raw magazine because he thought I’d like it. I’d never heard of Raw, and as I thumbed through it, your work was sort of tucked in the middle of the issue—it was one of the small-format issues from the ’90s. I fell in love with your work, and when I showed it to Lee, he said, “Oh, that’s Gary. He went to school here.” I replied, “Are you kidding me? This is astronomical that I would end up here,” and Lee literally opened a drawer right in front of me and pulled out the exact same prints from the magazine to show me. I was astonished.

18

GP So that was early on? TDH I think it was ’96. GP A year or two before I got to East Texas State in the early ’70s, Charles McGough, the new head of the art department, had just hired all these terrific teachers. Bruce Tibbetts was my painting teacher and he was perfect for me. He had been to Rhode Island School of Design, and he gave me a fantastically weird mix of sources: John Cage’s book Silence, Frank Zappa’s album Lumpy Gravy, Stravinsky, and other things that were very influential to me. TDH Right, I think the legacy of hiring strange and really talented people continued because the band of teachers I worked with was equally amazing. I had Michael Miller, who brought in this real world New York idea of painting. He basically told us that you had to be as articulate about your craft as a doctor or a lawyer—he urged us to stay in the library, be inquisitive, go see shows, go make the effort to make art. So I credit him for that. Then there was Tom Seawell, who taught silk screening, one of my first classes when I got there. I was doing these drawings of myself in kind of a Klan hood, trying to get at some of the darker things about East Texas, and he asked me if I had heard of Philip Guston. I hadn’t, so he let me borrow a book on him and I just soaked it up right there. In fact I forgot to give it back to him, and just recently he asked me if I still had it. So, 20 years later, I had to give it back. DA You’ve both talked about the aha moment you had when you saw Lee’s work. What specifically grabbed your attention about it? TDH Lee’s work felt important, and it seemed to incorporate all these things I was interested in and dealing with at the time. I’d been grappling with my religion and I could feel that in his work too, but it never lost its sense of whimsy. His work also makes you

Lee Baxter Davis (born 1939), Contemplating the Departure, 1994. Graphite on paper, 19 1/2 x 20 inches. Collection the artist

think that what you’re seeing is an illusion, as if there’s something behind the image and you’re looking at symbols. He’s a master at organizing symbols. It feels like you’re looking at tarot cards when you look at his work. It feels thousands of years old, the language that he’s speaking. I can’t say that about all artists; in fact I can narrow it down to maybe just a few living artists. I wanted to get there; I wanted to figure out how to make art like that. I thought, “I’ll devote the rest of my schooling to trying to figure this out and I’m happy to be here and study under this guy.” GP Well, I was already interested in dinosaurs, monsters, science fiction, Pop Art, Surrealism, Dada, all that stuff. I would never get tired of looking at a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher—I always went searching for them and terrapins and horny toads. Variations on all these creatures are in Lee’s work. He’s taken the things that everyone is ignoring, shooting, burning, and trying to get rid of, and it’s this magical realm of flounders in parachutes and cicadas and other beings. Everything is in the work. DA I’m going to bump ahead a little bit. Trenton, you talked about seeing Gary’s work in Raw and the impact it had on you. Can you flesh that out a little bit more and talk about the influence that you drew from seeing that work?

GP Well, being an art nerd from a young age and also coming into painting at a time when it was declared dead, my take on it was that the 20th century was a research lab of what you could do with art. So you had all these options, but by 1970 many of them had been exhausted. Naturally everybody gravitated toward hybridization. I was coming from Jean Dubuffet and Cobra. Then the Chicago Imagists really had a big influence on me. In Brownsville, Texas, a formative place for me, you’d see a lot of bad print jobs—printed off-register Mexican wrestling posters and stuff like that. I was always attracted to them. And in the early cartoon drawings of Fred Harman and the Bigfoot guys, where the marks are super organized even if the drawing is cartoony or silly, the shadow on the ground behind them looks like Abstract Expressionism. It’s Cy Twombly. Then gradually, you get to meet people like Peter Saul. I wanted to be a part of that conversation. I had graduated from East Texas State with a painting degree and then I started trying to do illustration. I even took illustration classes with Jack Unruh, a famous Texas illustrator. I drove all over Texas trying to get work and no one would hire me, so I went to Los Angeles. I went to record shops to find out what was happening and I started seeing flyers for bands. They were these crappy, crummy photocopies. Here I was, a commercial artist, trying to figure out how to participate in the scene. I began working as an illustrator for bands, creating these weird posters and album covers. Weird because so much of my work came out of Rauschenberg’s drawings and ’50s formalism, but I was melding it with pop and punk. I quickly discovered that you can become a famous cartoonist and illustrator a lot faster than a painter, and I was just trying to survive. I loved making cover art for Frank Zappa. And later, designing sets for The Pee-wee Herman Show. But it felt like there was a real tension between that and my painting practice.

19


TDH I think that concept became clear to me when East Texas State brought in Jürgen Partenheimer, a German artist and printmaker who had studied directly under Joseph Beuys. My main advisor, Michael Miller, had studied under Jürgen and invited him over. He stayed with Michael and some of us got to hang out with him. I remember he told us that he was currently talking with his students about the idea that art really didn’t exist—that something from nothing in terms of art making just can’t really happen. Art’s always connected to history; you can’t separate it. The tip of the iceberg is connected to its deeply submerged historical base. But in the 20th century, someone—people like to claim it was Greenberg—said, “No! All of these ideas can come from nowhere and be separated from history.”

TDH Yeah, the painting thing, I didn’t realize it was a way to make a living. But I knew the comic book, the cartoon, the editorial seemed to have a bit more traction because the masses understood it. I knew that my folks understood what a comic book was, so I did it. Somewhere along the way, my work really cross-pollinated and the paintings became more like the comics. I knew I wanted to create this new way of seeing graphic information at the same time as exploring all these existential ideas and trying to grapple with or answer questions I had about life and moving through space. That’s when I just went out on a limb, and luckily the Dallas art community met me halfway and gave me space to play. Even before that, I always believed in cosmic occurrences. My summer roommate at Skowhegan had a place in Brooklyn. One weekend he asked if I wanted to go to New York with him. It was my first time there and I was so naive. I was a country boy walking around the city.

GP I think that separation was created in order to promote the idea of the artist as demigod, to support the market prices. It’s a myth that goes along with the phrase, “The market’s always right.” Of course, that’s not the case. Your point reminded me of the fact that Lee always talks about being reflexive; it’s one of those words I hear from him all the time. It’s the recognition of and meditation on what came before.

GP What year was it? TDH It was ’97—you had just been in Ray Gun magazine and I was clutching it. I slept with it under my pillow, and it was crazy, it was all crumpled. I brought it with me to New York, and I was staying at my friend’s apartment in Williamsburg, which at the time was so raw. There weren’t many hipsters on the street—it was a ghost town. He was looking at the magazine and asked me if I was into you. Then he said that you lived right upstairs, or that your studio was in the building, two floors up.

DA Speaking of evolution, can you talk about when you first started working on comics? What did the world of comics look like then versus now? It’s so drastically different, with Comic-Con and the explosion of the scene. Gary Panter (born 1950), page from Idolman comic strip, in TOB: East Texas State University Lizard Cult anthology, 1972. Courtesy the artist

TDH That’s how I initially responded to your work. My entry point was through your commercial stuff, but I wanted to learn everything. I wanted to see what you had made while you were at East Texas State—and you were wearing parts of paintings as costumes! That really opened up a lot for me because it showed me how to think about a type of art making that brings in all these sources and kind of spits in the face of the declaration that painting is dead. In Africa, or for the Native Americans, there is no word for art: there are just things that exist, there are rituals, and that is life. And it’s just like the props that you have around you that are life. I was onto something. GP And it was a moment where the walls between media were coming down. In the last twenty or so years, I’ve noticed my students make no distinction between their cartoons, their art, and their fashion—it’s all the same thing, and that’s an evolution of some sort. TDH Do you think that those walls will always be there for you? GP I don’t know. If you read interviews with Guston or Giacometti, they all say, “I’m looking for an opening; I’m looking for a way forward.” You hear that over and over with painters, and I do think that’s what we’re doing. I sometimes believe that, in the 20th century, each art movement could be analogous to inventing a note on the piano: Cubism, bing; Surrealism, bing. But now the piano is built, so what will you play on it? It may come off as only utilitarian, but, for me, hybridization is a way forward.

20

GP My dad ran a dime store in Brownsville, Texas, so he would bring home the comics with the covers ripped off—that was my first exposure to them. I drew a few comics, but when I got to East Texas State, there was Zap Comix and Hippy Comix. Things had really opened up for comics, and so had painting theory; anything at that point could be considered painting. That’s why I started trying to draw comics. R. Crumb had synthesized the whole of 20th-century comics into this old-fashioned-looking new thing, and it was powerful. It was as if he soaked up the entire century and distilled it into a drop of LSD. I went to Yale summer school in ’71 and was trying to draw comics there and make paintings, but they were all failing. I realized that my comic production had to be separate from my painting. I didn’t like painting my characters; they didn’t scale up for me. So that was what happened. And now I’ve got a stack of comics over there and my paintings over here, and they’re related tangentially. TDH For me, the entry point into comics was when I was a little boy. Like most young boys, I loved looking at superheroes and comics and this pulpy stuff. Some kids grow out of it, but I never did. So the comic thing was happening and video games were getting really big. I kept thinking about the idea of paracosmic worlds and tunneling farther into myself. I got really good at creating characters, and after a few years I began to wonder how they were related. Even without knowing what I was doing, I was setting up a comic book structure. It wasn’t my first aspiration to be a comic book artist, but I think I sort of fell back into it because of the format.

Trenton Doyle Hancock at work , East Texas State University Art Department, Commerce, 1997

GP Was it Dan? TDH Dan Cop. GP So that’s how you came over?

GP It demands that you tell a story in a certain way. Inventing characters is one thing and, like you said, how they interact is the life of it. TDH Right. And it keeps unfolding in a serial way. By the end of high school, I knew I wasn’t computer savvy enough to do it through video games, but I could do it through comic books, in a superhero way. It wasn’t so much about R. Crumb because I hadn’t really truly discovered the underground work just yet. I was still thinking in terms of Spiderman and Superman, but then I got to college. At Paris Junior College, I was hit in the face with art history and all the options out there. I kind of put the comic book stuff on the back burner and just allowed myself to focus on studying and learning the history of things. Eventually, over the course of the two years I was there, I began to wonder how I could get that back into the format of the comic. I started working for the school newspaper, first at Paris and then at East Texas State, drawing comics, being an illustrator, and thinking practically at the same time. I wanted to develop my own characters in my time there, so that I could have my own version of “Garfield” or “The Far Side.” So I could move forward in space. GP So you were really thinking of being a cartoonist as much as a painter at that moment?

TDH I was ushered in with Dan. GP I couldn’t figure you out at all. I was excited that you’d been to East Texas State and I remember your approach being very broad. You were talking about comics, but when I saw your work, I thought, “Wow, it’s not singular; it’s very wide.” TDH That’s funny because I was just hoping I wouldn’t say something that would get me kicked out of your studio. GP No, I was interested. TDH You mentioned Lee and I thought it was totally surreal— another one of those moments when an invisible hand seemed to guide me to this place. GP I believe that too. I believe there’s some sort of connection, that we’re not totally isolated. It’s good when things like that happen—when you stumbled into my studio. Valerie Cassel Oliver (VCO) Both of you come from a very strong Christian background. The Bible has really informed your work and taken you to different places that have somehow come full circle. Can we talk about that, since it’s one of the many connective tissues between you?

21


TDH I think that concept became clear to me when East Texas State brought in Jürgen Partenheimer, a German artist and printmaker who had studied directly under Joseph Beuys. My main advisor, Michael Miller, had studied under Jürgen and invited him over. He stayed with Michael and some of us got to hang out with him. I remember he told us that he was currently talking with his students about the idea that art really didn’t exist—that something from nothing in terms of art making just can’t really happen. Art’s always connected to history; you can’t separate it. The tip of the iceberg is connected to its deeply submerged historical base. But in the 20th century, someone—people like to claim it was Greenberg—said, “No! All of these ideas can come from nowhere and be separated from history.”

TDH Yeah, the painting thing, I didn’t realize it was a way to make a living. But I knew the comic book, the cartoon, the editorial seemed to have a bit more traction because the masses understood it. I knew that my folks understood what a comic book was, so I did it. Somewhere along the way, my work really cross-pollinated and the paintings became more like the comics. I knew I wanted to create this new way of seeing graphic information at the same time as exploring all these existential ideas and trying to grapple with or answer questions I had about life and moving through space. That’s when I just went out on a limb, and luckily the Dallas art community met me halfway and gave me space to play. Even before that, I always believed in cosmic occurrences. My summer roommate at Skowhegan had a place in Brooklyn. One weekend he asked if I wanted to go to New York with him. It was my first time there and I was so naive. I was a country boy walking around the city.

GP I think that separation was created in order to promote the idea of the artist as demigod, to support the market prices. It’s a myth that goes along with the phrase, “The market’s always right.” Of course, that’s not the case. Your point reminded me of the fact that Lee always talks about being reflexive; it’s one of those words I hear from him all the time. It’s the recognition of and meditation on what came before.

GP What year was it? TDH It was ’97—you had just been in Ray Gun magazine and I was clutching it. I slept with it under my pillow, and it was crazy, it was all crumpled. I brought it with me to New York, and I was staying at my friend’s apartment in Williamsburg, which at the time was so raw. There weren’t many hipsters on the street—it was a ghost town. He was looking at the magazine and asked me if I was into you. Then he said that you lived right upstairs, or that your studio was in the building, two floors up.

DA Speaking of evolution, can you talk about when you first started working on comics? What did the world of comics look like then versus now? It’s so drastically different, with Comic-Con and the explosion of the scene. Gary Panter (born 1950), page from Idolman comic strip, in TOB: East Texas State University Lizard Cult anthology, 1972. Courtesy the artist

TDH That’s how I initially responded to your work. My entry point was through your commercial stuff, but I wanted to learn everything. I wanted to see what you had made while you were at East Texas State—and you were wearing parts of paintings as costumes! That really opened up a lot for me because it showed me how to think about a type of art making that brings in all these sources and kind of spits in the face of the declaration that painting is dead. In Africa, or for the Native Americans, there is no word for art: there are just things that exist, there are rituals, and that is life. And it’s just like the props that you have around you that are life. I was onto something. GP And it was a moment where the walls between media were coming down. In the last twenty or so years, I’ve noticed my students make no distinction between their cartoons, their art, and their fashion—it’s all the same thing, and that’s an evolution of some sort. TDH Do you think that those walls will always be there for you? GP I don’t know. If you read interviews with Guston or Giacometti, they all say, “I’m looking for an opening; I’m looking for a way forward.” You hear that over and over with painters, and I do think that’s what we’re doing. I sometimes believe that, in the 20th century, each art movement could be analogous to inventing a note on the piano: Cubism, bing; Surrealism, bing. But now the piano is built, so what will you play on it? It may come off as only utilitarian, but, for me, hybridization is a way forward.

20

GP My dad ran a dime store in Brownsville, Texas, so he would bring home the comics with the covers ripped off—that was my first exposure to them. I drew a few comics, but when I got to East Texas State, there was Zap Comix and Hippy Comix. Things had really opened up for comics, and so had painting theory; anything at that point could be considered painting. That’s why I started trying to draw comics. R. Crumb had synthesized the whole of 20th-century comics into this old-fashioned-looking new thing, and it was powerful. It was as if he soaked up the entire century and distilled it into a drop of LSD. I went to Yale summer school in ’71 and was trying to draw comics there and make paintings, but they were all failing. I realized that my comic production had to be separate from my painting. I didn’t like painting my characters; they didn’t scale up for me. So that was what happened. And now I’ve got a stack of comics over there and my paintings over here, and they’re related tangentially. TDH For me, the entry point into comics was when I was a little boy. Like most young boys, I loved looking at superheroes and comics and this pulpy stuff. Some kids grow out of it, but I never did. So the comic thing was happening and video games were getting really big. I kept thinking about the idea of paracosmic worlds and tunneling farther into myself. I got really good at creating characters, and after a few years I began to wonder how they were related. Even without knowing what I was doing, I was setting up a comic book structure. It wasn’t my first aspiration to be a comic book artist, but I think I sort of fell back into it because of the format.

Trenton Doyle Hancock at work , East Texas State University Art Department, Commerce, 1997

GP Was it Dan? TDH Dan Cop. GP So that’s how you came over?

GP It demands that you tell a story in a certain way. Inventing characters is one thing and, like you said, how they interact is the life of it. TDH Right. And it keeps unfolding in a serial way. By the end of high school, I knew I wasn’t computer savvy enough to do it through video games, but I could do it through comic books, in a superhero way. It wasn’t so much about R. Crumb because I hadn’t really truly discovered the underground work just yet. I was still thinking in terms of Spiderman and Superman, but then I got to college. At Paris Junior College, I was hit in the face with art history and all the options out there. I kind of put the comic book stuff on the back burner and just allowed myself to focus on studying and learning the history of things. Eventually, over the course of the two years I was there, I began to wonder how I could get that back into the format of the comic. I started working for the school newspaper, first at Paris and then at East Texas State, drawing comics, being an illustrator, and thinking practically at the same time. I wanted to develop my own characters in my time there, so that I could have my own version of “Garfield” or “The Far Side.” So I could move forward in space. GP So you were really thinking of being a cartoonist as much as a painter at that moment?

TDH I was ushered in with Dan. GP I couldn’t figure you out at all. I was excited that you’d been to East Texas State and I remember your approach being very broad. You were talking about comics, but when I saw your work, I thought, “Wow, it’s not singular; it’s very wide.” TDH That’s funny because I was just hoping I wouldn’t say something that would get me kicked out of your studio. GP No, I was interested. TDH You mentioned Lee and I thought it was totally surreal— another one of those moments when an invisible hand seemed to guide me to this place. GP I believe that too. I believe there’s some sort of connection, that we’re not totally isolated. It’s good when things like that happen—when you stumbled into my studio. Valerie Cassel Oliver (VCO) Both of you come from a very strong Christian background. The Bible has really informed your work and taken you to different places that have somehow come full circle. Can we talk about that, since it’s one of the many connective tissues between you?

21


GP I wasn’t comfortable in the religion I grew up with because it was very harsh. Everything was spare—our church didn’t have any imagery and the windows were filled with concrete blocks. I was the kid on the playground quoting Ephesians 4:29—“let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth but that which is good for the edification of others”—when kids would curse. When I went to college, I decided to stop going to church. But it doesn’t go away. Last year, I had a fellowship at the New York Public Library to work on a series of comics based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. I had already completed the Inferno and Purgatory, but I had yet to start Paradise. Instead I ended up switching to John Milton’s Paradise Regained, a more obscure tale about Satan tempting Jesus in the desert, which is a few verses in the Bible, but Milton makes it into this quasi-epic. So I spent a year reading about the history of Christianity and Milton and it was really wonderful to study. TDH I think at this point in the game, it’s the connection to my family that’s become most important. That’s what I’ve salvaged from religion, because Christianity is something that my folks have invested in and built their truth around, but there was a time—about age 20 or 21—where it all fell apart for me and I thought it was all bad. I was looking for something else. Eventually I had to rebuild what was good out of it, and out came the sense of community, especially through music. That’s why recently I’ve been trying to incorporate some of the songs from my heritage and growing up with that ritual every week, sometimes three or four times a week. When I was a kid, you went to school, you went to football practice, and you went to church. It wasn’t abnormal; it was just what you did. It wasn’t until I left home that I realized there was something special about it. Now I’ve had this art routine for so long, but I never really thought about it in terms of the spiritual practice that I had when I was a kid. I’m trying to find those links. And that’s where the restaging and retelling of the performance I did for the Radical Presence exhibition came in [Devotion, 2013]. I was a junior deacon in the church, and every Sunday I had to lead the first part of the service, which is called the devotion, and you sang and prayed in front of everyone. It was call and response. Then I started losing family members—I lost a grandmother who taught the whole church. After they passed away, I wondered about their spiritual legacy. With them gone, who would be the keepers of this sacred knowledge—this style of singing? It started to become comforting, when I was alone in my studio, to sing these songs so that I could remember the presence of family members who had passed away. I began to think about documenting the ritual. As an artist, I believe it’s important to document things so that they don’t get lost. It also allowed me to share another part of myself with the community. When the art starts feeling really comfortable you have to do something that makes it strange again, which forces you to reestablish your footing. I thought the strangest thing would be to bring this totally sacred language and into my art practice. I still don’t really know what it was all about, but I know it felt weird, and if it feels weird, then it’s usually the right thing to do.

22

TDH So cassette tapes became more like your sketchbooks. GP Yeah, that’s right; that’s true. Making the little label . . . TDH I know about that. When I first started hanging out with JooYoung, we realized that we both made video collages by taking things from different sources—commercials we liked, music videos, and movies—and splicing them onto VHS tapes. It became a new kind of language that was akin to making a scrapbook or a sketchbook; it was visual notation. GP Donald Barthelme, a former director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, always used to say that scissors and paste were the tools of genius. My paintings are certainly influenced by collage. I’m trying to isolate things and decide where they go, what color they should be, and what’s behind them. Collage is the way you can put anything—be it high or low—together. DA Does this have anything to do with collecting? Both of you are collectors as well as artists. The way you’re talking about collage and arrangement reminds me of a collector’s mentality. GP For me it came from being poor. My dad ran a dime store, and although I couldn’t have all the toys, I could look at them. I’ve got 40 bins of broken toys and I began buying those comic books that were abandoned when I left Brownsville. So, it’s kind of sad, but that’s where it started for me.

Part of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Toy Museum collection, Houston, 2014

DA This resonates with the idea of deconstruction that we were talking about earlier—that art can be both building and collapsing at the same time. Can we talk about the making process and this arch that seems to keep coming up? GP I think what Trenton said about becoming complacent with your work is very true. If your art investigation is psychological, if you’re exploring your psyche and your brain, then you have to keep going. As far as the process for me, I draw in sketchbooks obsessively, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t draw. I know I’m going to draw again. And I just try to let everything out. When I was young, I would sit until I had a good idea, which took a really long time. I don’t do that anymore; I just start drawing and after a few pages you gather your thoughts and you start getting notions and you kind of move on. This may sound funny, but I also think that the invention of cassette tapes really broadened my taste because it allowed me to choose how I combined things. I realized I could put any song I wanted on them, and I made a lot of mixes to send to friends. Or taping the radio on cassettes, where you’re starting or stopping the thing.

TDH The collecting thing has always been there since I was a little kid, but somewhere during the course of my young adulthood, it kind of blossomed, if you will, into something that had the potential to be somewhat detrimental to the people around me, the ecosystem even. Either this is hoarding or this is research. I’m fighting tooth and nail to make it research, because otherwise it’s just a sickness. But I’ve always been obsessed with categorizing and recategorizing, making lists of things, seeing what’s out there, what’s at arm’s length, and trying to measure space through my own proportions or through the proportions of my American culture. GP I don’t know if this is true, but looking at your art, it seems as though the things around you can enter the work. TDH And they do. But it’s not always equal. I want things around me at all times, but I try not to be in full control of the way and rate that they absorb into the work. Years later I’ll look at a piece and think, “Oh my God, that’s this action figure, or that’s this Bible story, or this happened in my life.” I didn’t even realize it until later, so I think it’s those surprises that I would count on. GP That’s part of the self-investigation. Let things out and you have something to consider. TDH Sometimes an artist makes things that they want to see, but at some point you have to trust that the work is going to reveal something you don’t know. Collecting is just more gas in the tank, ensuring that the process will continue to happen. GP Well, my justification, if I need one, for the broken toys is that I really like the color of them. It’s an amazing collection of plastic

that’s not worth anything, except for the fact that these smashed little bits have so much to do with my painting. They’re flattened into little symbols of things. DA It sounds like, in a way, you’re almost giving order to the world. GP I think that’s true. Artists are trying to order or trying to make sense somehow. TDH To me there’s nothing more beautiful than toys on a shelf or toys in packages. It makes me consider not only what’s inside the package, but also how they all line up. Seeing a lot of the same thing is really formative; as a kid going into Toys ‘R’ Us, that’s where the excitement started, just seeing the logos and the packaging design and of course the plastic of the toys—it’s not something I could articulate but it was just beautiful. GP So, we have this in common, being kind of a scientist of toys. TDH Totally. GP Working on Pee-wee—designing a kid’s show and all the toys on set—was something I always wanted to do. There’s also something interesting about the subliminal messages of culture, whether it’s high or low. Marshall McLuhan and Mad magazine did something very similar in the late ’50s. Both the highest and the lowest theories were telling us to get wise to media. And it came through toy packages. I always used to look at toy catalogues. Because, you see, these were prototypes for kids’ brains. Each year they came up with a new set of toys that kids needed in order to build their own world. Now, electronic gear has replaced everything, but they’re still making great toys. TDH We might part ways on that. I like the things that you’ve put out, and there are a few retro toy companies that are making things. But it’s this very retro idea that I’m interested in right now. It’s like going back to almost tin-litho toys, or toys with no articulation. GP But that is also preserving knowledge, like you were talking about with religion in a way. And it’s kind of anti-tech. TDH Yeah. DA There’s something that feels almost archaeological in the way you’re talking about ordering or deciphering, even as a child. GP I did think of myself as an archaeologist in a way as a kid. TDH It’s funny, an archaeologist is the only other thing I ever thought I might want to be. In middle school they gave us one of those blocks of dirt, and you would brush it until you got shards of a vase that you’d have to put together. GP The river close to Paris, Texas, has tons of fossils in it. Little did we know growing up that there’s giant dinosaur bones down there. TDH Yeah, we have to organize a trip and get some bones. GP I thought I’d dig a hole in my backyard and get a dinosaur. TDH I used to dream about that too.

23


GP I wasn’t comfortable in the religion I grew up with because it was very harsh. Everything was spare—our church didn’t have any imagery and the windows were filled with concrete blocks. I was the kid on the playground quoting Ephesians 4:29—“let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth but that which is good for the edification of others”—when kids would curse. When I went to college, I decided to stop going to church. But it doesn’t go away. Last year, I had a fellowship at the New York Public Library to work on a series of comics based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. I had already completed the Inferno and Purgatory, but I had yet to start Paradise. Instead I ended up switching to John Milton’s Paradise Regained, a more obscure tale about Satan tempting Jesus in the desert, which is a few verses in the Bible, but Milton makes it into this quasi-epic. So I spent a year reading about the history of Christianity and Milton and it was really wonderful to study. TDH I think at this point in the game, it’s the connection to my family that’s become most important. That’s what I’ve salvaged from religion, because Christianity is something that my folks have invested in and built their truth around, but there was a time—about age 20 or 21—where it all fell apart for me and I thought it was all bad. I was looking for something else. Eventually I had to rebuild what was good out of it, and out came the sense of community, especially through music. That’s why recently I’ve been trying to incorporate some of the songs from my heritage and growing up with that ritual every week, sometimes three or four times a week. When I was a kid, you went to school, you went to football practice, and you went to church. It wasn’t abnormal; it was just what you did. It wasn’t until I left home that I realized there was something special about it. Now I’ve had this art routine for so long, but I never really thought about it in terms of the spiritual practice that I had when I was a kid. I’m trying to find those links. And that’s where the restaging and retelling of the performance I did for the Radical Presence exhibition came in [Devotion, 2013]. I was a junior deacon in the church, and every Sunday I had to lead the first part of the service, which is called the devotion, and you sang and prayed in front of everyone. It was call and response. Then I started losing family members—I lost a grandmother who taught the whole church. After they passed away, I wondered about their spiritual legacy. With them gone, who would be the keepers of this sacred knowledge—this style of singing? It started to become comforting, when I was alone in my studio, to sing these songs so that I could remember the presence of family members who had passed away. I began to think about documenting the ritual. As an artist, I believe it’s important to document things so that they don’t get lost. It also allowed me to share another part of myself with the community. When the art starts feeling really comfortable you have to do something that makes it strange again, which forces you to reestablish your footing. I thought the strangest thing would be to bring this totally sacred language and into my art practice. I still don’t really know what it was all about, but I know it felt weird, and if it feels weird, then it’s usually the right thing to do.

22

TDH So cassette tapes became more like your sketchbooks. GP Yeah, that’s right; that’s true. Making the little label . . . TDH I know about that. When I first started hanging out with JooYoung, we realized that we both made video collages by taking things from different sources—commercials we liked, music videos, and movies—and splicing them onto VHS tapes. It became a new kind of language that was akin to making a scrapbook or a sketchbook; it was visual notation. GP Donald Barthelme, a former director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, always used to say that scissors and paste were the tools of genius. My paintings are certainly influenced by collage. I’m trying to isolate things and decide where they go, what color they should be, and what’s behind them. Collage is the way you can put anything—be it high or low—together. DA Does this have anything to do with collecting? Both of you are collectors as well as artists. The way you’re talking about collage and arrangement reminds me of a collector’s mentality. GP For me it came from being poor. My dad ran a dime store, and although I couldn’t have all the toys, I could look at them. I’ve got 40 bins of broken toys and I began buying those comic books that were abandoned when I left Brownsville. So, it’s kind of sad, but that’s where it started for me.

Part of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Toy Museum collection, Houston, 2014

DA This resonates with the idea of deconstruction that we were talking about earlier—that art can be both building and collapsing at the same time. Can we talk about the making process and this arch that seems to keep coming up? GP I think what Trenton said about becoming complacent with your work is very true. If your art investigation is psychological, if you’re exploring your psyche and your brain, then you have to keep going. As far as the process for me, I draw in sketchbooks obsessively, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t draw. I know I’m going to draw again. And I just try to let everything out. When I was young, I would sit until I had a good idea, which took a really long time. I don’t do that anymore; I just start drawing and after a few pages you gather your thoughts and you start getting notions and you kind of move on. This may sound funny, but I also think that the invention of cassette tapes really broadened my taste because it allowed me to choose how I combined things. I realized I could put any song I wanted on them, and I made a lot of mixes to send to friends. Or taping the radio on cassettes, where you’re starting or stopping the thing.

TDH The collecting thing has always been there since I was a little kid, but somewhere during the course of my young adulthood, it kind of blossomed, if you will, into something that had the potential to be somewhat detrimental to the people around me, the ecosystem even. Either this is hoarding or this is research. I’m fighting tooth and nail to make it research, because otherwise it’s just a sickness. But I’ve always been obsessed with categorizing and recategorizing, making lists of things, seeing what’s out there, what’s at arm’s length, and trying to measure space through my own proportions or through the proportions of my American culture. GP I don’t know if this is true, but looking at your art, it seems as though the things around you can enter the work. TDH And they do. But it’s not always equal. I want things around me at all times, but I try not to be in full control of the way and rate that they absorb into the work. Years later I’ll look at a piece and think, “Oh my God, that’s this action figure, or that’s this Bible story, or this happened in my life.” I didn’t even realize it until later, so I think it’s those surprises that I would count on. GP That’s part of the self-investigation. Let things out and you have something to consider. TDH Sometimes an artist makes things that they want to see, but at some point you have to trust that the work is going to reveal something you don’t know. Collecting is just more gas in the tank, ensuring that the process will continue to happen. GP Well, my justification, if I need one, for the broken toys is that I really like the color of them. It’s an amazing collection of plastic

that’s not worth anything, except for the fact that these smashed little bits have so much to do with my painting. They’re flattened into little symbols of things. DA It sounds like, in a way, you’re almost giving order to the world. GP I think that’s true. Artists are trying to order or trying to make sense somehow. TDH To me there’s nothing more beautiful than toys on a shelf or toys in packages. It makes me consider not only what’s inside the package, but also how they all line up. Seeing a lot of the same thing is really formative; as a kid going into Toys ‘R’ Us, that’s where the excitement started, just seeing the logos and the packaging design and of course the plastic of the toys—it’s not something I could articulate but it was just beautiful. GP So, we have this in common, being kind of a scientist of toys. TDH Totally. GP Working on Pee-wee—designing a kid’s show and all the toys on set—was something I always wanted to do. There’s also something interesting about the subliminal messages of culture, whether it’s high or low. Marshall McLuhan and Mad magazine did something very similar in the late ’50s. Both the highest and the lowest theories were telling us to get wise to media. And it came through toy packages. I always used to look at toy catalogues. Because, you see, these were prototypes for kids’ brains. Each year they came up with a new set of toys that kids needed in order to build their own world. Now, electronic gear has replaced everything, but they’re still making great toys. TDH We might part ways on that. I like the things that you’ve put out, and there are a few retro toy companies that are making things. But it’s this very retro idea that I’m interested in right now. It’s like going back to almost tin-litho toys, or toys with no articulation. GP But that is also preserving knowledge, like you were talking about with religion in a way. And it’s kind of anti-tech. TDH Yeah. DA There’s something that feels almost archaeological in the way you’re talking about ordering or deciphering, even as a child. GP I did think of myself as an archaeologist in a way as a kid. TDH It’s funny, an archaeologist is the only other thing I ever thought I might want to be. In middle school they gave us one of those blocks of dirt, and you would brush it until you got shards of a vase that you’d have to put together. GP The river close to Paris, Texas, has tons of fossils in it. Little did we know growing up that there’s giant dinosaur bones down there. TDH Yeah, we have to organize a trip and get some bones. GP I thought I’d dig a hole in my backyard and get a dinosaur. TDH I used to dream about that too.

23


DA Your work feels like that sometimes, the way things get pulled off, and the layering that ends up happening in the removal. GP Willem de Kooning’s Excavation [1950] is an amazing painting. It’s an excavation but it’s almost a cartoon too. It has all kinds of goofy little faces in it. With oil you can scrape all the paint off and start again, but in acrylic it gets bad if you keep doing that. VCO It does feel like a lot of the work is about overlap, layering, and the complexity of building up and taking away. It all leads back to the notion of process. TDH I remember realizing, I think it was in ’95 or ’96, that painting at its best is a model of how history or memory operates. That’s something that other formats don’t do as well as painting. Film maybe, but I wanted to see how painting could get even more personal in terms of my own history. I was digging. I wanted the painting to do what I was doing in my own investigations and my dream logs, in my writings. I wanted it to seem like it was tunneling inward. GP Is that the experience you’re hoping to give your viewers? TDH I want people to be engaged in the work. It’s a really personal life-or-death thing for me sometimes. I want viewers to come in and get that feeling of importance. I think that’s the exciting thing—that someone may spend a fraction of time in front of the work that I poured myself into. Even if they only spend a minute in front of it, they should still feel it. GP That’s usually the amount of time people give to a painting. In some ways, I don’t know what paintings are supposed to do, but I do think about arresting someone’s attention in front of a work for a minute and that the colors and shapes in it are going to affect the mood in the room. So, I think of paintings a bit as mood control devices, but the engagement is very short. It has to speak quickly. You give a brief engagement, but you hope there’s a lot of material there to be discovered. So, if you live around a painting, and every day you’re happy to see it, that’s an amazing compliment to the artist. VCO I want to get back to the notion of drawing and how it may relate to this sort of arresting moment. The integration of drawing and painting moves the eye in different ways. Again, there’s this layering effect. You have a background, but then you have a lot of moments within that background that are drawn. It’s a very different way of making marks and using materials. TDH Well, I’ve never thought of myself as a painter. I always thought a painter was someone who starts with color and ends with something that is greater than the sum total of all the colors that are there. And layers, I’ve never thought that way, although I’m starting to experiment with those things. So, I’m a draftsman who uses paint. There is a modesty to drawing. I think one of the things that excites me about it is that it feels accessible, almost immediately. It’s mark making. People write their names every day. I always want that kind of accessibility in my work; that’s why I leave the

24

drawing exposed. Even if there’s a lot of paint in a composition, there will be moments when graphic elements come through. It’s as if the skin has been pulled away and you’re seeing the skeleton. Drawing will always be a part of the conversation even if I do gravitate to more painterly expressions. GP I think drawing is an innately human thing. Even Jesus drew— there is a verse in the Bible in which he squats down and draws in the dirt with a stick. It doesn’t say what he drew, but it’s still interesting. I guess for me, I’ve gotten to this point where I’ve tried to simplify everything and maybe I’ve oversimplified it. Early on I would draw on canvas with paint and then fill inside the lines with color. The paint would cover up the lines. Then I wanted things to be a little more off register, so I put the colors down before the lines. Working within visible grids helped me do that; I would cover the sections I wasn’t working on so things stayed vaguely in proportion. Over the last few years, lines have disappeared from my work completely. It’s a constant evolution. TDH Going back to the analogy of the post-postmodern, or whatever we’re calling ourselves right now, you said earlier that when you put together all the art movements from the 20th century, they’re like the keys on a piano—we just hybridize and compose. It made me think about Martin Kippenberger. He’s compressed so much into his practice: he’s painted; he’s made up his own hieroglyphs and language; he’s gone through Duchamp and all these other movements. It made me want to ask you how you see time existing in the studio. Because I know that I’m constantly going back to things I did in the ’90s, or even some of the things I did as a kid. I give myself permission to go back to any of those things and add to them—create sequels or prequels—as if I’m able to time travel and jump around. The thing I’m doing now isn’t necessarily better than what I was doing in ’99, but it’s adding to the archive that will be capped off when I’m gone. What do you think of that?

Daniel Atkinson, Gary Panter, and Trenton Doyle Hancock in conversation, curatorial office of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, March 14, 2014

GP Related to that, a lot of my senior students are young, smart, and they don’t know what their real work is yet. I remember being like that. I think we all struggle with it. DA Can you talk about finding that sense of self?

GP I know what you mean about utilizing past ideas; I can still pretty much draw in all the ways I used to, but I think my work might be richer if I tapped into them even more. They’re invisible because I’m always trying to make the next little graphic step. If only you could have an art shrink or guru listen to you while you’re in the studio thinking, “I’ve lost my mind, what am I doing?” You feel so lost sometimes. And then maybe it wouldn’t take so long to realize that you just needed to relax and keep going. That’s usually my conclusion: I should have just done more, I shouldn’t have been so uptight, and I should have let more stuff out. But in the moment it’s really hard to let the little things—every edge, every brushstroke—go.

GP Part of it is forgiving yourself. You’re not going to do better work if you beat yourself up about it. We can all look back on our personal histories, but I’m always trying to take the next step, and it often leads me to funny spots—dead ends, even. A dead end is just as valid a path as one more fruitful. Sometimes you have to get things wrong in order to paint something really exciting. You have to know when to destroy a painting and when to roll one up for ten years and think about it. Though I’m not sure how many more decades I’ve got. One thing I can say is that I could die now and my mission would have been accomplished. I don’t want to die, though. I’m not ready for my mission to be accomplished. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to have a big book—and I got it. But as soon as you get the big book, you want another big book; you want people to think you’re still relevant. Usually artists have one picture in the history books, and it might be their most hated work or it might be their favorite thing, but you don’t get to choose which one people remember you by.

TDH I call it studio neurosis. Most of the people outside of you or your studio wouldn’t see those things as issues. They would think it’s something you set up for yourself—something you just need to get over. I have these fears all the time and some of them are important, but it’s that floodgate that kind of keeps some of the stuff in, because if it all opens up, you don’t have any control. And to lose all control, that’s scary.

TDH Yeah, it makes me think of Jacob Lawrence. At first I knew of him from the two pictures that kept getting published in the history books. They didn’t give you a sense of the materiality or the range of his work and how dark it could be. In fact, he was probably one of the most agile acrobats in terms of visual navigation; he was able to jump around so much and drawing seemed to be so important to him. I didn’t know that until I saw his retrospec-

tive here in Houston. I was just blown away and kicking myself for never having crossed paths. He’s definitely someone I would have liked to have sat down and talked with, like we are right now. I realized that a lot of the discoveries I thought I’d made in my studio, well, he’d already been there. GP Yes, it’s a tricky thing to navigate—finding your own path while remaining aware of art history. It’s a problem for audiences too. Now people Google things to get the first bit of information, and it’s a shallow view to a certain extent, or maybe it’s wrong. My Wikipedia page is wrong to a great extent. There’s an illusion with the Internet that you’re getting it all, but so many artists aren’t up there yet. Luckily, people who are in love with information will seek things out, and make artifacts for other people, so that, as you said, we don’t forget the whole thing.

This conversation took place on March 14, 2014, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Transcribed by Max Fields and Sofia Jamal.

25


DA Your work feels like that sometimes, the way things get pulled off, and the layering that ends up happening in the removal. GP Willem de Kooning’s Excavation [1950] is an amazing painting. It’s an excavation but it’s almost a cartoon too. It has all kinds of goofy little faces in it. With oil you can scrape all the paint off and start again, but in acrylic it gets bad if you keep doing that. VCO It does feel like a lot of the work is about overlap, layering, and the complexity of building up and taking away. It all leads back to the notion of process. TDH I remember realizing, I think it was in ’95 or ’96, that painting at its best is a model of how history or memory operates. That’s something that other formats don’t do as well as painting. Film maybe, but I wanted to see how painting could get even more personal in terms of my own history. I was digging. I wanted the painting to do what I was doing in my own investigations and my dream logs, in my writings. I wanted it to seem like it was tunneling inward. GP Is that the experience you’re hoping to give your viewers? TDH I want people to be engaged in the work. It’s a really personal life-or-death thing for me sometimes. I want viewers to come in and get that feeling of importance. I think that’s the exciting thing—that someone may spend a fraction of time in front of the work that I poured myself into. Even if they only spend a minute in front of it, they should still feel it. GP That’s usually the amount of time people give to a painting. In some ways, I don’t know what paintings are supposed to do, but I do think about arresting someone’s attention in front of a work for a minute and that the colors and shapes in it are going to affect the mood in the room. So, I think of paintings a bit as mood control devices, but the engagement is very short. It has to speak quickly. You give a brief engagement, but you hope there’s a lot of material there to be discovered. So, if you live around a painting, and every day you’re happy to see it, that’s an amazing compliment to the artist. VCO I want to get back to the notion of drawing and how it may relate to this sort of arresting moment. The integration of drawing and painting moves the eye in different ways. Again, there’s this layering effect. You have a background, but then you have a lot of moments within that background that are drawn. It’s a very different way of making marks and using materials. TDH Well, I’ve never thought of myself as a painter. I always thought a painter was someone who starts with color and ends with something that is greater than the sum total of all the colors that are there. And layers, I’ve never thought that way, although I’m starting to experiment with those things. So, I’m a draftsman who uses paint. There is a modesty to drawing. I think one of the things that excites me about it is that it feels accessible, almost immediately. It’s mark making. People write their names every day. I always want that kind of accessibility in my work; that’s why I leave the

24

drawing exposed. Even if there’s a lot of paint in a composition, there will be moments when graphic elements come through. It’s as if the skin has been pulled away and you’re seeing the skeleton. Drawing will always be a part of the conversation even if I do gravitate to more painterly expressions. GP I think drawing is an innately human thing. Even Jesus drew— there is a verse in the Bible in which he squats down and draws in the dirt with a stick. It doesn’t say what he drew, but it’s still interesting. I guess for me, I’ve gotten to this point where I’ve tried to simplify everything and maybe I’ve oversimplified it. Early on I would draw on canvas with paint and then fill inside the lines with color. The paint would cover up the lines. Then I wanted things to be a little more off register, so I put the colors down before the lines. Working within visible grids helped me do that; I would cover the sections I wasn’t working on so things stayed vaguely in proportion. Over the last few years, lines have disappeared from my work completely. It’s a constant evolution. TDH Going back to the analogy of the post-postmodern, or whatever we’re calling ourselves right now, you said earlier that when you put together all the art movements from the 20th century, they’re like the keys on a piano—we just hybridize and compose. It made me think about Martin Kippenberger. He’s compressed so much into his practice: he’s painted; he’s made up his own hieroglyphs and language; he’s gone through Duchamp and all these other movements. It made me want to ask you how you see time existing in the studio. Because I know that I’m constantly going back to things I did in the ’90s, or even some of the things I did as a kid. I give myself permission to go back to any of those things and add to them—create sequels or prequels—as if I’m able to time travel and jump around. The thing I’m doing now isn’t necessarily better than what I was doing in ’99, but it’s adding to the archive that will be capped off when I’m gone. What do you think of that?

Daniel Atkinson, Gary Panter, and Trenton Doyle Hancock in conversation, curatorial office of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, March 14, 2014

GP Related to that, a lot of my senior students are young, smart, and they don’t know what their real work is yet. I remember being like that. I think we all struggle with it. DA Can you talk about finding that sense of self?

GP I know what you mean about utilizing past ideas; I can still pretty much draw in all the ways I used to, but I think my work might be richer if I tapped into them even more. They’re invisible because I’m always trying to make the next little graphic step. If only you could have an art shrink or guru listen to you while you’re in the studio thinking, “I’ve lost my mind, what am I doing?” You feel so lost sometimes. And then maybe it wouldn’t take so long to realize that you just needed to relax and keep going. That’s usually my conclusion: I should have just done more, I shouldn’t have been so uptight, and I should have let more stuff out. But in the moment it’s really hard to let the little things—every edge, every brushstroke—go.

GP Part of it is forgiving yourself. You’re not going to do better work if you beat yourself up about it. We can all look back on our personal histories, but I’m always trying to take the next step, and it often leads me to funny spots—dead ends, even. A dead end is just as valid a path as one more fruitful. Sometimes you have to get things wrong in order to paint something really exciting. You have to know when to destroy a painting and when to roll one up for ten years and think about it. Though I’m not sure how many more decades I’ve got. One thing I can say is that I could die now and my mission would have been accomplished. I don’t want to die, though. I’m not ready for my mission to be accomplished. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to have a big book—and I got it. But as soon as you get the big book, you want another big book; you want people to think you’re still relevant. Usually artists have one picture in the history books, and it might be their most hated work or it might be their favorite thing, but you don’t get to choose which one people remember you by.

TDH I call it studio neurosis. Most of the people outside of you or your studio wouldn’t see those things as issues. They would think it’s something you set up for yourself—something you just need to get over. I have these fears all the time and some of them are important, but it’s that floodgate that kind of keeps some of the stuff in, because if it all opens up, you don’t have any control. And to lose all control, that’s scary.

TDH Yeah, it makes me think of Jacob Lawrence. At first I knew of him from the two pictures that kept getting published in the history books. They didn’t give you a sense of the materiality or the range of his work and how dark it could be. In fact, he was probably one of the most agile acrobats in terms of visual navigation; he was able to jump around so much and drawing seemed to be so important to him. I didn’t know that until I saw his retrospec-

tive here in Houston. I was just blown away and kicking myself for never having crossed paths. He’s definitely someone I would have liked to have sat down and talked with, like we are right now. I realized that a lot of the discoveries I thought I’d made in my studio, well, he’d already been there. GP Yes, it’s a tricky thing to navigate—finding your own path while remaining aware of art history. It’s a problem for audiences too. Now people Google things to get the first bit of information, and it’s a shallow view to a certain extent, or maybe it’s wrong. My Wikipedia page is wrong to a great extent. There’s an illusion with the Internet that you’re getting it all, but so many artists aren’t up there yet. Luckily, people who are in love with information will seek things out, and make artifacts for other people, so that, as you said, we don’t forget the whole thing.

This conversation took place on March 14, 2014, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Transcribed by Max Fields and Sofia Jamal.

25


Vegans and Vivian Girls: Mythology and Grand Thinking in the Work of Trenton Doyle Hancock and Henry Darger B R O O K E DAV I S A N D E R S O N

About 50,000 years ago an ape jacked off in a field of flowers giving birth to a legend, no, the legend. For years there have been reports of strange furry, smelly heaps residing in wooded areas around the world. These reports are supposed sightings of the cryptid (creature not yet verified by science), simply known to cryptozoologists as mounds. Wow, that’s me? I, Trenton Doyle, am, for reasons that I can’t quite explain, connected to this mysterious creature known as the mound. I share a psychic bond with each mound on earth. I am ground control and they are my satellites. I see what they see. I remember things that they did and things that they saw even after they are dead. This information not only comes to me in dreams, but I am also gradually fed information sporadically throughout the day. I will be taking a dump and get a crystal clear image of tree bark. —Trenton Doyle Hancock

Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. —Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus 1

26

T

renton Doyle Hancock’s art has been described as startlingly mythic, with its classic tropes of good versus evil and its awe-inspiring storytelling devices. The scale, scope, and commitment of Hancock’s narrative, as well as the earthy and sexual undertones of its subject matter, recall the work of Chicago artist Henry Darger (1892–1973). From the moment Hancock first experienced Darger’s art in the early ’90s, he has been entranced by its surreal stories featuring hybrid creatures. In many ways Darger has provided Hancock with an artistic map. Self-taught artists such as Darger often inspire their more mainstream peers to think in highly creative ways and on their own idiosyncratic terms. Indeed there is a long history of academically trained artists who have tapped into the resources of the self-taught artists of their time: Jean Dubuffet used many of the devices of autodidact Gaston Chaissac; Sharon Horvath finds inspiration in the aesthetic inventions of Martín Ramírez; and Tom Burckhardt feels a kind of kinship with Adolf Wölfli. Darger in particular has had a pervasive influence on countless contemporary artists since his singular artwork was first exhibited in 1976. Creative professionals from the poet John Ashbery to the fashion designer Anna Sui have employed Darger’s art as a jumping-off point for their own artistic endeavors. Darger himself was influenced by other artists and borrowed from a vast array of visual culture, including L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, the cartoonists who penned Little Annie Rooney, and the designers of early20th-century newspaper advertisements. Darger created several hundred watercolor and collage paintings to illustrate his literary masterpiece, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. The book is a 15,000-page fictional story of war and peace, which tells the heroic adventures of a family of young sisters—the Vivian Girls—who fight to free enslaved children

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Souls, 2008, installation view, American Folk Art Museum, New York, 2008. Graphite on paper in vintage frames mounted on artist-drawn wall text, 11 x 18 feet overall. Courtesy of artist and American Folk Art Museum, New York

held captive by an army of adults. Darger’s often violent fantasy is populated with brightly colored gardens, fantastic otherworldly creatures, dramatic battle scenes, and vigilant little girls—all of which makes navigation through his artistic visions unforgettable. The unpredictable nature of artistic influence, specifically the rich and varied ways in which Darger has influenced contemporary artists, was the subject of a 2008 exhibition I organized, entitled Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger, held at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. The show challenged the tradition of exhibitions that have explored the influence of self-taught artists on mainstream artists, presenting Darger not as an outsider supplying insiders with a database of visual tropes, but instead as a valued colleague, teacher, kindred spirit, and fellow artist. Many contemporary artists at that time were responding not only to the aesthetic beauty of Darger’s mythic work—with its tales of good versus evil, its epic scope and complexity, and even its transgressive undertone—but also to his unblinking work ethic and wholly consuming devotion to art making. Dargerism posited no hierarchy, only a series of multivalent conversations, which played out visually and conceptually in a variety of media.

Hancock credits Darger for empowering him with the confidence to explore narrative and mythmaking in his own body of work. First exposed to Darger’s art in the early ’90s through Raw magazine, Hancock was influenced by Darger’s handling of visual information, his employment of collage, his incorporation of modest materials, and, most profoundly, his development of an alternative world. At that time Hancock felt that the door was closed to storytelling in the art world. “He gave me permission to pursue my truth,” the artist has said. “What I learned from Darger was completely the opposite of what we learned in grad school. Henry Darger’s art wasn’t about The Art World driving the work. It was the work driving the work. I obviously took creating a narrative as a cue from Henry Darger.” 2 With their epic ongoing sagas, these two aesthetic cousins track similar terrain in their art making. Hancock additionally respected Darger’s sophisticated artistic practices. Popular media sources, such as cartoons and comics, as well as the Bible, are foundational to the imaginative narratives they both create. Darger’s Blengiglomeneans, Glandelinians, Abbieannians, and Vivian Girls romp through his imaginary tale. Similarly, Hancock builds adventures for Homerbuctas, Vegans, Mounds, Sesom, and

27


Vegans and Vivian Girls: Mythology and Grand Thinking in the Work of Trenton Doyle Hancock and Henry Darger B R O O K E DAV I S A N D E R S O N

About 50,000 years ago an ape jacked off in a field of flowers giving birth to a legend, no, the legend. For years there have been reports of strange furry, smelly heaps residing in wooded areas around the world. These reports are supposed sightings of the cryptid (creature not yet verified by science), simply known to cryptozoologists as mounds. Wow, that’s me? I, Trenton Doyle, am, for reasons that I can’t quite explain, connected to this mysterious creature known as the mound. I share a psychic bond with each mound on earth. I am ground control and they are my satellites. I see what they see. I remember things that they did and things that they saw even after they are dead. This information not only comes to me in dreams, but I am also gradually fed information sporadically throughout the day. I will be taking a dump and get a crystal clear image of tree bark. —Trenton Doyle Hancock

Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. —Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus 1

26

T

renton Doyle Hancock’s art has been described as startlingly mythic, with its classic tropes of good versus evil and its awe-inspiring storytelling devices. The scale, scope, and commitment of Hancock’s narrative, as well as the earthy and sexual undertones of its subject matter, recall the work of Chicago artist Henry Darger (1892–1973). From the moment Hancock first experienced Darger’s art in the early ’90s, he has been entranced by its surreal stories featuring hybrid creatures. In many ways Darger has provided Hancock with an artistic map. Self-taught artists such as Darger often inspire their more mainstream peers to think in highly creative ways and on their own idiosyncratic terms. Indeed there is a long history of academically trained artists who have tapped into the resources of the self-taught artists of their time: Jean Dubuffet used many of the devices of autodidact Gaston Chaissac; Sharon Horvath finds inspiration in the aesthetic inventions of Martín Ramírez; and Tom Burckhardt feels a kind of kinship with Adolf Wölfli. Darger in particular has had a pervasive influence on countless contemporary artists since his singular artwork was first exhibited in 1976. Creative professionals from the poet John Ashbery to the fashion designer Anna Sui have employed Darger’s art as a jumping-off point for their own artistic endeavors. Darger himself was influenced by other artists and borrowed from a vast array of visual culture, including L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, the cartoonists who penned Little Annie Rooney, and the designers of early20th-century newspaper advertisements. Darger created several hundred watercolor and collage paintings to illustrate his literary masterpiece, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. The book is a 15,000-page fictional story of war and peace, which tells the heroic adventures of a family of young sisters—the Vivian Girls—who fight to free enslaved children

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Souls, 2008, installation view, American Folk Art Museum, New York, 2008. Graphite on paper in vintage frames mounted on artist-drawn wall text, 11 x 18 feet overall. Courtesy of artist and American Folk Art Museum, New York

held captive by an army of adults. Darger’s often violent fantasy is populated with brightly colored gardens, fantastic otherworldly creatures, dramatic battle scenes, and vigilant little girls—all of which makes navigation through his artistic visions unforgettable. The unpredictable nature of artistic influence, specifically the rich and varied ways in which Darger has influenced contemporary artists, was the subject of a 2008 exhibition I organized, entitled Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger, held at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. The show challenged the tradition of exhibitions that have explored the influence of self-taught artists on mainstream artists, presenting Darger not as an outsider supplying insiders with a database of visual tropes, but instead as a valued colleague, teacher, kindred spirit, and fellow artist. Many contemporary artists at that time were responding not only to the aesthetic beauty of Darger’s mythic work—with its tales of good versus evil, its epic scope and complexity, and even its transgressive undertone—but also to his unblinking work ethic and wholly consuming devotion to art making. Dargerism posited no hierarchy, only a series of multivalent conversations, which played out visually and conceptually in a variety of media.

Hancock credits Darger for empowering him with the confidence to explore narrative and mythmaking in his own body of work. First exposed to Darger’s art in the early ’90s through Raw magazine, Hancock was influenced by Darger’s handling of visual information, his employment of collage, his incorporation of modest materials, and, most profoundly, his development of an alternative world. At that time Hancock felt that the door was closed to storytelling in the art world. “He gave me permission to pursue my truth,” the artist has said. “What I learned from Darger was completely the opposite of what we learned in grad school. Henry Darger’s art wasn’t about The Art World driving the work. It was the work driving the work. I obviously took creating a narrative as a cue from Henry Darger.” 2 With their epic ongoing sagas, these two aesthetic cousins track similar terrain in their art making. Hancock additionally respected Darger’s sophisticated artistic practices. Popular media sources, such as cartoons and comics, as well as the Bible, are foundational to the imaginative narratives they both create. Darger’s Blengiglomeneans, Glandelinians, Abbieannians, and Vivian Girls romp through his imaginary tale. Similarly, Hancock builds adventures for Homerbuctas, Vegans, Mounds, Sesom, and

27


Torpedoboy. Through these communities and outliers, both artists engage in a visual vocabulary of mythmaking. Their characters participate in mischievous power games and all-too-familiar hierarchies. In a Darger sensibility, all creatures live helplessly in a treacherous universe and characters are repeatedly a step away from danger; Hancock embraces this storyline in his own tales. Issues of identity equally transfix both artists and their oeuvres are cluttered with explorations of self and other. Both men often feature characters thinly veiled as themselves in their made-up tales. Both artists also build highly charged surreal narratives, which are layered with alarm and humor, out of which they have made convincing renderings of trapped souls. For the Dargerism exhibition, Hancock created the site-specific installation Souls. Over the course of several days, the artist used black paint to scribble the word SOUL hundreds of times on a white wall measuring roughly 11 feet tall by 18 feet long. Hancock then added to the installation small, delicate pencil drawings, which he based on milk carton photographs of missing children. Originally made from 2000 to 2001, and mounted in found frames, the portraits were scattered on top of the text on the wall. In the context of the former American Folk Art Museum, in an exhibition inspired by Darger, it was impossible not to project the plight of the Vivian Girls onto Hancock’s poignant renderings. Darger and Hancock both mine the complexities of human behavior and create artworks illustrating our shared agnostic

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Soul 6, 2000

28

Henry Darger (1892–1973), Untitled (Vivian Girls Watching Approaching Storm in Rural Landscape), n.d. Watercolor, pencil, carbon tracing, and collage on pieced paper. Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York; Gift of Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner

times. Their invented landscapes invite them to explore personal obsessions and inner conflicts while each has also been freed to delve into childhood and create their own fairy tales. Their aesthetic lineage is apparent as each artist grapples with the mystery of a bizarre world featuring fictitious characters who struggle with issues of civility and gender equality. The melancholy mood pervading their fantasy settings provokes our imagination about the moral battle both artists take us into; the pain in their painted characters and the dark subject matter convey challenging themes aimed to comment on the deep flaws in contemporary society. Each man is an exquisite colorist. Hancock employs an opulent aesthetic (luscious colors, seductive materials, and intricate details) to display variously sweet, chilling, or searing scenes realizing a narrative style and figurative approach to get at gripping realities. His lush paintings—in both hallucinogenic style and otherworldly mood—visualize complex ideas and delight in the unexpected narrative that places characters in surreal, slightly unnerving settings. Both artists privilege rich, labor-intensive artworks. Hancock’s brilliantly fluent sequence of paintings also testifies to his dry wit and deep intelligence. His works reveal his playful side. The humor, like the candy-coated palette preferred by both artists, hooks the viewer. Like Darger, therefore, Hancock develops detailed, feisty fantasy narratives layered with whimsy, which draws the audience in before provoking confusion or even discomfort. The creation of an entire unsteady world is a primary impulse for both Darger and Hancock, as well as many others. The private worlds of artists were heartily explored at the 2013 Venice Biennale, which had the title and theme The Encyclopedic Palace.3 Curator Massimiliano Gioni brought together artists who construct their own cosmologies, usually mythic in their otherworldliness and strangeness. Many of the artists in The Encyclopedic Palace work alone on a singular oeuvre regardless of the art-world trends and

tastes, constructing elaborate fantasy worlds that are continuously inspired by personal visions. Admiring Darger’s unapologetic imagination and intense individualism, Hancock has created a sophisticated artistic practice that mirrors the autodidact’s homegrown techniques in ways that are both apparent and subtle. Hancock is not derivative of Darger; rather, he has assimilated the Chicago artist’s remarkable and cohesive oeuvre, responding to the work’s subversive inventiveness. Every artist finds camaraderie in other works of art; it is often the means to keeping the engine of innovation going. Our fascination with mythology lies precisely in its ability to take on different meanings. Like Darger, Hancock works from deep personal experiences, many of which have yet to be unearthed and remain unknown, but result in the creation of entire new worlds. Hancock’s homespun and peculiar paintings can remind us of childhood fairy tales or ghost stories, in which fears linger. His painted world is populated with transgressive moments, harkening to a similarly alternative world as written and painted by Darger. We can look to Darger’s pervasive influence on contemporary art discourse—and the way it has changed how we examine the work of self-taught artists—to expand our means of understanding the multiple strands of art history. Referencing R. Crumb, graphic novels, Hieronymus Bosch, and a whole range of eclectic influences and traditions all informing his visual lexicon, Hancock’s work forces the taut lines of art history into something more elastic. The critic Jack Mottram once wrote: “A typical Hancock painting, if there is such a thing, draws on comic and fantasy art, borrows from surrealism, cubism, modernism—pretty much every ‘ism’ you can think of, in fact—and matches scatological humor with high theory.” 4 The critic could have also included Henry Darger.

NOTES 1. Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” in The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (New York: Vintage International Edition, 1991), p. 89. 2. Trenton Doyle Hancock, conversations with the author, Fall 2007. 3. For more information on The Encyclopedic Palace, see http://www.labiennale. org/en/art/news/13-03.html. 4. Jack Mottram, “The Writing’s on the Wall: Just Don’t Ask What It’s Saying,” Herald Scotland, February 9, 2007, http://www.heraldscotland.com/the-writing-son-the-wall-just-don-t-ask-what-it-s-saying-1.852407.

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Torpedoboy. Through these communities and outliers, both artists engage in a visual vocabulary of mythmaking. Their characters participate in mischievous power games and all-too-familiar hierarchies. In a Darger sensibility, all creatures live helplessly in a treacherous universe and characters are repeatedly a step away from danger; Hancock embraces this storyline in his own tales. Issues of identity equally transfix both artists and their oeuvres are cluttered with explorations of self and other. Both men often feature characters thinly veiled as themselves in their made-up tales. Both artists also build highly charged surreal narratives, which are layered with alarm and humor, out of which they have made convincing renderings of trapped souls. For the Dargerism exhibition, Hancock created the site-specific installation Souls. Over the course of several days, the artist used black paint to scribble the word SOUL hundreds of times on a white wall measuring roughly 11 feet tall by 18 feet long. Hancock then added to the installation small, delicate pencil drawings, which he based on milk carton photographs of missing children. Originally made from 2000 to 2001, and mounted in found frames, the portraits were scattered on top of the text on the wall. In the context of the former American Folk Art Museum, in an exhibition inspired by Darger, it was impossible not to project the plight of the Vivian Girls onto Hancock’s poignant renderings. Darger and Hancock both mine the complexities of human behavior and create artworks illustrating our shared agnostic

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Soul 6, 2000

28

Henry Darger (1892–1973), Untitled (Vivian Girls Watching Approaching Storm in Rural Landscape), n.d. Watercolor, pencil, carbon tracing, and collage on pieced paper. Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York; Gift of Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner

times. Their invented landscapes invite them to explore personal obsessions and inner conflicts while each has also been freed to delve into childhood and create their own fairy tales. Their aesthetic lineage is apparent as each artist grapples with the mystery of a bizarre world featuring fictitious characters who struggle with issues of civility and gender equality. The melancholy mood pervading their fantasy settings provokes our imagination about the moral battle both artists take us into; the pain in their painted characters and the dark subject matter convey challenging themes aimed to comment on the deep flaws in contemporary society. Each man is an exquisite colorist. Hancock employs an opulent aesthetic (luscious colors, seductive materials, and intricate details) to display variously sweet, chilling, or searing scenes realizing a narrative style and figurative approach to get at gripping realities. His lush paintings—in both hallucinogenic style and otherworldly mood—visualize complex ideas and delight in the unexpected narrative that places characters in surreal, slightly unnerving settings. Both artists privilege rich, labor-intensive artworks. Hancock’s brilliantly fluent sequence of paintings also testifies to his dry wit and deep intelligence. His works reveal his playful side. The humor, like the candy-coated palette preferred by both artists, hooks the viewer. Like Darger, therefore, Hancock develops detailed, feisty fantasy narratives layered with whimsy, which draws the audience in before provoking confusion or even discomfort. The creation of an entire unsteady world is a primary impulse for both Darger and Hancock, as well as many others. The private worlds of artists were heartily explored at the 2013 Venice Biennale, which had the title and theme The Encyclopedic Palace.3 Curator Massimiliano Gioni brought together artists who construct their own cosmologies, usually mythic in their otherworldliness and strangeness. Many of the artists in The Encyclopedic Palace work alone on a singular oeuvre regardless of the art-world trends and

tastes, constructing elaborate fantasy worlds that are continuously inspired by personal visions. Admiring Darger’s unapologetic imagination and intense individualism, Hancock has created a sophisticated artistic practice that mirrors the autodidact’s homegrown techniques in ways that are both apparent and subtle. Hancock is not derivative of Darger; rather, he has assimilated the Chicago artist’s remarkable and cohesive oeuvre, responding to the work’s subversive inventiveness. Every artist finds camaraderie in other works of art; it is often the means to keeping the engine of innovation going. Our fascination with mythology lies precisely in its ability to take on different meanings. Like Darger, Hancock works from deep personal experiences, many of which have yet to be unearthed and remain unknown, but result in the creation of entire new worlds. Hancock’s homespun and peculiar paintings can remind us of childhood fairy tales or ghost stories, in which fears linger. His painted world is populated with transgressive moments, harkening to a similarly alternative world as written and painted by Darger. We can look to Darger’s pervasive influence on contemporary art discourse—and the way it has changed how we examine the work of self-taught artists—to expand our means of understanding the multiple strands of art history. Referencing R. Crumb, graphic novels, Hieronymus Bosch, and a whole range of eclectic influences and traditions all informing his visual lexicon, Hancock’s work forces the taut lines of art history into something more elastic. The critic Jack Mottram once wrote: “A typical Hancock painting, if there is such a thing, draws on comic and fantasy art, borrows from surrealism, cubism, modernism—pretty much every ‘ism’ you can think of, in fact—and matches scatological humor with high theory.” 4 The critic could have also included Henry Darger.

NOTES 1. Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” in The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (New York: Vintage International Edition, 1991), p. 89. 2. Trenton Doyle Hancock, conversations with the author, Fall 2007. 3. For more information on The Encyclopedic Palace, see http://www.labiennale. org/en/art/news/13-03.html. 4. Jack Mottram, “The Writing’s on the Wall: Just Don’t Ask What It’s Saying,” Herald Scotland, February 9, 2007, http://www.heraldscotland.com/the-writing-son-the-wall-just-don-t-ask-what-it-s-saying-1.852407.

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Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Stanley Whitney Moderated by

M A X F I E L DS

Max Fields (MF) What is your relationship to each other? Stanley Whitney (SW) Well, we first met when Trenton was a graduate student at Tyler [School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia], and since then our relationship has simply been artist to artist. Trenton Doyle Hancock (TDH) Yeah, now we’re just a couple of artists hanging out, but in the beginning Stanley was a mentor for me and still is in many ways. When I came to Tyler, I didn’t know any black male artists. So when I met Stanley, I said, “Oh, okay, this exists. . . . I’m in the right place.” SW That’s funny because when I was a young black artist, I felt the same way. TDH Really? SW I was going to Kansas City in 1968, but I didn’t think there were any other black artists around. I didn’t have any black teachers, so it’s interesting to hear you felt the same, because people might think that doesn’t happen anymore, but it still kind of exists. TDH It’s totally possible to go through your whole schooling and not have that kind of mentorship. SW That’s what I wanted to avoid at Tyler. When I met Trent, I was chair of the Painting and Drawing Department. I was trying to run a program that had a lot of interesting people of color— a real diverse graduate student program. It was a great time. All the students from that period, including Trent, are doing quite well. MF Can you recall the first time you met? TDH I remember the first time we spoke. It was over the phone. I was calling to get information about the Future Faculty Fellowship, and you said, “Just tell the committee that you want to teach and they’ll give you the money” [laughs]. And I thought, “Well, that’s an

30

option; maybe I’ll want to teach one day,” but I didn’t understand politically what the fellowship was about. I was just happy to get the support. I’m from the South and had never really traveled much, and I had a very narrow range of experience. My idea of a black man who painted was very different than the voice I heard over the phone. So getting to Tyler and actually meeting you—I think it was in a hallway in passing—made an immediate impression on me. All I could think was, “Oh wow, this is a totally different world.” SW I forgot about that scholarship. The university was offering fellowships to African Americans and the idea was that you had to go out in the world and teach. You had to submit a statement that said you wanted to teach. TDH I was debating on whether I should write that. I thought, “You know, I’m not sure,” and you said . . . SW “Just write it!” [laughs] TDH Just write it! [laughs] MF What was your relationship like in the classroom? SW Well, the way it worked with the graduate students was that they had their own studios and the professors would visit them one on one. In my graduate classes, I would visit the studios individually and every once in a while I’d do group crits. So, I think the first class of the semester, I don’t know if you remember this, Trent, I would take the students from studio to studio. We’d all go around and people would introduce themselves and I’d have them talk about their work. And then I would talk to them about their studio and their work. But from my point of view, what I said was one thing and what they heard could be totally different. TDH I remember that environment and trying to acclimate to it. I was very excited. My attitude was, “Whatever you guys throw at

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Painting Grads Welcome You, 1999

me, I want to deal with it and be part of this new crazy community.” I remember going around to everyone’s studio. I had been set up for at least a few weeks so I was trying to get my studio flow together. There was stuff lying around and it was pretty much in disarray and I asked the question, “So, when you order your studio in a certain way, does it affect your mentality?” And you turned to me and said, “That’s a very good question, especially for you, to ask.” My studio at the time was an absolute mess, I didn’t know what I was thinking, and I didn’t know what I wanted to make. Most importantly, I didn’t understand the correlation between studio health, studio upkeep, and mental ease. MF What was Trenton like as a student? SW He was a very good student. I think there’s a real art to being a student, and even when you’re picking your graduate class, you want to have people who are really wide open, people who want big change, who want to change their lives. Trent didn’t have to go to graduate school. He was already well established; he was in his first Whitney Biennial when he was in his second year. So, he could have had a huge ego and dismissed the other students, but he didn’t—just like he is now. He’s so receptive to everything. He was a good student in how he would really listen to you. You know, some things would go in one ear and out the other, but he definitely listened to people, considered everything, and I think that’s why he’s a very special artist. He has a healthy attitude and is excited about life. It’s something you can see in his work.

MF Trenton, what brought you to Tyler? And what made you want to stay with Stanley? Maybe you could describe your drive to have a life-changing moment in grad school? TDH It was 1997 and I was at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and there was one person younger than me there. I was naive. I had never met kids from either the West Coast or the East Coast. I was just buried in Texas, so that’s all I knew. Needless to say, it was interesting meeting people from all over. It was at that point when I started to think about grad school. I had become friends with Maki Tamura, who was in the program at Tyler and was also at Skowhegan that summer. I asked for her advice and she said, “Oh, the program I’m in is really good and you should look into it.” Around the same time, within a week, Rona Pondick and her husband, Robert Feintuch, came as visiting artists—they were there in a mentoring capacity. They said, “Our friend Stanley is the chair of the department at Tyler and it’s a really great program.” They talked it up and said, “You should look into it. There’s actually a lot of financial opportunities; they give artists of color help to get in and to work. It’s a really solid program if you’re serious.” So hearing it from several different people, I thought, “I’ll look into this Tyler thing and see what it’s about.” I got accepted into a few other schools, but Tyler just seemed the best overall. I didn’t know anything about Philadelphia, I didn’t have any aspirations to be there, but once I got there, I knew I was in the right place.

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Trenton Doyle Hancock in Conversation with Stanley Whitney Moderated by

M A X F I E L DS

Max Fields (MF) What is your relationship to each other? Stanley Whitney (SW) Well, we first met when Trenton was a graduate student at Tyler [School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia], and since then our relationship has simply been artist to artist. Trenton Doyle Hancock (TDH) Yeah, now we’re just a couple of artists hanging out, but in the beginning Stanley was a mentor for me and still is in many ways. When I came to Tyler, I didn’t know any black male artists. So when I met Stanley, I said, “Oh, okay, this exists. . . . I’m in the right place.” SW That’s funny because when I was a young black artist, I felt the same way. TDH Really? SW I was going to Kansas City in 1968, but I didn’t think there were any other black artists around. I didn’t have any black teachers, so it’s interesting to hear you felt the same, because people might think that doesn’t happen anymore, but it still kind of exists. TDH It’s totally possible to go through your whole schooling and not have that kind of mentorship. SW That’s what I wanted to avoid at Tyler. When I met Trent, I was chair of the Painting and Drawing Department. I was trying to run a program that had a lot of interesting people of color— a real diverse graduate student program. It was a great time. All the students from that period, including Trent, are doing quite well. MF Can you recall the first time you met? TDH I remember the first time we spoke. It was over the phone. I was calling to get information about the Future Faculty Fellowship, and you said, “Just tell the committee that you want to teach and they’ll give you the money” [laughs]. And I thought, “Well, that’s an

30

option; maybe I’ll want to teach one day,” but I didn’t understand politically what the fellowship was about. I was just happy to get the support. I’m from the South and had never really traveled much, and I had a very narrow range of experience. My idea of a black man who painted was very different than the voice I heard over the phone. So getting to Tyler and actually meeting you—I think it was in a hallway in passing—made an immediate impression on me. All I could think was, “Oh wow, this is a totally different world.” SW I forgot about that scholarship. The university was offering fellowships to African Americans and the idea was that you had to go out in the world and teach. You had to submit a statement that said you wanted to teach. TDH I was debating on whether I should write that. I thought, “You know, I’m not sure,” and you said . . . SW “Just write it!” [laughs] TDH Just write it! [laughs] MF What was your relationship like in the classroom? SW Well, the way it worked with the graduate students was that they had their own studios and the professors would visit them one on one. In my graduate classes, I would visit the studios individually and every once in a while I’d do group crits. So, I think the first class of the semester, I don’t know if you remember this, Trent, I would take the students from studio to studio. We’d all go around and people would introduce themselves and I’d have them talk about their work. And then I would talk to them about their studio and their work. But from my point of view, what I said was one thing and what they heard could be totally different. TDH I remember that environment and trying to acclimate to it. I was very excited. My attitude was, “Whatever you guys throw at

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Painting Grads Welcome You, 1999

me, I want to deal with it and be part of this new crazy community.” I remember going around to everyone’s studio. I had been set up for at least a few weeks so I was trying to get my studio flow together. There was stuff lying around and it was pretty much in disarray and I asked the question, “So, when you order your studio in a certain way, does it affect your mentality?” And you turned to me and said, “That’s a very good question, especially for you, to ask.” My studio at the time was an absolute mess, I didn’t know what I was thinking, and I didn’t know what I wanted to make. Most importantly, I didn’t understand the correlation between studio health, studio upkeep, and mental ease. MF What was Trenton like as a student? SW He was a very good student. I think there’s a real art to being a student, and even when you’re picking your graduate class, you want to have people who are really wide open, people who want big change, who want to change their lives. Trent didn’t have to go to graduate school. He was already well established; he was in his first Whitney Biennial when he was in his second year. So, he could have had a huge ego and dismissed the other students, but he didn’t—just like he is now. He’s so receptive to everything. He was a good student in how he would really listen to you. You know, some things would go in one ear and out the other, but he definitely listened to people, considered everything, and I think that’s why he’s a very special artist. He has a healthy attitude and is excited about life. It’s something you can see in his work.

MF Trenton, what brought you to Tyler? And what made you want to stay with Stanley? Maybe you could describe your drive to have a life-changing moment in grad school? TDH It was 1997 and I was at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and there was one person younger than me there. I was naive. I had never met kids from either the West Coast or the East Coast. I was just buried in Texas, so that’s all I knew. Needless to say, it was interesting meeting people from all over. It was at that point when I started to think about grad school. I had become friends with Maki Tamura, who was in the program at Tyler and was also at Skowhegan that summer. I asked for her advice and she said, “Oh, the program I’m in is really good and you should look into it.” Around the same time, within a week, Rona Pondick and her husband, Robert Feintuch, came as visiting artists—they were there in a mentoring capacity. They said, “Our friend Stanley is the chair of the department at Tyler and it’s a really great program.” They talked it up and said, “You should look into it. There’s actually a lot of financial opportunities; they give artists of color help to get in and to work. It’s a really solid program if you’re serious.” So hearing it from several different people, I thought, “I’ll look into this Tyler thing and see what it’s about.” I got accepted into a few other schools, but Tyler just seemed the best overall. I didn’t know anything about Philadelphia, I didn’t have any aspirations to be there, but once I got there, I knew I was in the right place.

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SW Yes, those were good years. I remember them being special. As I mentioned before, I was chair of the department at the time. I was running the graduate program in painting and drawing. I wanted it to be very diverse. You know, I just didn’t see it anywhere else. One of my deans, Rockie Toner, supported my vision and so did Temple University; at the time they had money for minority and foreign students. So I really went out into the community. I kind of put the word out—if you have interesting minority students send them to me. Tyler ended up getting a lot of really good people, such as Trent, as well as Deborah Grant, William Villalongo, Anoka Faruqee, and Iva Gueorguieva. I was able to get interesting people, and it propelled me into furthering the program. I was in my late forties/early fifties and I had taken up a position where I could really make a difference. I had the chance to mold it into something. I wanted a program that had minority people in it, but that wasn’t what they had to be—they didn’t have to address race. I wanted it to be wide open and deal with the issue of not letting someone, not letting the outside world, tell you who you are. You decide who you are. No one tells you, “You’re this.” TDH Well, it was interesting because what I took from it was that you taught us how to step outside the conversation, to look at it kind of objectively. Of course, race is part of the conversation, but you taught us to be in charge of our identity and to be able to morph and mold . . . just move through space more effectively. I think that and the combination of always taking class trips to New York, seeing what was current, seeing the history of things and just how we fit into it—that was important. A lot of schools don’t have that kind of well-rounded conversation. MF Stanley, can you talk about the influences that led you to shape the program, maybe historically, in a way that helped artists like Trenton? SW Well, I think it was just my own education, you know, what I saw. I was from Philadelphia but went to school in Kansas City. I wanted to go to the Art Student’s League of New York, but my counselor told me if I went there I’d get drafted right away. It was the early ’60s. And so I went out to the Midwest. The Kansas City Art Institute had just opened new buildings and they were recruiting, so I ended up there. I didn’t know anything about art, because if I had, I wouldn’t have left Philadelphia for Kansas City. I just really needed to get away. I felt like I was the only person— I didn’t really know any painters of color, so it was my education. Then I went to Yale and met Bob Reed, but I still didn’t know many people. I did meet a lot of people in the ’70s. There was a lot going on—in terms of the art world, in terms of race. So I got to teaching. I didn’t think I was going to teach for long, but when I got to Tyler and became chair, I thought, “You know, this is what I want to do.” So it was a good run; it was a real good run. In a way I’m sorry I couldn’t keep it up because of my own work and my life. I really wanted to be an administrator, so I did what I could. I don’t think there are many programs like that. I think for students now

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there are fellowships and residencies at places such as The Studio Museum in Harlem, but I wanted Tyler to be very open and have a lot of possibilities. So I think a lot got done, I think there are people out in the world now who are spreading it, and so I think it worked out really well.

one color or another that they just start talking about how the color affects them. So for me, my paintings are sort of silent, but then the viewer envisions the narrative, which is kind of what I want. I want the painting to be a place to wander, and so it’s like having paintings out of paintings out of paintings. I think where art is politically, it’s about mental health—it’s about being a healthy human. I don’t think people really understand the importance of art. Art is about addressing psychological needs. I’ve thought about it a lot because, when I was a student in Kansas City, there was a lot going on with race, a lot going on with the Freedom Riders, Black Panthers, all this stuff, and Panthers would always ask me, “Stanley, what are you doing?” And I’d say, “I want to paint.” And they’d say, “What’s that going to do for the race?” And I couldn’t answer that question. I knew I wanted to paint and I thought it was important, but I couldn’t answer what it meant for race.

MF Let’s talk about drawing as a foundation. SW I think drawing is the key. No matter what you do, drawing matters. You see that in terms of many artists. You see how Rothko didn’t draw and Guston did. That’s a good example of how drawing can save you. You see that even after the fact in abstract painters like Brice Marden. Drawing sort of saved him. I think most artists come up drawing. When I was a kid, I drew everything. For me, no matter what it ends up being, it all goes back to drawing. TDH I’ve always drawn, and it’s been a major part of my identity ever since I could pick up a pencil. It’s the place that I ran to, but of course, I didn’t realize the multi-purposefulness of drawing when I was younger. Eventually I learned about how an artist gets from space to space through the channel of drawing. The key to making those transitions is usually through this kind of graphic charting. You have to strip away everything that you learn and then go back to the first skill, and from there, you can move forward. Drawing helps me evaluate, change, and reassert the whole mechanics of my thinking, but it doesn’t necessarily mean picking up a pencil and making a mark. It means getting to a kind of diaristic shorthand—a safety net—and when the ideas get too big, drawing can be a stabilizing factor. By this definition, drawing could take the form of photography, collecting and ordering things, or making notations. Stanley, you were always talking about the importance of drawing. Tyler in general was very traditional and drawingcentric. From there I started looking at other artists—how their practices were driven by drawing. SW For me, drawing is really thinking on paper. I came out of a tradition of painting by people who didn’t draw; they just painted. So in school I was in figure-drawing class, but when I looked at modern painters—say Barnett Newman or Clyfford Still—I didn’t see their drawings and it didn’t seem like they really drew. And I saw that the artists who didn’t draw suffered because of it, and I realized that I had to go back in and try to figure out what is drawing for me? So drawing became the way I could really think on paper. And I draw in only black and white. I want to see where I can get in black and white. Like Trenton’s work, drawing is the bare bones, trying to get the skeleton of it all. And I think that drawing, no matter what you do as an artist, is an intellectual endeavor. It is important to get art in the right space. And if you’re going to get it in the right space and the right scale, then you have to draw. Drawing is everything. MF Can we talk about the integration of personal narratives in art and the place for social and critical thinking specifically within your works? How does that develop? What’s the importance of it? TDH Certainly, my belief is that no one can accurately tell my story but me, and it greatly interests me to do so. I have so many

MF What do you think drives you to pull back the veil on your own mental health in order to influence other people? By putting your work on display, by showing, by having an audience? How does this occur within the confines of a larger art-historical narrative? SW Well, firstly, I think the work needs an audience. You can work a little bit without an audience—I worked for a long time without one—but after a while, the work demands an audience, so I think that’s important.

Stanley Whitney’s studio, New York City, 2013

questions about who I am, why I do the things I do, and why I look the way I look. I attempt to find these answers through painting and drawing. Because self-discovery is a primary concern for me, I focus my attention on a very personal pool of resources. I build integrity and stability in my practice by using material that I can stand behind (memories, personal artifacts, behavioral patterns, etc.), things that I’ve tested over the course of years, and I’ve weighed these results with my findings from the outside world. But all artists do this on some level. You can’t get away from yourself. I realized this early on. It’s futile to try, so I chose to go full speed the other direction into the self. Once you dig deep enough, your findings may become useful not only to you but also to other people. I never count on the latter, though. SW Yeah, I’m not sure about the question. I was just talking to someone who sells my paintings, and he was saying that when he shows my works that have a lot of color, people start talking about the color, in terms of what the green or blue, etc., reminds them of. It becomes a narrative more than a painting. And sometimes it’s really hard to sell the work because people get so involved with

TDH I think first I would have to define what the idea of mental health even is. For me, it’s giving people the power to think critically and for themselves. To me, that’s mental health. I think there’s maybe a wider view, or a general view, of what mental health is. For instance, the idea of intellectual normalcy or, maybe, finding ways to pacify and put people in an easier state. And I don’t necessarily think that’s healthy. There are institutional structures in place to keep people from questioning power. That’s what pop culture tends to push onto people—images that kind of keep you in a holding pattern. I’m interested in a culture of people that think progressively and want to move forward, and oftentimes there’s growing pains involved with that questioning and the waging of mini-revolutions within yourself. Art encourages those revolutions, so to me that’s healthy. SW That’s what I mean by mental health. Because you want to put an image out there that people maybe have never seen before, causing them to ask, “What’s this? Where did this come from? How was it made? What’s it do? What am I looking at?” It’s a scary position for a lot of people. Most people don’t want to deal with art—progressive art—because of that. And I think about mental health and I think about people who are courageous enough to go out there and deal with this world’s unknown. We can pretend we know where we are, but we really don’t know anything. You’re putting things out there that can terrify people. I try to paint things that I don’t even recognize. I try to make work that I can’t even handle for a week or two.

33


SW Yes, those were good years. I remember them being special. As I mentioned before, I was chair of the department at the time. I was running the graduate program in painting and drawing. I wanted it to be very diverse. You know, I just didn’t see it anywhere else. One of my deans, Rockie Toner, supported my vision and so did Temple University; at the time they had money for minority and foreign students. So I really went out into the community. I kind of put the word out—if you have interesting minority students send them to me. Tyler ended up getting a lot of really good people, such as Trent, as well as Deborah Grant, William Villalongo, Anoka Faruqee, and Iva Gueorguieva. I was able to get interesting people, and it propelled me into furthering the program. I was in my late forties/early fifties and I had taken up a position where I could really make a difference. I had the chance to mold it into something. I wanted a program that had minority people in it, but that wasn’t what they had to be—they didn’t have to address race. I wanted it to be wide open and deal with the issue of not letting someone, not letting the outside world, tell you who you are. You decide who you are. No one tells you, “You’re this.” TDH Well, it was interesting because what I took from it was that you taught us how to step outside the conversation, to look at it kind of objectively. Of course, race is part of the conversation, but you taught us to be in charge of our identity and to be able to morph and mold . . . just move through space more effectively. I think that and the combination of always taking class trips to New York, seeing what was current, seeing the history of things and just how we fit into it—that was important. A lot of schools don’t have that kind of well-rounded conversation. MF Stanley, can you talk about the influences that led you to shape the program, maybe historically, in a way that helped artists like Trenton? SW Well, I think it was just my own education, you know, what I saw. I was from Philadelphia but went to school in Kansas City. I wanted to go to the Art Student’s League of New York, but my counselor told me if I went there I’d get drafted right away. It was the early ’60s. And so I went out to the Midwest. The Kansas City Art Institute had just opened new buildings and they were recruiting, so I ended up there. I didn’t know anything about art, because if I had, I wouldn’t have left Philadelphia for Kansas City. I just really needed to get away. I felt like I was the only person— I didn’t really know any painters of color, so it was my education. Then I went to Yale and met Bob Reed, but I still didn’t know many people. I did meet a lot of people in the ’70s. There was a lot going on—in terms of the art world, in terms of race. So I got to teaching. I didn’t think I was going to teach for long, but when I got to Tyler and became chair, I thought, “You know, this is what I want to do.” So it was a good run; it was a real good run. In a way I’m sorry I couldn’t keep it up because of my own work and my life. I really wanted to be an administrator, so I did what I could. I don’t think there are many programs like that. I think for students now

32

there are fellowships and residencies at places such as The Studio Museum in Harlem, but I wanted Tyler to be very open and have a lot of possibilities. So I think a lot got done, I think there are people out in the world now who are spreading it, and so I think it worked out really well.

one color or another that they just start talking about how the color affects them. So for me, my paintings are sort of silent, but then the viewer envisions the narrative, which is kind of what I want. I want the painting to be a place to wander, and so it’s like having paintings out of paintings out of paintings. I think where art is politically, it’s about mental health—it’s about being a healthy human. I don’t think people really understand the importance of art. Art is about addressing psychological needs. I’ve thought about it a lot because, when I was a student in Kansas City, there was a lot going on with race, a lot going on with the Freedom Riders, Black Panthers, all this stuff, and Panthers would always ask me, “Stanley, what are you doing?” And I’d say, “I want to paint.” And they’d say, “What’s that going to do for the race?” And I couldn’t answer that question. I knew I wanted to paint and I thought it was important, but I couldn’t answer what it meant for race.

MF Let’s talk about drawing as a foundation. SW I think drawing is the key. No matter what you do, drawing matters. You see that in terms of many artists. You see how Rothko didn’t draw and Guston did. That’s a good example of how drawing can save you. You see that even after the fact in abstract painters like Brice Marden. Drawing sort of saved him. I think most artists come up drawing. When I was a kid, I drew everything. For me, no matter what it ends up being, it all goes back to drawing. TDH I’ve always drawn, and it’s been a major part of my identity ever since I could pick up a pencil. It’s the place that I ran to, but of course, I didn’t realize the multi-purposefulness of drawing when I was younger. Eventually I learned about how an artist gets from space to space through the channel of drawing. The key to making those transitions is usually through this kind of graphic charting. You have to strip away everything that you learn and then go back to the first skill, and from there, you can move forward. Drawing helps me evaluate, change, and reassert the whole mechanics of my thinking, but it doesn’t necessarily mean picking up a pencil and making a mark. It means getting to a kind of diaristic shorthand—a safety net—and when the ideas get too big, drawing can be a stabilizing factor. By this definition, drawing could take the form of photography, collecting and ordering things, or making notations. Stanley, you were always talking about the importance of drawing. Tyler in general was very traditional and drawingcentric. From there I started looking at other artists—how their practices were driven by drawing. SW For me, drawing is really thinking on paper. I came out of a tradition of painting by people who didn’t draw; they just painted. So in school I was in figure-drawing class, but when I looked at modern painters—say Barnett Newman or Clyfford Still—I didn’t see their drawings and it didn’t seem like they really drew. And I saw that the artists who didn’t draw suffered because of it, and I realized that I had to go back in and try to figure out what is drawing for me? So drawing became the way I could really think on paper. And I draw in only black and white. I want to see where I can get in black and white. Like Trenton’s work, drawing is the bare bones, trying to get the skeleton of it all. And I think that drawing, no matter what you do as an artist, is an intellectual endeavor. It is important to get art in the right space. And if you’re going to get it in the right space and the right scale, then you have to draw. Drawing is everything. MF Can we talk about the integration of personal narratives in art and the place for social and critical thinking specifically within your works? How does that develop? What’s the importance of it? TDH Certainly, my belief is that no one can accurately tell my story but me, and it greatly interests me to do so. I have so many

MF What do you think drives you to pull back the veil on your own mental health in order to influence other people? By putting your work on display, by showing, by having an audience? How does this occur within the confines of a larger art-historical narrative? SW Well, firstly, I think the work needs an audience. You can work a little bit without an audience—I worked for a long time without one—but after a while, the work demands an audience, so I think that’s important.

Stanley Whitney’s studio, New York City, 2013

questions about who I am, why I do the things I do, and why I look the way I look. I attempt to find these answers through painting and drawing. Because self-discovery is a primary concern for me, I focus my attention on a very personal pool of resources. I build integrity and stability in my practice by using material that I can stand behind (memories, personal artifacts, behavioral patterns, etc.), things that I’ve tested over the course of years, and I’ve weighed these results with my findings from the outside world. But all artists do this on some level. You can’t get away from yourself. I realized this early on. It’s futile to try, so I chose to go full speed the other direction into the self. Once you dig deep enough, your findings may become useful not only to you but also to other people. I never count on the latter, though. SW Yeah, I’m not sure about the question. I was just talking to someone who sells my paintings, and he was saying that when he shows my works that have a lot of color, people start talking about the color, in terms of what the green or blue, etc., reminds them of. It becomes a narrative more than a painting. And sometimes it’s really hard to sell the work because people get so involved with

TDH I think first I would have to define what the idea of mental health even is. For me, it’s giving people the power to think critically and for themselves. To me, that’s mental health. I think there’s maybe a wider view, or a general view, of what mental health is. For instance, the idea of intellectual normalcy or, maybe, finding ways to pacify and put people in an easier state. And I don’t necessarily think that’s healthy. There are institutional structures in place to keep people from questioning power. That’s what pop culture tends to push onto people—images that kind of keep you in a holding pattern. I’m interested in a culture of people that think progressively and want to move forward, and oftentimes there’s growing pains involved with that questioning and the waging of mini-revolutions within yourself. Art encourages those revolutions, so to me that’s healthy. SW That’s what I mean by mental health. Because you want to put an image out there that people maybe have never seen before, causing them to ask, “What’s this? Where did this come from? How was it made? What’s it do? What am I looking at?” It’s a scary position for a lot of people. Most people don’t want to deal with art—progressive art—because of that. And I think about mental health and I think about people who are courageous enough to go out there and deal with this world’s unknown. We can pretend we know where we are, but we really don’t know anything. You’re putting things out there that can terrify people. I try to paint things that I don’t even recognize. I try to make work that I can’t even handle for a week or two.

33


MF Can you talk about authentic voice and how you maintain it through the highs and the lows of creating? TDH Authentic voice? If you think too much about your voice, it becomes inauthentic. You have to know that whatever comes out of you is going to be you. There was a point in my making when I was editing a lot—I was saying there’s too much this, too much that, and not realizing it’s just something you have to work through. The things that aren’t of your voice will naturally fall to the wayside. The sum total of all that you make, different attitudes and different starting points, becomes your identity and becomes an authentic voice at the end of the day, but it’s not something you can anticipate. It’s kind of always after the fact. SW Yeah, I mean, you are who you are. It’s funny, but I don’t have much choice about it, to tell you the truth. It’s just who I am. For me, I always follow the work—I trust the work. I had a hard time finding what my subject matter was, but I just followed the work. You’re the first audience, you’re the first person seeing it, so you have to really deal with it. Sometimes you make things and you think, “Who made that? Did I make that?” And then the big thing is, can you live with it? Some people just throw it out. I always liked the fact that Picasso never threw anything away. He probably saw things and thought, “God, you can live with that? That’s so ugly.” But it’s so ugly, it’s beautiful; he could deal with it, as opposed to “Get rid of that! That’s not me!” And so you have those moments, or even now, I have paintings—or characters from them—that reappear all the time. I have a painting that I don’t really like, but it always reappears, and I can’t do anything about it. It just happens, and I’d be a fool to edit it because I don’t know what the future is going to bring or when I’m really going to need something. With art, it’s about being courageous, for the artist and the viewer. It’s about having courage. MF Valerie wants me to ask about a discussion you had in which you stressed the importance of maintaining a community—can you recount that exchange? TDH So 15 or 20 years out, I’m still very close with a lot of the artists that were my studio mates, both as undergraduates and at the graduate level. My professors always stressed that we as young artists stick together, and to understand that it is rare to find someone that you trust, someone that you can bring into your studio that’s going to tell you the truth. A good friend will come into the studio and say, “Dude, that’s bullshit. What are you doing? Why did you go there? Let’s talk about this. What’s going on?” And it’s not just that, these are the same people that will be able to tell you things about other aspects of your life. If you’re going through a divorce, they’ll be there for you . . . through the good and bad times. Through all that stuff, you want to have those kinds of relationships. And I think Tyler was the first place I heard an artist actually say the word love in a critique. That was amazing! To say, “Where’s the love in this painting?” And to think about that and realize they were right. All of this would collapse if there wasn’t this kind of love or deep investment. Some people may call it something else, but when you get down to it, it’s the love of paint-

34

ing, it’s the love of ideas, it’s the passion. And to be in a community that supports that kind of language was very important. I’m happy I found those people. Like I said, 15 and 20 years later we’re still in constant contact, and we still travel across the country to see one another’s shows, because we know that means something. SW Yeah, I think that’s very important. It’s rare because you don’t really want to be the only one. You both can and can’t do much on your own. You can do a lot in your own studio, but of course when you go into your studio, you’ve already brought a lot with you, and then you have to face what it all means. In order to do that, you have to have the support and community. I think it’s the nature of what human beings are. I always say I’m a hermit, but I’m a hermit in the sense of when I paint, I’m by myself, but if you think about all the other artists that came before you, you’re part of the community that wanted to be an artist. And every artist has a really acute idea of what art history is. I think it’s very important to have people in your life who can tell you what it is or isn’t. I’m an older artist now, so a lot of the people I know have had to deal with the fact that art is really hard to make. I had a good friend— a very good artist— die at fifty; he drank and smoked a lot because his art was really hard to make. It wasn’t easy. So the community is very, very important. And I think young artists are always looking for that community—they’re trying to figure out where to go to make art. As soon as they graduate, they’re thinking, “Where am I going to make art? What’s going to support me?” And I always tell people, if you do what’s best for the art, you can’t go wrong. It’s great to see that people are sticking together and doing well. It was a good group of faculty; it was a good group of students. I would say at that time and in that spot, the faculty, the students we had, the program we ran, it was a good time. And you see it with Trent and others from the group who are now having a big impact in terms of what people and younger artists are seeing.

was just the opposite of me and very into being literal. So we had a lot of opposites, and students had a lot of choices. It was a good moment. TDH From the inside of the program, I felt like I was being formed and informed. One time I got to sit in when the professors were picking the next year’s students. That experience made me think about the school community even more deeply. Hardly any of the chosen students were the ones I would have picked, but y’all saw something that I simply couldn’t see at the time. So that was an interesting learning experience for me, and that’s what I look for now . . . these diamonds in the rough, these people that maybe aren’t getting support because their work rests somewhere outside the lines of the current conversation. Given ten years, those very artists might become the tastemakers. As for the Tyler community, my peers and I were this collection of misfits, and it was like we were moving toward something, but I couldn’t necessarily see how we fit together. People branched out into their own cliques, and there were lots of emotional hiccups, but the bottom line was that there was respect among us all. When you went into someone’s studio, that was their sanctum, a special place where that person could work through something, trying their hardest to get from point A to point Z. That was the community. It wasn’t this “oh we all go out and we party together” kind of thing. It was something else. It was about hard work and respect.

SW Yeah, that’s a big part of it. You don’t want the students to feel like I’m going to be the one getting ahead of the rest of you, or I’m going to be the lucky one. In the art world, you see that all the time. Why did so-and-so get a show at the Guggenheim—why not someone else? And you can get the kind of attitude from people in the art world who get very jealous, so you really want the students to feel a community as opposed to the mindset, “Well it’s about me, forget you.” You really want them to learn to say, “No, we’re all in this together, maybe someone will be a little more successful at one time or another, but so what? We’re all in this together.” That’s a big thing, and you don’t want people to think that I’ve closed doors, and that you can’t come to my studio. Or you don’t want someone to say, “Well, he’s a teacher’s pet or he’s more favored than me.” Because people develop at different times, people develop in different ways, and you want students to learn that early because they might need someone later on. And that was a big part of it, too—what is a good healthy artist community? I’m glad we got that done. It’s funny because sitting here, I haven’t talked about it for a while now, and so reminiscing is good. It was a really special time.

This conversation took place on February 21, 2014, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Transcribed by Max Fields.

MF I’m curious to know why Tyler had so many successful students at one time. Do you think they were influenced by that sense of community Trenton described? Can you expand on that a bit? I know we’ve touched on it. SW Well, at that time I was chair, and I wanted to put together a really solid graduate program—a really caring, loving program— and I had the opportunity to do so. When I first started teaching, I never thought I’d be at it for more than a couple of years. I was just telling a class at Cooper Union, it’s only one semester and I’ll never be here again, just like at Tyler. And I was there 30 years. I went to art school, so I didn’t really learn to read and write at a high level, because in my time they took your portfolio and if you could draw, you got in. But I began teaching and really enjoyed it. Eventually, I had the opportunity to become chair. The dean at the time, Rockie Toner, who was a lesbian, supported me. Maybe because she was lesbian, she could see the “other” more clearly. Maybe, maybe not, but she did. I had a chance to do something, and I thought of it like being in the studio, the same way as looking at paintings—here’s a chance to really make something. I took the leap. I had good and diverse faculty members around me, such as Coco Fusco, who

35


MF Can you talk about authentic voice and how you maintain it through the highs and the lows of creating? TDH Authentic voice? If you think too much about your voice, it becomes inauthentic. You have to know that whatever comes out of you is going to be you. There was a point in my making when I was editing a lot—I was saying there’s too much this, too much that, and not realizing it’s just something you have to work through. The things that aren’t of your voice will naturally fall to the wayside. The sum total of all that you make, different attitudes and different starting points, becomes your identity and becomes an authentic voice at the end of the day, but it’s not something you can anticipate. It’s kind of always after the fact. SW Yeah, I mean, you are who you are. It’s funny, but I don’t have much choice about it, to tell you the truth. It’s just who I am. For me, I always follow the work—I trust the work. I had a hard time finding what my subject matter was, but I just followed the work. You’re the first audience, you’re the first person seeing it, so you have to really deal with it. Sometimes you make things and you think, “Who made that? Did I make that?” And then the big thing is, can you live with it? Some people just throw it out. I always liked the fact that Picasso never threw anything away. He probably saw things and thought, “God, you can live with that? That’s so ugly.” But it’s so ugly, it’s beautiful; he could deal with it, as opposed to “Get rid of that! That’s not me!” And so you have those moments, or even now, I have paintings—or characters from them—that reappear all the time. I have a painting that I don’t really like, but it always reappears, and I can’t do anything about it. It just happens, and I’d be a fool to edit it because I don’t know what the future is going to bring or when I’m really going to need something. With art, it’s about being courageous, for the artist and the viewer. It’s about having courage. MF Valerie wants me to ask about a discussion you had in which you stressed the importance of maintaining a community—can you recount that exchange? TDH So 15 or 20 years out, I’m still very close with a lot of the artists that were my studio mates, both as undergraduates and at the graduate level. My professors always stressed that we as young artists stick together, and to understand that it is rare to find someone that you trust, someone that you can bring into your studio that’s going to tell you the truth. A good friend will come into the studio and say, “Dude, that’s bullshit. What are you doing? Why did you go there? Let’s talk about this. What’s going on?” And it’s not just that, these are the same people that will be able to tell you things about other aspects of your life. If you’re going through a divorce, they’ll be there for you . . . through the good and bad times. Through all that stuff, you want to have those kinds of relationships. And I think Tyler was the first place I heard an artist actually say the word love in a critique. That was amazing! To say, “Where’s the love in this painting?” And to think about that and realize they were right. All of this would collapse if there wasn’t this kind of love or deep investment. Some people may call it something else, but when you get down to it, it’s the love of paint-

34

ing, it’s the love of ideas, it’s the passion. And to be in a community that supports that kind of language was very important. I’m happy I found those people. Like I said, 15 and 20 years later we’re still in constant contact, and we still travel across the country to see one another’s shows, because we know that means something. SW Yeah, I think that’s very important. It’s rare because you don’t really want to be the only one. You both can and can’t do much on your own. You can do a lot in your own studio, but of course when you go into your studio, you’ve already brought a lot with you, and then you have to face what it all means. In order to do that, you have to have the support and community. I think it’s the nature of what human beings are. I always say I’m a hermit, but I’m a hermit in the sense of when I paint, I’m by myself, but if you think about all the other artists that came before you, you’re part of the community that wanted to be an artist. And every artist has a really acute idea of what art history is. I think it’s very important to have people in your life who can tell you what it is or isn’t. I’m an older artist now, so a lot of the people I know have had to deal with the fact that art is really hard to make. I had a good friend— a very good artist— die at fifty; he drank and smoked a lot because his art was really hard to make. It wasn’t easy. So the community is very, very important. And I think young artists are always looking for that community—they’re trying to figure out where to go to make art. As soon as they graduate, they’re thinking, “Where am I going to make art? What’s going to support me?” And I always tell people, if you do what’s best for the art, you can’t go wrong. It’s great to see that people are sticking together and doing well. It was a good group of faculty; it was a good group of students. I would say at that time and in that spot, the faculty, the students we had, the program we ran, it was a good time. And you see it with Trent and others from the group who are now having a big impact in terms of what people and younger artists are seeing.

was just the opposite of me and very into being literal. So we had a lot of opposites, and students had a lot of choices. It was a good moment. TDH From the inside of the program, I felt like I was being formed and informed. One time I got to sit in when the professors were picking the next year’s students. That experience made me think about the school community even more deeply. Hardly any of the chosen students were the ones I would have picked, but y’all saw something that I simply couldn’t see at the time. So that was an interesting learning experience for me, and that’s what I look for now . . . these diamonds in the rough, these people that maybe aren’t getting support because their work rests somewhere outside the lines of the current conversation. Given ten years, those very artists might become the tastemakers. As for the Tyler community, my peers and I were this collection of misfits, and it was like we were moving toward something, but I couldn’t necessarily see how we fit together. People branched out into their own cliques, and there were lots of emotional hiccups, but the bottom line was that there was respect among us all. When you went into someone’s studio, that was their sanctum, a special place where that person could work through something, trying their hardest to get from point A to point Z. That was the community. It wasn’t this “oh we all go out and we party together” kind of thing. It was something else. It was about hard work and respect.

SW Yeah, that’s a big part of it. You don’t want the students to feel like I’m going to be the one getting ahead of the rest of you, or I’m going to be the lucky one. In the art world, you see that all the time. Why did so-and-so get a show at the Guggenheim—why not someone else? And you can get the kind of attitude from people in the art world who get very jealous, so you really want the students to feel a community as opposed to the mindset, “Well it’s about me, forget you.” You really want them to learn to say, “No, we’re all in this together, maybe someone will be a little more successful at one time or another, but so what? We’re all in this together.” That’s a big thing, and you don’t want people to think that I’ve closed doors, and that you can’t come to my studio. Or you don’t want someone to say, “Well, he’s a teacher’s pet or he’s more favored than me.” Because people develop at different times, people develop in different ways, and you want students to learn that early because they might need someone later on. And that was a big part of it, too—what is a good healthy artist community? I’m glad we got that done. It’s funny because sitting here, I haven’t talked about it for a while now, and so reminiscing is good. It was a really special time.

This conversation took place on February 21, 2014, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Transcribed by Max Fields.

MF I’m curious to know why Tyler had so many successful students at one time. Do you think they were influenced by that sense of community Trenton described? Can you expand on that a bit? I know we’ve touched on it. SW Well, at that time I was chair, and I wanted to put together a really solid graduate program—a really caring, loving program— and I had the opportunity to do so. When I first started teaching, I never thought I’d be at it for more than a couple of years. I was just telling a class at Cooper Union, it’s only one semester and I’ll never be here again, just like at Tyler. And I was there 30 years. I went to art school, so I didn’t really learn to read and write at a high level, because in my time they took your portfolio and if you could draw, you got in. But I began teaching and really enjoyed it. Eventually, I had the opportunity to become chair. The dean at the time, Rockie Toner, who was a lesbian, supported me. Maybe because she was lesbian, she could see the “other” more clearly. Maybe, maybe not, but she did. I had a chance to do something, and I thought of it like being in the studio, the same way as looking at paintings—here’s a chance to really make something. I took the leap. I had good and diverse faculty members around me, such as Coco Fusco, who

35


SELECTED WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

36

37


SELECTED WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

36

37


Telephone Harassment, 1995 ETSU Maintenance, 1995

pp. 36–37 Cave Scape #5 (detail), 2010 p. 38 Grammy, 1995

38

39


Telephone Harassment, 1995 ETSU Maintenance, 1995

pp. 36–37 Cave Scape #5 (detail), 2010 p. 38 Grammy, 1995

38

39


The Fratboy Philip Playset, 1996 Recent Studies, 1996

Flatulogenics, 1996 Up Close, 1996

40

41


The Fratboy Philip Playset, 1996 Recent Studies, 1996

Flatulogenics, 1996 Up Close, 1996

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41


Lady Lion Casserole, 1996

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Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw, 2014, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014. The 30 drawings are reproduced in a separate comic book inside the back cover of this catalogue.

43


Lady Lion Casserole, 1996

42

Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw, 2014, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014. The 30 drawings are reproduced in a separate comic book inside the back cover of this catalogue.

43


p. 44 Humph, That’s a Dead Kid, 1996

44

I Hugged an Aquatic Icy Figure, 1996

45


p. 44 Humph, That’s a Dead Kid, 1996

44

I Hugged an Aquatic Icy Figure, 1996

45


Like Guston but Blacker and Worse, 1997

46

Welcome to Camp Get Me the Hell Outta Here, 1997

47


Like Guston but Blacker and Worse, 1997

46

Welcome to Camp Get Me the Hell Outta Here, 1997

47


Ferroneous Revealed, 2008

48

Snake, 1996

49


Ferroneous Revealed, 2008

48

Snake, 1996

49


Spelldown (wallpaper installation and two details), 2006–14

50

51


Spelldown (wallpaper installation and two details), 2006–14

50

51


Monster (Water-Based), 2010

Alien Form Experiments No. 3, 2004

p. 53 Population No. 2 (Portrait), 2004

52

53


Monster (Water-Based), 2010

Alien Form Experiments No. 3, 2004

p. 53 Population No. 2 (Portrait), 2004

52

53


Cave Scape #4 (detail), 2010

54

Cave Scape #3, 2010

55


Cave Scape #4 (detail), 2010

54

Cave Scape #3, 2010

55


Me Turning into Torpedoboy, 1984 Torpedoboy Fights a Bear, 1984

p. 56 . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me, 2011

56

57


Me Turning into Torpedoboy, 1984 Torpedoboy Fights a Bear, 1984

p. 56 . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me, 2011

56

57


Sad, 1998

A Day in the Life of Nintendo, 1991

58

Nobody Told Me Art School Would Look Like This, 1999

59


Sad, 1998

A Day in the Life of Nintendo, 1991

58

Nobody Told Me Art School Would Look Like This, 1999

59


!TIHS, 1999

60

Time to Remodel, 1997

61


!TIHS, 1999

60

Time to Remodel, 1997

61


Treasure Measure, 1998 Mom Said to Share, 1998

62

A Family Moment, 1998

63


Treasure Measure, 1998 Mom Said to Share, 1998

62

A Family Moment, 1998

63


Pizza Inn: Only Mean Animals Die for Our Meat, We Promise, 1998

64

Complacent Bumpyhead, 2010

65


Pizza Inn: Only Mean Animals Die for Our Meat, We Promise, 1998

64

Complacent Bumpyhead, 2010

65


You Can’t Beat God Givin’ No Matter How Hard You Try, 2004 Mobile Mound, 2004

66

Skowhegan Summer Sicko, 1997

67


You Can’t Beat God Givin’ No Matter How Hard You Try, 2004 Mobile Mound, 2004

66

Skowhegan Summer Sicko, 1997

67


Looking Back, 2010 Fear Drawing, 2008

Faster, 2010

68

69


Looking Back, 2010 Fear Drawing, 2008

Faster, 2010

68

69


Self-Portrait with Tongue, 2010

70

Sometimes We Can’t Have the Things We Want, 2009

71


Self-Portrait with Tongue, 2010

70

Sometimes We Can’t Have the Things We Want, 2009

71


Scrape 1, 2011 Regent of Positivity, 2011

72

The Everlasting Arms Version 1, 2010

73


Scrape 1, 2011 Regent of Positivity, 2011

72

The Everlasting Arms Version 1, 2010

73


We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good, 2010 The Bear Den, 2012

74

The Doorstop, 2010

75


We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good, 2010 The Bear Den, 2012

74

The Doorstop, 2010

75


Buff and Britches, 2010

76

Trentbear (diptych), 2010

77


Buff and Britches, 2010

76

Trentbear (diptych), 2010

77


When They Found Me, I Wasn’t There, 2011

78

Bloat, 2013

79


When They Found Me, I Wasn’t There, 2011

78

Bloat, 2013

79


Raw materials and works in progress in Trenton Doyle Hancock’s studio, Houston, 2014

80

It Came from Studio Floor, artist-drawn wall text (Encounter with Vegans 1–5), installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014 81


Raw materials and works in progress in Trenton Doyle Hancock’s studio, Houston, 2014

80

It Came from Studio Floor, artist-drawn wall text (Encounter with Vegans 1–5), installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014 81


Large hand-drawn numbers correspond to numbered wall text entries in installation views (pp. 81, 87).

Encounter with Vegans 1 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 Encounter with Vegans 2 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002

82

Encounter with Vegans 5 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 83


Large hand-drawn numbers correspond to numbered wall text entries in installation views (pp. 81, 87).

Encounter with Vegans 1 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 Encounter with Vegans 2 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002

82

Encounter with Vegans 5 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 83


Encounter with Prostitute 1 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 84

Encounter with Prostitute 3 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 85


Encounter with Prostitute 1 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 84

Encounter with Prostitute 3 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002 85


It Came from Studio Floor, artist-drawn wall text (Encounter with Prostitute 1–5), installation views, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

Encounter with Prostitute 4 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002

86

87


It Came from Studio Floor, artist-drawn wall text (Encounter with Prostitute 1–5), installation views, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

Encounter with Prostitute 4 (drawing for It Came from Studio Floor), 2002

86

87


P

p. 88 From a Legend to a Choir: Study No. 5 (for AT&T Stadium), 2009

88

Wow That’s Me?, 2000

89


P

p. 88 From a Legend to a Choir: Study No. 5 (for AT&T Stadium), 2009

88

Wow That’s Me?, 2000

89


Torpedoboy Masturbating, 1999

90

Torpedoboy Peeing, 1999

91


Torpedoboy Masturbating, 1999

90

Torpedoboy Peeing, 1999

91


Vegan Salad, 1999

92

Go Vegan, 1999

93


Vegan Salad, 1999

92

Go Vegan, 1999

93


Judgment #1, 1998 Judgment #2, 2000, with artist-drawn text on wall, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

94

95


Judgment #1, 1998 Judgment #2, 2000, with artist-drawn text on wall, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

94

95


Family Portrait (Mound Half and Ape Half ), 2003

96

97


Family Portrait (Mound Half and Ape Half ), 2003

96

97


pp. 100–101 Fresher Fields (details), 2003 (background) The End of Almacroyn, 2006 (left) Mound #1 and His Daddy, 2006

98

Sibling Rivalry, 2003–6

Come with Me, 2006 (right)

99


pp. 100–101 Fresher Fields (details), 2003 (background) The End of Almacroyn, 2006 (left) Mound #1 and His Daddy, 2006

98

Sibling Rivalry, 2003–6

Come with Me, 2006 (right)

99


100

101


100

101


Wow That’s Mean I, 2008

102

We Love You, 2003

103


Wow That’s Mean I, 2008

102

We Love You, 2003

103


Friends Indeed, 2000

104

105


Friends Indeed, 2000

104

105


Vegans Collect Moundmeat in Buckets, 2002

106

Mound #1 The Legend, 2001

107


Vegans Collect Moundmeat in Buckets, 2002

106

Mound #1 The Legend, 2001

107


Big Tooth, 2001 Tooth Ring, 2001

p. 109 Vegan Meat Training, 2000–1

108

109


Big Tooth, 2001 Tooth Ring, 2001

p. 109 Vegan Meat Training, 2000–1

108

109


Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #4, 2007

110

Howdy, 2000

Join Us, 2002

pp. 112–13 Artist-painted wall and select drawings from the Moundish section of Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

111


Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #4, 2007

110

Howdy, 2000

Join Us, 2002

pp. 112–13 Artist-painted wall and select drawings from the Moundish section of Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

111


112

113


112

113


Detail of artist-painted waves and wall with select works, including various Soul drawings, from the Moundish section of Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

114

The Legend Breathes His Very First Death Breath, 2001

pp. 116–17 Bye and Bye, 2002

115


Detail of artist-painted waves and wall with select works, including various Soul drawings, from the Moundish section of Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014

114

The Legend Breathes His Very First Death Breath, 2001

pp. 116–17 Bye and Bye, 2002

115


116

117


116

117


Ugly Vegan Mob Attacks Torpedoboy, 2005

118

Vegans in the Sewer, 2004

119


Ugly Vegan Mob Attacks Torpedoboy, 2005

118

Vegans in the Sewer, 2004

119


Sacroiliac Egg Sac, 2005 To Get Ahead One Must Sacrifice Certain Freedoms, 2005

Who Actually Cares That You’re Good at That, 2006

120

121


Sacroiliac Egg Sac, 2005 To Get Ahead One Must Sacrifice Certain Freedoms, 2005

Who Actually Cares That You’re Good at That, 2006

120

121


Cult of Color, 2004

122

Bound, 2006

123


Cult of Color, 2004

122

Bound, 2006

123


Faith Has Brought Us thus Far but Skill Shall Sustain Us, 2006

124

The Pink Pull, 2009

125


Faith Has Brought Us thus Far but Skill Shall Sustain Us, 2006

124

The Pink Pull, 2009

125


Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness (study), 2005

126

Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness, 2005

127


Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness (study), 2005

126

Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness, 2005

127


Moundmeat Shower Unit, 2007

128

Vegans Send Newly Acquired Moundmeat to the Tofu Converter, 2004 129


Moundmeat Shower Unit, 2007

128

Vegans Send Newly Acquired Moundmeat to the Tofu Converter, 2004 129


Sole Con Console, 2006 Goober’s Intrusion, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Vegan, 2006

130

131


Sole Con Console, 2006 Goober’s Intrusion, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Vegan, 2006

130

131


Studies for Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, 2006–8:

132

Bone Throne

Illustrations for artist’s monograph, Me a Mound, 2004–5

Anthony

The Birth of the Mounds

Betto Watchow Headdress

The Life and Death of #1, Part 1

133


Studies for Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, 2006–8:

132

Bone Throne

Illustrations for artist’s monograph, Me a Mound, 2004–5

Anthony

The Birth of the Mounds

Betto Watchow Headdress

The Life and Death of #1, Part 1

133


Wolf detail of Destination Mound Town mural in miniature train tunnel, Hermann Park, Houston, 2012–14. Commissioned by Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration

134

Wolf (study for Destination Mound Town, detail) , 2012–13

135


Wolf detail of Destination Mound Town mural in miniature train tunnel, Hermann Park, Houston, 2012–14. Commissioned by Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration

134

Wolf (study for Destination Mound Town, detail) , 2012–13

135


right: Dusk detail of Destination Mound Town mural in miniature train tunnel, Hermann Park, Houston, 2012–14. Commissioned by Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration Dusk (study for Destination Mound Town) , 2012–13

136

137


right: Dusk detail of Destination Mound Town mural in miniature train tunnel, Hermann Park, Houston, 2012–14. Commissioned by Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration Dusk (study for Destination Mound Town) , 2012–13

136

137


Leaving Home, 1998

138

Bone Zone #1, 2013

139


Leaving Home, 1998

138

Bone Zone #1, 2013

139


Catalogue of the Exhibition

Shower the People, 1997 Ink, graphite, and mixed media on paper 11 x 8½ inches Skowhegan Summer Sicko, 1997 Graphite on paper 11 x 8½ inches Time to Remodel, 1997 Graphite and collage on paper 11½ x 8¾ inches

All works courtesy the artist unless otherwise noted. Height precedes width.

Me Turning into Torpedoboy, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

ETSU Maintenance, 1995 Ink on paper 8¼ x 9½ inches

The Water, 1995 Ink on paper 6½ x 5 inches

Lady Lion Casserole, 1996 Ink on paper 9¼ x 10½ inches

Torpedoboy Fights Aliens, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Grammy, 1995 Ink on paper 11 x 8¾ inches

The Bank, 1996 Ink on paper 8 x 7 inches

The Meaning of Life, 1996 Ink on paper 8¾ x 9¾ inches

Torpedoboy Fights a Bear, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Hancock Twins, 1995 Ink on paper 7¾ x 10¼ inches

Casablanca Revised, 1996 Ink and collage on paper 9 x 11 inches

A Path I Took, 1996 Ink on paper 9 x 9½ inches

Torpedoboy Fights a Gorilla, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Hard Times, 1995 Ink on paper 7 x 7 inches

Change Is Growths Do Change, 1996 Ink on paper 9 x 11 inches

Torpedoboy Flying, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Jeff, 1995 Ink on paper 6 x 4 inches

Torpedoboy vs. a Giant, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Lee, 1995 Ink on paper 7¼ x 5 inches

Torpedoboy vs. the Killer Plants, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 8 x 10½ inches

Olga, 1995 Ink on paper 9½ x 10½ inches

A Day in the Life of Nintendo, 1991 Ink on paper 2 sheets, 11½ x 9 inches each Untitled (Cheers), 1991 Ink on paper 8½ x 11 inches Golf: The Desecration of the Gopher’s Home, 1992 Graphite on paper 12½ x 17½ inches The Unknown Artist, 1994 Ink on paper 6½ x 14½ inches Golf: The Desecration of the Gopher’s Home (Self-Portrait), 1994–95 Ink and graphite on vellum 13 x 17 inches Cleanse, 1995 Ink on paper 9 x 9 inches

140

Safe Sex, 1995 Ink on paper 7½ x 7¼ inches Something, 1995 Ink on paper 8 x 5¾ inches Stan, 1995 Ink on paper 5½ x 9½ inches Telephone Harassment, 1995 Ink on paper 7¼ x 7¼ inches Untitled (Badge), 1995 Ink and collage on paper 2 x 3½ inches Warning to the Artist about the Future of Mounds, 1995 Acrylic, pen, collage, and mixed media on paper 16 x 19½ inches

Welcome to Camp Get Me the Hell Outta Here, 1997 Ink, graphite, and acrylic on paper 30 x 30 inches

Treasure Measure, 1998 Ink and acrylic on paper 11 x 8½ inches Untitled, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 12¾ x 9 inches Private collection, Fort Worth Wipe Up, Wipe Up, 1998 Acrylic on paper 22 x 15¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

A Family Moment, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 22¼ x 30¼ inches Private collection, Fort Worth

Beanie and the Bike, 1999 Ink on paper 10½ x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Recent Studies, 1996 Ink on paper 5½ x 12 inches

Judgment #1, 1998 Ink and marker on paper 25½ x 24 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Bubble-blowing Bob, 1999 Graphite, ink, and collage on paper 11½ x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Registration Office, 1996 Ink on paper 7¾ x 11¼ inches

Leaving Home, 1998 Acrylic on paper 11 x 8½ inches

Fuck You Philadelphia, 1999 Ink on paper 15½ x 13¾ inches

Eco-Lies, 1996 Ink on paper 6 x 9¾ inches

Set Adrift on Memories Bliss, 1996 Acrylic, graphite, and collage on paper 44½ x 35 inches

Go Vegan, 1999 Graphite and acrylic on paper 30 x 22 inches

Eff This, 1996 Ink on paper 9½ x 12½ inches

The Slip, 1996 Ink on paper 11 x 9 inches

Mom Said to Share, 1998 Ink, acrylic, and graphite on paper 15 x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Flatulogenics, 1996 Ink on paper 13 x 11¼ inches

Snake, 1996 Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper 16 x 8½ inches

The Fratboy Philip Playset, 1996 Ink on paper 11½ x 10 inches

Sometimes, I Just Stand There, 1996 Graphite and acrylic on paper 12 x 10 inches

Cuddles Is Love, 1996 Ink on paper 8 x 12½ inches

Humph, That’s a Dead Kid, 1996 Acrylic, ink, and wax pencil on paper 19 x 13½ inches I Hugged an Aquatic Icy Figure, 1996 Acrylic, graphite, and collage on paper 58 x 42 inches Collection Nash and Marion Flores, Dallas I Was in a Plane Flying Over an Ocean at Dusk, 1996 Graphite on paper 11 x 8½ inches

The Switch, 1996 Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper 2 sheets, 18⅞ x 13½ inches each Up Close, 1996 Ink on paper 9½ x 9 inches Like Guston but Blacker and Worse, 1997 Ink, graphite, and collage on paper 17 x 15½ inches Secret Reserve, 1997 Acrylic and pen on paper 9½ x 6¾ inches

!OOOOO!, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 15 x 11½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Permodoe, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 8½ x 6½ inches Private collection, Fort Worth Pizza Inn: Only Mean Animals Die for Our Meat, We Promise, 1998 Ink, acrylic, graphite, and mixed media collage on cardboard box 22½ x 19¾ inches Sad, 1998 Ink and marker on paper 11 x 8½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Sub, 1998 Acrylic, ink, and graphite on paper 18½ x 23¾ inches

Lepracondriac, 1999 Acrylic on cardboard 29½ x 24 inches Collection Elisabeth Ross Wingate, New York Meanwhile Back at the Mansion, 1999 Acrylic, ink, and pencil on paper 8¼ x 8 inches Private collection, Fort Worth Nobody Told Me Art School Would Look Like This, 1999 Ink and acrylic on paper 14½ x 13¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Oh Shit the Cops, 1999 Ink, marker, and acrylic on cardboard 24 x 25 inches Painting Grads Welcome You, 1999 Ink, acrylic, and collage on cardboard 39 x 48½ inches

Rome Is Where the Real Art Lies, 1999 Ink and acrylic on paper 12 x 10 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Salad, 1999 Graphite on paper 21 x 28½ inches !TIHS, 1999 Acrylic, collage, gel medium, and vinyl on paper 21 x 22½ inches Torpedoboy Masturbating, 1999 Ink on paper 12 x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Torpedoboy Peeing, 1999 Mixed media on cardboard 42½ x 64 inches open Torpedoboy Stops Shoplifter with Nail, 1999 Ink on vinyl 15 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Vegan Salad, 1999 Mixed media on paper 48 x 82 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Capture, 2000 Graphite and collage on paper 9¾ x 15½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Friends Indeed, 2000 Mixed media on canvas 72 x 96 inches Collection Lester Marks, Houston Howdy, 2000 Ink on paper 11 x 8½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Judgment #2, 2000 Acrylic on paper 55 x 59½ inches Collection Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer, Asheville, North Carolina

Paint Blind Made Progress, 2000 Ink on paper 9 x 12½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Souls, 2000–1 Soul 1, 2000 Graphite on paper 10⅛ x 8⅛ inches Soul 2, 2000 Graphite on paper 8¼ x 6¼ inches Soul 3, 2001 Graphite on paper 8⅛ x 6⅛ inches Soul 4, 2001 Graphite on paper 8¼ x 6¼ inches Soul 5, 2000 Graphite on paper 5⅛ x 4⅛ inches Soul 6–23, 2000 Graphite on paper 18 sheets, 7⅛ x 5⅛ inches each Soul 24, 2001 Graphite on paper 7¼ x 5½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Wow That’s Me?, 2000 Graphite on paper 6¾ x 9 inches Collection Rebecca and Scott Tankersley, Dallas Vegan Meat Training, 2000–1 Mixed media on paper 53 x 46 inches Collection Jeanne and Michael L. Klein, Austin, Texas Big Tooth, 2001 Graphite on paper 9½ x 7½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Break, 2001 Mixed media on paper 7¾ x 5¾ inches Collection Samuel R. Peterson, Hamden, Connecticut

141


Catalogue of the Exhibition

Shower the People, 1997 Ink, graphite, and mixed media on paper 11 x 8½ inches Skowhegan Summer Sicko, 1997 Graphite on paper 11 x 8½ inches Time to Remodel, 1997 Graphite and collage on paper 11½ x 8¾ inches

All works courtesy the artist unless otherwise noted. Height precedes width.

Me Turning into Torpedoboy, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

ETSU Maintenance, 1995 Ink on paper 8¼ x 9½ inches

The Water, 1995 Ink on paper 6½ x 5 inches

Lady Lion Casserole, 1996 Ink on paper 9¼ x 10½ inches

Torpedoboy Fights Aliens, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Grammy, 1995 Ink on paper 11 x 8¾ inches

The Bank, 1996 Ink on paper 8 x 7 inches

The Meaning of Life, 1996 Ink on paper 8¾ x 9¾ inches

Torpedoboy Fights a Bear, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Hancock Twins, 1995 Ink on paper 7¾ x 10¼ inches

Casablanca Revised, 1996 Ink and collage on paper 9 x 11 inches

A Path I Took, 1996 Ink on paper 9 x 9½ inches

Torpedoboy Fights a Gorilla, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Hard Times, 1995 Ink on paper 7 x 7 inches

Change Is Growths Do Change, 1996 Ink on paper 9 x 11 inches

Torpedoboy Flying, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Jeff, 1995 Ink on paper 6 x 4 inches

Torpedoboy vs. a Giant, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 7¾ x 10½ inches

Lee, 1995 Ink on paper 7¼ x 5 inches

Torpedoboy vs. the Killer Plants, 1984 Graphite on notebook paper 8 x 10½ inches

Olga, 1995 Ink on paper 9½ x 10½ inches

A Day in the Life of Nintendo, 1991 Ink on paper 2 sheets, 11½ x 9 inches each Untitled (Cheers), 1991 Ink on paper 8½ x 11 inches Golf: The Desecration of the Gopher’s Home, 1992 Graphite on paper 12½ x 17½ inches The Unknown Artist, 1994 Ink on paper 6½ x 14½ inches Golf: The Desecration of the Gopher’s Home (Self-Portrait), 1994–95 Ink and graphite on vellum 13 x 17 inches Cleanse, 1995 Ink on paper 9 x 9 inches

140

Safe Sex, 1995 Ink on paper 7½ x 7¼ inches Something, 1995 Ink on paper 8 x 5¾ inches Stan, 1995 Ink on paper 5½ x 9½ inches Telephone Harassment, 1995 Ink on paper 7¼ x 7¼ inches Untitled (Badge), 1995 Ink and collage on paper 2 x 3½ inches Warning to the Artist about the Future of Mounds, 1995 Acrylic, pen, collage, and mixed media on paper 16 x 19½ inches

Welcome to Camp Get Me the Hell Outta Here, 1997 Ink, graphite, and acrylic on paper 30 x 30 inches

Treasure Measure, 1998 Ink and acrylic on paper 11 x 8½ inches Untitled, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 12¾ x 9 inches Private collection, Fort Worth Wipe Up, Wipe Up, 1998 Acrylic on paper 22 x 15¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

A Family Moment, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 22¼ x 30¼ inches Private collection, Fort Worth

Beanie and the Bike, 1999 Ink on paper 10½ x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Recent Studies, 1996 Ink on paper 5½ x 12 inches

Judgment #1, 1998 Ink and marker on paper 25½ x 24 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Bubble-blowing Bob, 1999 Graphite, ink, and collage on paper 11½ x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Registration Office, 1996 Ink on paper 7¾ x 11¼ inches

Leaving Home, 1998 Acrylic on paper 11 x 8½ inches

Fuck You Philadelphia, 1999 Ink on paper 15½ x 13¾ inches

Eco-Lies, 1996 Ink on paper 6 x 9¾ inches

Set Adrift on Memories Bliss, 1996 Acrylic, graphite, and collage on paper 44½ x 35 inches

Go Vegan, 1999 Graphite and acrylic on paper 30 x 22 inches

Eff This, 1996 Ink on paper 9½ x 12½ inches

The Slip, 1996 Ink on paper 11 x 9 inches

Mom Said to Share, 1998 Ink, acrylic, and graphite on paper 15 x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Flatulogenics, 1996 Ink on paper 13 x 11¼ inches

Snake, 1996 Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper 16 x 8½ inches

The Fratboy Philip Playset, 1996 Ink on paper 11½ x 10 inches

Sometimes, I Just Stand There, 1996 Graphite and acrylic on paper 12 x 10 inches

Cuddles Is Love, 1996 Ink on paper 8 x 12½ inches

Humph, That’s a Dead Kid, 1996 Acrylic, ink, and wax pencil on paper 19 x 13½ inches I Hugged an Aquatic Icy Figure, 1996 Acrylic, graphite, and collage on paper 58 x 42 inches Collection Nash and Marion Flores, Dallas I Was in a Plane Flying Over an Ocean at Dusk, 1996 Graphite on paper 11 x 8½ inches

The Switch, 1996 Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper 2 sheets, 18⅞ x 13½ inches each Up Close, 1996 Ink on paper 9½ x 9 inches Like Guston but Blacker and Worse, 1997 Ink, graphite, and collage on paper 17 x 15½ inches Secret Reserve, 1997 Acrylic and pen on paper 9½ x 6¾ inches

!OOOOO!, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 15 x 11½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Permodoe, 1998 Acrylic and ink on paper 8½ x 6½ inches Private collection, Fort Worth Pizza Inn: Only Mean Animals Die for Our Meat, We Promise, 1998 Ink, acrylic, graphite, and mixed media collage on cardboard box 22½ x 19¾ inches Sad, 1998 Ink and marker on paper 11 x 8½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Sub, 1998 Acrylic, ink, and graphite on paper 18½ x 23¾ inches

Lepracondriac, 1999 Acrylic on cardboard 29½ x 24 inches Collection Elisabeth Ross Wingate, New York Meanwhile Back at the Mansion, 1999 Acrylic, ink, and pencil on paper 8¼ x 8 inches Private collection, Fort Worth Nobody Told Me Art School Would Look Like This, 1999 Ink and acrylic on paper 14½ x 13¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Oh Shit the Cops, 1999 Ink, marker, and acrylic on cardboard 24 x 25 inches Painting Grads Welcome You, 1999 Ink, acrylic, and collage on cardboard 39 x 48½ inches

Rome Is Where the Real Art Lies, 1999 Ink and acrylic on paper 12 x 10 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Salad, 1999 Graphite on paper 21 x 28½ inches !TIHS, 1999 Acrylic, collage, gel medium, and vinyl on paper 21 x 22½ inches Torpedoboy Masturbating, 1999 Ink on paper 12 x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Torpedoboy Peeing, 1999 Mixed media on cardboard 42½ x 64 inches open Torpedoboy Stops Shoplifter with Nail, 1999 Ink on vinyl 15 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Vegan Salad, 1999 Mixed media on paper 48 x 82 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Capture, 2000 Graphite and collage on paper 9¾ x 15½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Friends Indeed, 2000 Mixed media on canvas 72 x 96 inches Collection Lester Marks, Houston Howdy, 2000 Ink on paper 11 x 8½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Judgment #2, 2000 Acrylic on paper 55 x 59½ inches Collection Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer, Asheville, North Carolina

Paint Blind Made Progress, 2000 Ink on paper 9 x 12½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Souls, 2000–1 Soul 1, 2000 Graphite on paper 10⅛ x 8⅛ inches Soul 2, 2000 Graphite on paper 8¼ x 6¼ inches Soul 3, 2001 Graphite on paper 8⅛ x 6⅛ inches Soul 4, 2001 Graphite on paper 8¼ x 6¼ inches Soul 5, 2000 Graphite on paper 5⅛ x 4⅛ inches Soul 6–23, 2000 Graphite on paper 18 sheets, 7⅛ x 5⅛ inches each Soul 24, 2001 Graphite on paper 7¼ x 5½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Wow That’s Me?, 2000 Graphite on paper 6¾ x 9 inches Collection Rebecca and Scott Tankersley, Dallas Vegan Meat Training, 2000–1 Mixed media on paper 53 x 46 inches Collection Jeanne and Michael L. Klein, Austin, Texas Big Tooth, 2001 Graphite on paper 9½ x 7½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Break, 2001 Mixed media on paper 7¾ x 5¾ inches Collection Samuel R. Peterson, Hamden, Connecticut

141


Flower Bed, 2001 Pencil, ink, and watercolor on paper 35 x 22 inches The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Lester Marks For Rockwell, 2001 Ink and marker on manila folder 11¾ x 9¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London The Legend Breathes His Very First Death Breath, 2001 Mixed media on paper 44 x 43½ inches Collection Jane and James Cohan, New York Mound #1 In Danger, Loid Helps Out, 2001 Mixed media and collage on paper 13 x 10½ inches Collection Lawrence Rinder, Berkeley, California

It Came from Studio Floor, 2002 Encounter with Vegans 1–5 Graphite and acrylic on paper 1 and 4: 22½ x 24½ inches each; 2, 3, and 5: 24½ x 22½ inches each Encounter with Prostitute 1–5 Graphite and acrylic on paper 1, 2, and 5: 24½ x 22½ inches each; 3 and 4: 22½ x 24½ inches each All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Plants Bear Witness to All the World’s Atrocities, Secrets That Die in Our Breath, 2003 Graphite on paper 9 x 12 inches We Love You, 2003 Acrylic and ink on canvas 72 x 72 inches Collection David Alan Grier, Los Angeles Sibling Rivalry, 2003–6 Graphite and acrylic on paper 29 x 34 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Absorbed, 2004 Ink on paper 12 x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Mound #1 The Legend, 2001 Mixed media and collage on paper 22½ x 27 inches Collection James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, New York

Junior Mound Study, 2002 Graphite on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Alien Form Experiments No. 1, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 11¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Mound #5 Receives Visitorials, 2001 Mixed media and collage on paper 48 x 57 inches Collection DEPART Foundation, Grottaferrata, Italy, courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York

Torpedoboy Fights the Tree Lady (study), 2002 Graphite on paper 9 x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Alien Form Experiments No. 2, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

A Regular Moundmeat and Blow Up of That, 2001 Mixed media on paper 36 x 54 inches Collection Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, California

A Vegan, 2002 Graphite and collage on paper 10½ x 13 inches Collection Martina Yamin, New York

Alien Form Experiments No. 3, 2004 Ink on paper 12 x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Tooth Ring, 2001 Graphite on paper 10¼ x 11¾ inches Bye and Bye, 2002 Acrylic, ink, and mixed media on canvas 84 x 132 inches The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the African American Art Advisory Association Join Us, 2002 Mixed media on canvas 72½ x 84½ inches Collection Georgia and Christopher Erck, San Antonio

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Junior and the Bringbacks, 2002 Ink on paper 10 x 11½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Vegans Collect Moundmeat in Buckets, 2002 Graphite on paper 10½ x 10¾ inches Vegans Do Nasty Stuff, 2002 Graphite on paper 8 x 11¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Family Portrait (Mound Half and Ape Half ), 2003 Pencil, ink, and acrylic on paper 2 sheets, 36½ x 26⅝ inches each Collection Stewart Ginsberg , Chappaqua, New York Fresher Fields, 2003 Ink on paper 46 x 46 inches Collection Susan and Lewis Manilow, Chicago

Birth of Bringback, 2004 Ink on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Cult of Color, 2004 Mixed media on paper 28¼ x 25 inches Collection Rosa and Aaron H. Esman, M.D., New York The Head of the Legend, 2004 Mixed media and collage on paper 8 x 10¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Mobile Mound, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Population No. 1 (Landscape), 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Birth of the Vegans, 2005 Ink, graphite, and collage on paper 12 x 18 inches Bye and Bye, 2005 Ink and graphite on paper 12 x 18 inches Bye and Bye Logo, 2005 3 x 15½ inches It Came from Studio Floor, 2005 Acrylic, marker, and graphite on paper 11½ x 17½ inches

Sacroiliac Egg Sac, 2005 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee To Get Ahead One Must Sacrifice Certain Freedoms, 2005 Ink and acrylic on paper 6¼ x 9⅛ inches Collection Samuel R. Peterson , Hamden, Connecticut

St. Sesom and Minion Concept, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches Various Vegan Concepts, 2006 Graphite on paper 9 x 5 inches Call to Color: Sesom’s Bedroom, 2007 Ink on paper 5 x 9 inches Hoofry Gland Prop Study No. 1, 2008 Graphite, ink, collage, and canvas on paper 10¼ x 14 inches

Paul’s Test, 2006 Mixed media on paper 12 x 8 inches Private collection, New York Ridden and Sprayed, 2006 Acrylic on paper 18 x 20 inches Collection Kevin Graham, Pharr, Texas Sole Con Console, 2006 Ink and acrylic on paper 12 x 8⅛ inches Collection Charles Desmarais and Kitty Morgan, San Francisco

The Life and Death of #1, Part 1, 2005 Graphite and ink on paper 12 x 18 inches

Ugly Vegan Mob Attacks Torpedoboy, 2005 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Stone Prone, 2004 Pen, ink, and gouache on paper 11 x 7¾ inches Private collection, New Jersey

The Life and Death of #1, Part 2, 2005 Acrylic and graphite on paper 18 x 12 inches

Bound, 2006 Mixed media on canvas 24 x 24 inches Collection Anika Rahman, New York

Hoofry Gland Prop Study No. 3, 2008 Graphite, ink, collage, and canvas on paper 10¾ x 14 inches

There’s Nothing to Good Ideas, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches

Table of Contents, 2005 Graphite, ink, and collage on paper 14 x 11 inches

All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Trenton Doyle Handbook, 2006

Vegans in the Sewer, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Tofu Converters, 2005 Ink and graphite on paper 12 x 18 inches

Come with Me, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The End of Almacroyn, 2006 Pen on paper 9 x 12 inches

Illustrations for Trenton Doyle Handbook:

Population No. 2 (Portrait), 2004 Ink on paper 12 x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Vegans Send Newly Acquired Moundmeat to the Tofu Converter, 2004 Mixed media on canvas 61 x 61 inches Collection Jim and Paula Ohaus , Westfield, New Jersey You Can’t Beat God Givin’ No Matter How Hard You Try, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Aborted but Beautiful (study for etching), 2005 Graphite and mixed media on paper 10½ x 11¾ inches

Illustrations for Me a Mound monograph, 2004–5 Proposal for the Life and Death of #1 (chapter heading), 2004 Graphite and ink on paper 11 x 8½ inches The Birth of the Mounds, 2005 Graphite and ink on paper 12 x 18 inches

Torpedoboy Hears the Mounds’ Cry, 2005 Ink and graphite on paper 10¼ x 8 inches Untitled (Book Spine), 2005 Ink on paper 12 x 18 inches All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Miracle Machine #7 or Dehumidify and Solidify (study), 2005 Ink and acrylic on paper 10 x 9 inches Collection Tim Walsh and Mike Healy, Santa Barbara, California Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness, 2005 Mixed media on canvas 60 x 60 inches The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness (study), 2005 Ink and acrylic on paper 10 x 9¼ inches Collection Tim Walsh and Mike Healy, Santa Barbara, California

Studies for Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, 2006–8. Commissioned by Ballet Austin, with choreography by Stephen Mills and music by Graham Reynolds Anthony, 2006 Graphite on paper 9 x 5 inches Betto Watchow Headdress, 2006 Ink on paper 5 x 9 inches Bone Throne, 2006 Ink and acrylic on paper 9 x 5 inches Bow-Headed Lou, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches Bow-Headed Lou, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches TB (Torpedoboy) Concept, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches Paul Concept, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches

Hoofry Gland Prop Study No. 2, 2008 Ink, collage, and canvas on paper 11¼ x 14 inches

The Essence of Vegan Purity, 2006 Ink and paint on paper 12⅝ x 8⅛ inches Collection Julie Kinzelman and Christopher Tribble, Houston Faith Has Brought Us thus Far but Skill Shall Sustain Us, 2006 Mixed media on paper 22 x 22½ inches Private collection, New York Goober’s Intrusion, 2006 Mixed media on paper 6¼ x 10 inches Collection Jim and Paula Ohaus , Westfield, New Jersey The Knowish Pathway, 2006 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee Miracle Machine #19 or Whisk Wish, 2006 Graphite, ink, and acrylic on paper 8 x 7¼ inches Collection Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, New York Mound #1 and His Daddy, 2006 Ink and acrylic on paper 8½ x 11½ inches

Stay Hidden or They Will Kill You, 2006 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee

Trenton Doyle Handbook Offset ink on paper, 24 pages 9½ x 6½ inches

Almacroyn Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Anthony Preaches Ink on paper 6¼ x 7¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Darkness Baby Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Homerbuctas Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Torpedoboy Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Trudi and a John Ink on paper 8¼ x 6¼ inches Trudi Flooso Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches

143


Flower Bed, 2001 Pencil, ink, and watercolor on paper 35 x 22 inches The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Lester Marks For Rockwell, 2001 Ink and marker on manila folder 11¾ x 9¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London The Legend Breathes His Very First Death Breath, 2001 Mixed media on paper 44 x 43½ inches Collection Jane and James Cohan, New York Mound #1 In Danger, Loid Helps Out, 2001 Mixed media and collage on paper 13 x 10½ inches Collection Lawrence Rinder, Berkeley, California

It Came from Studio Floor, 2002 Encounter with Vegans 1–5 Graphite and acrylic on paper 1 and 4: 22½ x 24½ inches each; 2, 3, and 5: 24½ x 22½ inches each Encounter with Prostitute 1–5 Graphite and acrylic on paper 1, 2, and 5: 24½ x 22½ inches each; 3 and 4: 22½ x 24½ inches each All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Plants Bear Witness to All the World’s Atrocities, Secrets That Die in Our Breath, 2003 Graphite on paper 9 x 12 inches We Love You, 2003 Acrylic and ink on canvas 72 x 72 inches Collection David Alan Grier, Los Angeles Sibling Rivalry, 2003–6 Graphite and acrylic on paper 29 x 34 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Absorbed, 2004 Ink on paper 12 x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Mound #1 The Legend, 2001 Mixed media and collage on paper 22½ x 27 inches Collection James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, New York

Junior Mound Study, 2002 Graphite on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Alien Form Experiments No. 1, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 11¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Mound #5 Receives Visitorials, 2001 Mixed media and collage on paper 48 x 57 inches Collection DEPART Foundation, Grottaferrata, Italy, courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York

Torpedoboy Fights the Tree Lady (study), 2002 Graphite on paper 9 x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Alien Form Experiments No. 2, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

A Regular Moundmeat and Blow Up of That, 2001 Mixed media on paper 36 x 54 inches Collection Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, California

A Vegan, 2002 Graphite and collage on paper 10½ x 13 inches Collection Martina Yamin, New York

Alien Form Experiments No. 3, 2004 Ink on paper 12 x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Tooth Ring, 2001 Graphite on paper 10¼ x 11¾ inches Bye and Bye, 2002 Acrylic, ink, and mixed media on canvas 84 x 132 inches The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the African American Art Advisory Association Join Us, 2002 Mixed media on canvas 72½ x 84½ inches Collection Georgia and Christopher Erck, San Antonio

142

Junior and the Bringbacks, 2002 Ink on paper 10 x 11½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Vegans Collect Moundmeat in Buckets, 2002 Graphite on paper 10½ x 10¾ inches Vegans Do Nasty Stuff, 2002 Graphite on paper 8 x 11¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Family Portrait (Mound Half and Ape Half ), 2003 Pencil, ink, and acrylic on paper 2 sheets, 36½ x 26⅝ inches each Collection Stewart Ginsberg , Chappaqua, New York Fresher Fields, 2003 Ink on paper 46 x 46 inches Collection Susan and Lewis Manilow, Chicago

Birth of Bringback, 2004 Ink on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Cult of Color, 2004 Mixed media on paper 28¼ x 25 inches Collection Rosa and Aaron H. Esman, M.D., New York The Head of the Legend, 2004 Mixed media and collage on paper 8 x 10¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Mobile Mound, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Population No. 1 (Landscape), 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Birth of the Vegans, 2005 Ink, graphite, and collage on paper 12 x 18 inches Bye and Bye, 2005 Ink and graphite on paper 12 x 18 inches Bye and Bye Logo, 2005 3 x 15½ inches It Came from Studio Floor, 2005 Acrylic, marker, and graphite on paper 11½ x 17½ inches

Sacroiliac Egg Sac, 2005 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee To Get Ahead One Must Sacrifice Certain Freedoms, 2005 Ink and acrylic on paper 6¼ x 9⅛ inches Collection Samuel R. Peterson , Hamden, Connecticut

St. Sesom and Minion Concept, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches Various Vegan Concepts, 2006 Graphite on paper 9 x 5 inches Call to Color: Sesom’s Bedroom, 2007 Ink on paper 5 x 9 inches Hoofry Gland Prop Study No. 1, 2008 Graphite, ink, collage, and canvas on paper 10¼ x 14 inches

Paul’s Test, 2006 Mixed media on paper 12 x 8 inches Private collection, New York Ridden and Sprayed, 2006 Acrylic on paper 18 x 20 inches Collection Kevin Graham, Pharr, Texas Sole Con Console, 2006 Ink and acrylic on paper 12 x 8⅛ inches Collection Charles Desmarais and Kitty Morgan, San Francisco

The Life and Death of #1, Part 1, 2005 Graphite and ink on paper 12 x 18 inches

Ugly Vegan Mob Attacks Torpedoboy, 2005 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Stone Prone, 2004 Pen, ink, and gouache on paper 11 x 7¾ inches Private collection, New Jersey

The Life and Death of #1, Part 2, 2005 Acrylic and graphite on paper 18 x 12 inches

Bound, 2006 Mixed media on canvas 24 x 24 inches Collection Anika Rahman, New York

Hoofry Gland Prop Study No. 3, 2008 Graphite, ink, collage, and canvas on paper 10¾ x 14 inches

There’s Nothing to Good Ideas, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches

Table of Contents, 2005 Graphite, ink, and collage on paper 14 x 11 inches

All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Trenton Doyle Handbook, 2006

Vegans in the Sewer, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Tofu Converters, 2005 Ink and graphite on paper 12 x 18 inches

Come with Me, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The End of Almacroyn, 2006 Pen on paper 9 x 12 inches

Illustrations for Trenton Doyle Handbook:

Population No. 2 (Portrait), 2004 Ink on paper 12 x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Vegans Send Newly Acquired Moundmeat to the Tofu Converter, 2004 Mixed media on canvas 61 x 61 inches Collection Jim and Paula Ohaus , Westfield, New Jersey You Can’t Beat God Givin’ No Matter How Hard You Try, 2004 Ink on paper 9 x 12 inches Aborted but Beautiful (study for etching), 2005 Graphite and mixed media on paper 10½ x 11¾ inches

Illustrations for Me a Mound monograph, 2004–5 Proposal for the Life and Death of #1 (chapter heading), 2004 Graphite and ink on paper 11 x 8½ inches The Birth of the Mounds, 2005 Graphite and ink on paper 12 x 18 inches

Torpedoboy Hears the Mounds’ Cry, 2005 Ink and graphite on paper 10¼ x 8 inches Untitled (Book Spine), 2005 Ink on paper 12 x 18 inches All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Miracle Machine #7 or Dehumidify and Solidify (study), 2005 Ink and acrylic on paper 10 x 9 inches Collection Tim Walsh and Mike Healy, Santa Barbara, California Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness, 2005 Mixed media on canvas 60 x 60 inches The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas Miracle Machine #9 or The Furnace That Burned Together Goodness (study), 2005 Ink and acrylic on paper 10 x 9¼ inches Collection Tim Walsh and Mike Healy, Santa Barbara, California

Studies for Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, 2006–8. Commissioned by Ballet Austin, with choreography by Stephen Mills and music by Graham Reynolds Anthony, 2006 Graphite on paper 9 x 5 inches Betto Watchow Headdress, 2006 Ink on paper 5 x 9 inches Bone Throne, 2006 Ink and acrylic on paper 9 x 5 inches Bow-Headed Lou, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches Bow-Headed Lou, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches TB (Torpedoboy) Concept, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches Paul Concept, 2006 Ink on paper 9 x 5 inches

Hoofry Gland Prop Study No. 2, 2008 Ink, collage, and canvas on paper 11¼ x 14 inches

The Essence of Vegan Purity, 2006 Ink and paint on paper 12⅝ x 8⅛ inches Collection Julie Kinzelman and Christopher Tribble, Houston Faith Has Brought Us thus Far but Skill Shall Sustain Us, 2006 Mixed media on paper 22 x 22½ inches Private collection, New York Goober’s Intrusion, 2006 Mixed media on paper 6¼ x 10 inches Collection Jim and Paula Ohaus , Westfield, New Jersey The Knowish Pathway, 2006 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee Miracle Machine #19 or Whisk Wish, 2006 Graphite, ink, and acrylic on paper 8 x 7¼ inches Collection Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, New York Mound #1 and His Daddy, 2006 Ink and acrylic on paper 8½ x 11½ inches

Stay Hidden or They Will Kill You, 2006 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee

Trenton Doyle Handbook Offset ink on paper, 24 pages 9½ x 6½ inches

Almacroyn Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Anthony Preaches Ink on paper 6¼ x 7¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Darkness Baby Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Homerbuctas Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Torpedoboy Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Trudi and a John Ink on paper 8¼ x 6¼ inches Trudi Flooso Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Vegan, 2006 Pencil, ink, and gouache on paper 9¾ x 9 inches Collection Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, New York

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #7, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Erika Ranee Cosby, New York

Chiro Gryo, 2009 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 26 x 26 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Board to Death, 2010 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Vegan Arms, 2006 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee

Fear Drawing, 2008 Mixed media on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Pink Pull, 2009 Mixed media on paper 24 x 24 inches Collection Peter and Linda Zweig, Houston

Buff and Britches, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Sloan and Carli Schaffer, Los Angeles

Shedding, 2009 Ink on paper 9 x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Calm before the Laughter, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 6½ x 6½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Sometimes We Can’t Have the Things We Want, 2009 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 11 x 8½ inches Zang Collection, London

Cave Scape #1– #5, 2010 Acrylic, pen, and mixed media on paper 5 sheets, 6½ x 10 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Who Actually Cares That You’re Good at That, 2006 Mixed media on paper 12 x 8¼ inches Collection Gail Ann Rothman and Brent Rycroft, New York Spelldown, 2006–14 Wallpaper Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Flower Bed 2, A Prelude to Damnation Preparation, 2008 Ink on paper 29 x 33¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

March of the Ossilanterns (study), 2007 Ink, acrylic, and graphite on paper 7¾ x 11½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Wow That’s Mean I, 2008 Pen on paper 10 x 6½ inches Collection Jones Wajahat Family, New York

Moundmeat Shower Unit, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Martina Yamin, New York

Wow That’s Mean II, 2008 Ink on paper 10 x 6½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Ossiforms #1, 2007 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Studies for A Better Promise, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, 2008–10. Commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #3, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Study Nos. 1, 4, 6 Graphite and ink on paper 3 sheets, 8½ x 11 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #4, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Brooke Davis Anderson and Jay S. Potter, New York

Study Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7 Graphite and ink on paper 4 sheets, 11 x 8½ inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #5, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

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Ferroneous Revealed, 2008 Ink on paper 13¾ x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Studies for From a Legend to a Choir, mural for AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 2009. Commissioned by the Dallas Cowboys Study No. 1 Ink on paper 10 x 6 inches Study No. 2 Ink on paper 8 x 12 inches Study No. 3 Ink on paper 5½ x 5 inches Study No. 4 Ink on paper 10½ x 8 inches Study No. 5 Ink on paper 4 x 7½ inches Study (Walrus Head) Ink on paper 9 x 9 inches All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Complacent Bumpyhead, 2010 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Give Me My Flowers While I Yet Live, Version #1, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7½ x 7½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Like a Thief in the Night, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 5¾ x 6 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Looking Back, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7 x 8 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Man Don’t Work Don’t Eat, 2010 Acrylic and ink on paper 12 x 8 inches Private collection, Fort Worth Master Cave Scape I, 2010 Ink on paper 15 x 21¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Unruly, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7¼ x 6½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 6¼ x 6⅞ inches Collection Lea Weingarten, Houston We Fall Down, 2010 Ink on paper 13½ x 10¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me, 2011 Mixed media on paper 9 x 8 inches Collection KAWS, New York Aware of the Edge, 2011 Acrylic and graphite on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London The Hiker, 2011 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches

The Doorstop, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 8 x 10½ inches Collection Mary Alice and Christopher Paul, Dallas

Monster (Land-Based), 2010 Ink on paper 11 x 8 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Drum Man, 2010 Ink on paper 13½ x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Monster (Water-Based), 2010 Ink on paper 10½ x 8¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Notes about Daniel Johnston, 2011 Graphite and ink on paper 13½ x 10 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Everlasting Arms Version 1, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7¾ x 6¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Self-Portrait with Tongue, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Collection Charles Dee Mitchell, Dallas

One, One, One, and One, 2011 Mixed media on paper 13½ x 10¼ inches

Faster, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 13½ x 16 inches Zang Collection, London Fun Hole Funnel, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 13 x 12 inches Metoyer Collection, Houston and Amsterdam

Trentbear (diptych), 2010 Trentbear #1: acrylic and mixed media collage on paper; 11 x 7 inches Trentbear #2: acrylic and mixed media on paper; 10¾ x 10¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Hitter, 2011 Acrylic on paper 11 x 8½ inches

Regent of Positivity, 2011 Ink and acrylic on paper 10 x 6¼ inches

Scrape 1, 2011 Acrylic and ink on paper 10 x 6⅜ inches Private collection, New York When They Found Me, I Wasn’t There, 2011 Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper 10 x 6¼ inches The Bear Den, 2012 Acrylic on paper 12¼ x 12¼ inches Collection Noel Kirnon, New York Feline Energy Study, 2012 Ink on paper 8¼ x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Frozen Fish, 2012 Ink on paper 10 x 6¾ inches

Studies for Destination Mound Town, mural in miniature train tunnel, Hermann Park, Houston, 2012–13. Commissioned by Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration

Bloat, 2013 Ink on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Bone Zone #1, 2013 Ink on paper 11¾ x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Epidemic!: Head Morphing (Pencil Tests), 2013–14 Graphite on paper for animation cels 11 x 8½ inches each Epidemic!: Head Morphing (Animation Sequence), 2013–14 Digital video; 1:02 minutes Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw Nos. 1–30, 2014 Acrylic on paper and matte board with excised lettering, and gesso 19 x 12 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Dusk Ink and graphite on paper 13½ x 49 inches Morning Ink and graphite on paper 13½ x 32 inches Night Ink and graphite on paper 13½ x 41 inches Wolf Ink and graphite on paper 16 x 13½ inches All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Resistance of Memory, 2011 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

145


The Unbearable Lightness of Being Vegan, 2006 Pencil, ink, and gouache on paper 9¾ x 9 inches Collection Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, New York

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #7, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Erika Ranee Cosby, New York

Chiro Gryo, 2009 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 26 x 26 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Board to Death, 2010 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Vegan Arms, 2006 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches Collection Teresa and Brian Lipinski, Nashville, Tennessee

Fear Drawing, 2008 Mixed media on paper 9 x 12 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Pink Pull, 2009 Mixed media on paper 24 x 24 inches Collection Peter and Linda Zweig, Houston

Buff and Britches, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Sloan and Carli Schaffer, Los Angeles

Shedding, 2009 Ink on paper 9 x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Calm before the Laughter, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 6½ x 6½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Sometimes We Can’t Have the Things We Want, 2009 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 11 x 8½ inches Zang Collection, London

Cave Scape #1– #5, 2010 Acrylic, pen, and mixed media on paper 5 sheets, 6½ x 10 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Who Actually Cares That You’re Good at That, 2006 Mixed media on paper 12 x 8¼ inches Collection Gail Ann Rothman and Brent Rycroft, New York Spelldown, 2006–14 Wallpaper Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Flower Bed 2, A Prelude to Damnation Preparation, 2008 Ink on paper 29 x 33¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

March of the Ossilanterns (study), 2007 Ink, acrylic, and graphite on paper 7¾ x 11½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Wow That’s Mean I, 2008 Pen on paper 10 x 6½ inches Collection Jones Wajahat Family, New York

Moundmeat Shower Unit, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Martina Yamin, New York

Wow That’s Mean II, 2008 Ink on paper 10 x 6½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Ossiforms #1, 2007 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Studies for A Better Promise, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, 2008–10. Commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #3, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Study Nos. 1, 4, 6 Graphite and ink on paper 3 sheets, 8½ x 11 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #4, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Collection Brooke Davis Anderson and Jay S. Potter, New York

Study Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7 Graphite and ink on paper 4 sheets, 11 x 8½ inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Various Ossi-Units and Good Vegan Detritus #5, 2007 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

144

Ferroneous Revealed, 2008 Ink on paper 13¾ x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Studies for From a Legend to a Choir, mural for AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 2009. Commissioned by the Dallas Cowboys Study No. 1 Ink on paper 10 x 6 inches Study No. 2 Ink on paper 8 x 12 inches Study No. 3 Ink on paper 5½ x 5 inches Study No. 4 Ink on paper 10½ x 8 inches Study No. 5 Ink on paper 4 x 7½ inches Study (Walrus Head) Ink on paper 9 x 9 inches All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Complacent Bumpyhead, 2010 Ink on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Give Me My Flowers While I Yet Live, Version #1, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7½ x 7½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Like a Thief in the Night, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 5¾ x 6 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Looking Back, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7 x 8 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Man Don’t Work Don’t Eat, 2010 Acrylic and ink on paper 12 x 8 inches Private collection, Fort Worth Master Cave Scape I, 2010 Ink on paper 15 x 21¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Unruly, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7¼ x 6½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 6¼ x 6⅞ inches Collection Lea Weingarten, Houston We Fall Down, 2010 Ink on paper 13½ x 10¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me, 2011 Mixed media on paper 9 x 8 inches Collection KAWS, New York Aware of the Edge, 2011 Acrylic and graphite on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London The Hiker, 2011 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6 inches

The Doorstop, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 8 x 10½ inches Collection Mary Alice and Christopher Paul, Dallas

Monster (Land-Based), 2010 Ink on paper 11 x 8 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Drum Man, 2010 Ink on paper 13½ x 10½ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Monster (Water-Based), 2010 Ink on paper 10½ x 8¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Notes about Daniel Johnston, 2011 Graphite and ink on paper 13½ x 10 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Everlasting Arms Version 1, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 7¾ x 6¾ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Self-Portrait with Tongue, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Collection Charles Dee Mitchell, Dallas

One, One, One, and One, 2011 Mixed media on paper 13½ x 10¼ inches

Faster, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 13½ x 16 inches Zang Collection, London Fun Hole Funnel, 2010 Acrylic and mixed media on paper 13 x 12 inches Metoyer Collection, Houston and Amsterdam

Trentbear (diptych), 2010 Trentbear #1: acrylic and mixed media collage on paper; 11 x 7 inches Trentbear #2: acrylic and mixed media on paper; 10¾ x 10¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Hitter, 2011 Acrylic on paper 11 x 8½ inches

Regent of Positivity, 2011 Ink and acrylic on paper 10 x 6¼ inches

Scrape 1, 2011 Acrylic and ink on paper 10 x 6⅜ inches Private collection, New York When They Found Me, I Wasn’t There, 2011 Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper 10 x 6¼ inches The Bear Den, 2012 Acrylic on paper 12¼ x 12¼ inches Collection Noel Kirnon, New York Feline Energy Study, 2012 Ink on paper 8¼ x 11 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Frozen Fish, 2012 Ink on paper 10 x 6¾ inches

Studies for Destination Mound Town, mural in miniature train tunnel, Hermann Park, Houston, 2012–13. Commissioned by Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration

Bloat, 2013 Ink on paper 11 x 8¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Bone Zone #1, 2013 Ink on paper 11¾ x 9 inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London Epidemic!: Head Morphing (Pencil Tests), 2013–14 Graphite on paper for animation cels 11 x 8½ inches each Epidemic!: Head Morphing (Animation Sequence), 2013–14 Digital video; 1:02 minutes Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw Nos. 1–30, 2014 Acrylic on paper and matte board with excised lettering, and gesso 19 x 12 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

Dusk Ink and graphite on paper 13½ x 49 inches Morning Ink and graphite on paper 13½ x 32 inches Night Ink and graphite on paper 13½ x 41 inches Wolf Ink and graphite on paper 16 x 13½ inches All courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

The Resistance of Memory, 2011 Mixed media on paper 10 x 6¼ inches Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London

145


Trenton Doyle Hancock Biography

2011 The Value of Water, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York 2010 Best Laid Plans, Drawing Room, London Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program, Dallas Museum of Art Get Out!, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum

1974 Born Oklahoma City

Savannah, Georgia; Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina.

2000 Wow That’s Me?, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas

2008 Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger, American Folk Art Museum, New York

EDUCATION

2010 A Better Promise, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum

1998 Off Colored, Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas

In the Beginning: Artists Respond to the Genesis, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; traveled to Yeshiva University Museum, New York

2000 MFA, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia 1997 BFA, Texas A&M University, Commerce (formerly East Texas State University)

2008 FEAR, James Cohan Gallery, New York

1994 Associate of Science, Paris Junior College, Texas

Wow That’s Mean and Other Vegan Cuisine, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Lives and works in Houston

2007 Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Wayward Thinker, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; traveled to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2015 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida 2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Hales Gallery, London

2006 In the Blestian Room, James Cohan Gallery, New York

1997 AUTOBIODEGRADABLE, Honors Thesis Exhibition, University Gallery, Texas A&M University, Commerce GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2014 DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland Dramedy, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Texas Christian University We’ll Wear a Jolly Crown, Local Speed, The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

2005 St. Sesom and the Cult of Color, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas

Wrong’s What I Do Best, San Francisco Art Institute

2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock; Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

2004 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Paris Junior College, Texas

2013 Dressed Up, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri

2013 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Canzani Center Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio

2003 It Came from Studio Floor, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas; traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami

Revisiting the Lizard Cult: Lee Baxter Davis, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Robyn O’Neil, Georganne Deen, and Gary Panter, The Brandon Gallery, Houston

2012 . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me, James Cohan Gallery, New York

Moments in Mound History, Cleveland Museum of Art

The Shadows Took Shape, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

2001 The Legend Is in Trouble, James Cohan Gallery, New York

2012 Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee

2011 Trenton Doyle Hancock: We’ve Done All We Could and None of It’s Good, Contemporary Art Museum/Institute for Research in Art, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Traveled to ACA Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta; Gutstein Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design,

146

A Day Ahead, a Head a Day, Singapore Tyler Print Institute

Perspectives 129: Trenton Doyle Hancock; The Life and Death of #1, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; traveled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Texas Fine Arts Association at the Jones Center for Contemporary Art, Austin

Wunderkammer: A Century of Curiosities, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2007 The Lizard Cult, Clementine Gallery, New York The Sirens’ Song, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin 2006 Black Alphabet: Contexts of Contemporary African-American Art, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland The Compulsive Line: Etching 1900 to Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York Once Upon a Time: The Contemporary Fable, Arcos: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Sannio, Benevento, Italy The 181st Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, The National Academy Museum, New York 2005 Swarm, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia 2004 Drawing Under the Influence: Lee Baxter Davis and His Protégés, Dallas Center for Contemporary Art Perspectives @ 25: A Quarter Century of New Art in Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

2003 On the Wall: Contemporary Wallpaper, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; traveled to The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia

2003 8th International Istanbul Biennial: Poetic Justice, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Turkey It Happened Tomorrow, Lyon Biennial, France

Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

2002 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2002 Art on Paper: The 37th Exhibition of Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

2000 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Core 2002 Exhibition, Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

PERFORMANCES

Sugar and Cream: Large Unstretched WallHangings by Contemporary Artists, Triple Candie, New York 2001 Core 2001 Exhibition, Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Freestyle, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; traveled to Santa Monica Museum of Art, California New Orleans Triennial, New Orleans Museum of Art 2000 Out of the Ordinary: New Art from Texas, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs and Other Folktales, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, New York

2013 Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, collaboration with composer Graham Reynolds and choreographer Stephen Mills Devotion, performed in conjunction with the exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, reprised at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University 2008 Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, collaboration with composer Graham Reynolds and choreographer Stephen Mills 1998 Off Colored, Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas COMMISSIONS

1996 Works on Paper, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

2012–14 Destination Mound Town, Hermann Park, Houston, Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration

BIENNIALS

2011 Hi and Hi!, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

2012 The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, Kyiv International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine 2009 Animamix Biennial 2009–2010, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, China 2008 Prospect.1 New Orleans, New Orleans

2008–10 A Better Promise, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum 2009 From a Legend to a Choir, AT&T Stadium , Arlington, Texas, Dallas Cowboys 2006–8 Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin

Political Nature, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; traveled to the Grey Art Gallery, New York University

147


Trenton Doyle Hancock Biography

2011 The Value of Water, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York 2010 Best Laid Plans, Drawing Room, London Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program, Dallas Museum of Art Get Out!, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum

1974 Born Oklahoma City

Savannah, Georgia; Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina.

2000 Wow That’s Me?, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas

2008 Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger, American Folk Art Museum, New York

EDUCATION

2010 A Better Promise, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum

1998 Off Colored, Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas

In the Beginning: Artists Respond to the Genesis, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; traveled to Yeshiva University Museum, New York

2000 MFA, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia 1997 BFA, Texas A&M University, Commerce (formerly East Texas State University)

2008 FEAR, James Cohan Gallery, New York

1994 Associate of Science, Paris Junior College, Texas

Wow That’s Mean and Other Vegan Cuisine, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Lives and works in Houston

2007 Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Wayward Thinker, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; traveled to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2015 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida 2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Hales Gallery, London

2006 In the Blestian Room, James Cohan Gallery, New York

1997 AUTOBIODEGRADABLE, Honors Thesis Exhibition, University Gallery, Texas A&M University, Commerce GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2014 DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland Dramedy, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Texas Christian University We’ll Wear a Jolly Crown, Local Speed, The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

2005 St. Sesom and the Cult of Color, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas

Wrong’s What I Do Best, San Francisco Art Institute

2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock; Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

2004 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Paris Junior College, Texas

2013 Dressed Up, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri

2013 Trenton Doyle Hancock, Canzani Center Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio

2003 It Came from Studio Floor, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas; traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami

Revisiting the Lizard Cult: Lee Baxter Davis, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Robyn O’Neil, Georganne Deen, and Gary Panter, The Brandon Gallery, Houston

2012 . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me, James Cohan Gallery, New York

Moments in Mound History, Cleveland Museum of Art

The Shadows Took Shape, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

2001 The Legend Is in Trouble, James Cohan Gallery, New York

2012 Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee

2011 Trenton Doyle Hancock: We’ve Done All We Could and None of It’s Good, Contemporary Art Museum/Institute for Research in Art, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Traveled to ACA Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta; Gutstein Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design,

146

A Day Ahead, a Head a Day, Singapore Tyler Print Institute

Perspectives 129: Trenton Doyle Hancock; The Life and Death of #1, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; traveled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Texas Fine Arts Association at the Jones Center for Contemporary Art, Austin

Wunderkammer: A Century of Curiosities, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2007 The Lizard Cult, Clementine Gallery, New York The Sirens’ Song, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin 2006 Black Alphabet: Contexts of Contemporary African-American Art, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland The Compulsive Line: Etching 1900 to Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York Once Upon a Time: The Contemporary Fable, Arcos: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Sannio, Benevento, Italy The 181st Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, The National Academy Museum, New York 2005 Swarm, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia 2004 Drawing Under the Influence: Lee Baxter Davis and His Protégés, Dallas Center for Contemporary Art Perspectives @ 25: A Quarter Century of New Art in Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

2003 On the Wall: Contemporary Wallpaper, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; traveled to The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia

2003 8th International Istanbul Biennial: Poetic Justice, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Turkey It Happened Tomorrow, Lyon Biennial, France

Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

2002 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2002 Art on Paper: The 37th Exhibition of Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

2000 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Core 2002 Exhibition, Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

PERFORMANCES

Sugar and Cream: Large Unstretched WallHangings by Contemporary Artists, Triple Candie, New York 2001 Core 2001 Exhibition, Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Freestyle, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; traveled to Santa Monica Museum of Art, California New Orleans Triennial, New Orleans Museum of Art 2000 Out of the Ordinary: New Art from Texas, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs and Other Folktales, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, New York

2013 Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, collaboration with composer Graham Reynolds and choreographer Stephen Mills Devotion, performed in conjunction with the exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, reprised at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University 2008 Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin, collaboration with composer Graham Reynolds and choreographer Stephen Mills 1998 Off Colored, Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas COMMISSIONS

1996 Works on Paper, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

2012–14 Destination Mound Town, Hermann Park, Houston, Hermann Park Conservancy for Art in the Park Centennial Celebration

BIENNIALS

2011 Hi and Hi!, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

2012 The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, Kyiv International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine 2009 Animamix Biennial 2009–2010, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, China 2008 Prospect.1 New Orleans, New Orleans

2008–10 A Better Promise, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum 2009 From a Legend to a Choir, AT&T Stadium , Arlington, Texas, Dallas Cowboys 2006–8 Cult of Color: Call to Color, Ballet Austin

Political Nature, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; traveled to the Grey Art Gallery, New York University

147


AWARDS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2013 Greenfield Prize, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood, Florida, in conjunction with the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, Philadelphia

Adams, Rachel. “Critics’ Picks: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.” Artforum.com (June 2014).

2007 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York 2004 Penny McCall Foundation Award 2003 Artadia Foundation Award 1999 Joan Mitchell Foundation, Grant Recipient 1997 Camille Hanks Cosby Fellowship for AfricanAmerican Artists, Skowhegan, Maine Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Award, Dallas Museum of Art

Ayers, Robert. “‘I Guess I’m Greedy!’ Robert Ayers in Conversation with Trenton Doyle Hancock.” A Sky Filled with Shooting Stars (blog), May 26, 2012. ———. “‘You Mean It’s That Easy?’ Trenton Doyle Hancock’s New Installation at the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle.” The Huffington Post, September 20, 2010. Beckwith, Naomi. “Previews: Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Artforum vol. 52 (January 2014): 117. Bell, Cherie. “Artist’s Fusion Comments on Race and Society.” The Paris (TX) News, December 20, 1998. Boucher, Brian. “Artworld.” Art in America vol. 101 (March 2013): 176. Bradley, Fiona, ed. Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Wayward Thinker. Exh. cat. Edinburgh: The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2007. Britt, Douglas. “The Flypaper Effect: MFAH Artist’s Residency Has Lured New Talent to Houston for 25 Years.” The Houston Chronicle, December 19, 2008. Burnet, Andrew. “Explosion of Beauty and Beast.” The Glasgow Herald, February 8, 2007. Cassel, Valerie. “Sermon on the Mound: Excerpts from the Book of Trenton.” In Freestyle, edited by Christine Y. Kim and Franklin Sirmans. Exh. cat. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2001. Crawford, Amy. “Mounds vs. Vegans.” Smithsonian Magazine vol. 38 (Fall 2007): 28–29. “Dispatches: Color Ballet.” Culture + Travel, March–April 2008. Eleey, Peter. “Trenton Doyle Hancock at James Cohan Gallery.” Frieze vol. 76 (June– August 2003): 113. Ennis, Michael. “Northern Exposure.” Texas Monthly, February 2000, 130. Gilbert, Alan. “Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Modern Painters vol. 21 (March 2009): 71. Glueck, Grace. “The Enduring Allure of Scratching on Metal.” The New York Times, March 9, 2006.

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——— “Trenton Doyle Hancock.” The New York Times, April 7, 2006. Goode, Joshua. “Trenton Doyle Hancock Stages Fine Hanging of Strong, Humorous Drawings and Paintings.” D Magazine, September 28, 2010. Hancock, Trenton Doyle, and Lynn M. Herbert. Perspectives 129: Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Life and Death of #1. Exh. cat. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2001. Herbert, Lynn M., and Paola Morsiani. Out of the Ordinary: New Art from Texas. Exh. cat. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2000. Herbert, Martin. “Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon.” Artforum vol. 42 (December 2003): 139. Humphrey, David. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Prayer Warrior.” ARTPULSE vol. 5 (Fall 2013): 56–59. Jacobson, Heidi Zuckerman, Rhonda Lieberman, and James Welling. Like Color in Pictures. Exh. cat. Aspen, Colorado: Aspen Art Museum, 2007.

“Painter Trenton Hancock Wins $30,000 Greenfield Prize.” Sarasota Patch, January 20, 2013.

Ruiz, Cristina. “Curators Turn East but Art Basel Looks to the U.S.” The Art Newspaper, June 12, 2012.

Patel, Alpesh Kantilal. “Critics’ Picks: Trenton Doyle Hancock, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.” Artforum.com (March 2011).

Salamon, Jeff. “He’ll Always Have Paris.” Texas Monthly, June 2014.

Princenthal, Nancy. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Full Immersion.” Art in America vol. 91 (June 2003): 114–15, 143. “Prospect.1 New Orleans: A New International Contemporary Art Biennial.” Art Daily, December 2008.

Singsen, Judith A., ed. On the Wall: Contemporary Wallpaper. Exh. cat. Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2003. “Slideshow: Trenton Doyle Hancock.” WNYC, November 21, 2008. Smith, Roberta. “Dusting off a Museum’s Curio Cabinet.” The New York Times, August 21, 2008.

Reed, C. D. “Artist Puts Self into Latest Work.” The Commerce (TX) Journal, December 10, 1997.

———. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Fear.” The New York Times, January 2, 2009.

Rees, Christina. “Biting Back.” The Dallas Observer, February 10–16, 2000.

———. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Legend Is in Trouble.” The New York Times, July 13, 2001.

———. “Guts ‘R’ Us.” The Dallas Observer, June 18–24, 1998, 64.

Sollins, Marybeth, ed. Art 21: Art in the Twenty-First Century 2. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003. Companion volume to Trenton Doyle Hancock’s appearance on PBS television series Art 21, Season 2, Program 5.

Robinson, Gaile. “Acquired Tastes.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 19, 2004.

“Trenton Doyle Hancock.” The New Yorker, July 23, 2001. Van Ryzin, Jeanne Claire. “Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Altered States.” Austin AmericanStatesman, February 7, 2002s. Velasco, David. “Critics’ Pick: Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Artforum.com (March 2006). Weinstein, Joel. “Miami: Trenton Doyle Hancock at MoCA.” Flash Art vol. 36 (May– June 2003): 152. Wilkin, Karen. “His Own Private Mythology.” The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2014. Wong, Hiufu. “White Tigers and Vegans: The Fantastical World of Trenton Doyle Hancock.” CNN Travel, July 30, 2010. “Wunderkammer: A Century of Curiosities Opens at the Museum of Modern Art.” Art Daily, August 2, 2008.

Johnson, Ken. “Art in Review: Trenton Doyle Hancock: ‘For a Floor of Flora.’” The New York Times, March 28, 2003. Kutner, Janet. “Artworks Poke Fun at Their Antecedents.” The Dallas Morning News, February 23, 1997. Laster, Paul. “Trenton Doyle Hancock, ‘ . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me.’” Time Out New York, December 6–12, 2012. Levin, Kim. “Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Voice Choices, July 4, 2001. Malloy, Nancy, and Marshall N. Price, eds. The 181st Annual Exhibition. Exh. cat. New York: National Academy Museum, 2006. McQuaid, Cate. “At BU’s 808 Gallery, Artists Explore Concepts of Otherness.” The Boston Globe, March 7, 2012. Milzoff, Rebecca. “Dances with Vegans.” ARTNews vol. 107 (April 2008): 50. Mitchell, Charles D. “Trenton Doyle Hancock at Gerald Peters.” Art in America vol. 86 (November 1998): 138. Newhall, Edith. “Planet of the Apes.” New York Magazine, March 17, 2003.

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AWARDS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2013 Greenfield Prize, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood, Florida, in conjunction with the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, Philadelphia

Adams, Rachel. “Critics’ Picks: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.” Artforum.com (June 2014).

2007 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York 2004 Penny McCall Foundation Award 2003 Artadia Foundation Award 1999 Joan Mitchell Foundation, Grant Recipient 1997 Camille Hanks Cosby Fellowship for AfricanAmerican Artists, Skowhegan, Maine Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Award, Dallas Museum of Art

Ayers, Robert. “‘I Guess I’m Greedy!’ Robert Ayers in Conversation with Trenton Doyle Hancock.” A Sky Filled with Shooting Stars (blog), May 26, 2012. ———. “‘You Mean It’s That Easy?’ Trenton Doyle Hancock’s New Installation at the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle.” The Huffington Post, September 20, 2010. Beckwith, Naomi. “Previews: Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Artforum vol. 52 (January 2014): 117. Bell, Cherie. “Artist’s Fusion Comments on Race and Society.” The Paris (TX) News, December 20, 1998. Boucher, Brian. “Artworld.” Art in America vol. 101 (March 2013): 176. Bradley, Fiona, ed. Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Wayward Thinker. Exh. cat. Edinburgh: The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2007. Britt, Douglas. “The Flypaper Effect: MFAH Artist’s Residency Has Lured New Talent to Houston for 25 Years.” The Houston Chronicle, December 19, 2008. Burnet, Andrew. “Explosion of Beauty and Beast.” The Glasgow Herald, February 8, 2007. Cassel, Valerie. “Sermon on the Mound: Excerpts from the Book of Trenton.” In Freestyle, edited by Christine Y. Kim and Franklin Sirmans. Exh. cat. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2001. Crawford, Amy. “Mounds vs. Vegans.” Smithsonian Magazine vol. 38 (Fall 2007): 28–29. “Dispatches: Color Ballet.” Culture + Travel, March–April 2008. Eleey, Peter. “Trenton Doyle Hancock at James Cohan Gallery.” Frieze vol. 76 (June– August 2003): 113. Ennis, Michael. “Northern Exposure.” Texas Monthly, February 2000, 130. Gilbert, Alan. “Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Modern Painters vol. 21 (March 2009): 71. Glueck, Grace. “The Enduring Allure of Scratching on Metal.” The New York Times, March 9, 2006.

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——— “Trenton Doyle Hancock.” The New York Times, April 7, 2006. Goode, Joshua. “Trenton Doyle Hancock Stages Fine Hanging of Strong, Humorous Drawings and Paintings.” D Magazine, September 28, 2010. Hancock, Trenton Doyle, and Lynn M. Herbert. Perspectives 129: Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Life and Death of #1. Exh. cat. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2001. Herbert, Lynn M., and Paola Morsiani. Out of the Ordinary: New Art from Texas. Exh. cat. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2000. Herbert, Martin. “Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon.” Artforum vol. 42 (December 2003): 139. Humphrey, David. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Prayer Warrior.” ARTPULSE vol. 5 (Fall 2013): 56–59. Jacobson, Heidi Zuckerman, Rhonda Lieberman, and James Welling. Like Color in Pictures. Exh. cat. Aspen, Colorado: Aspen Art Museum, 2007.

“Painter Trenton Hancock Wins $30,000 Greenfield Prize.” Sarasota Patch, January 20, 2013.

Ruiz, Cristina. “Curators Turn East but Art Basel Looks to the U.S.” The Art Newspaper, June 12, 2012.

Patel, Alpesh Kantilal. “Critics’ Picks: Trenton Doyle Hancock, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.” Artforum.com (March 2011).

Salamon, Jeff. “He’ll Always Have Paris.” Texas Monthly, June 2014.

Princenthal, Nancy. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Full Immersion.” Art in America vol. 91 (June 2003): 114–15, 143. “Prospect.1 New Orleans: A New International Contemporary Art Biennial.” Art Daily, December 2008.

Singsen, Judith A., ed. On the Wall: Contemporary Wallpaper. Exh. cat. Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2003. “Slideshow: Trenton Doyle Hancock.” WNYC, November 21, 2008. Smith, Roberta. “Dusting off a Museum’s Curio Cabinet.” The New York Times, August 21, 2008.

Reed, C. D. “Artist Puts Self into Latest Work.” The Commerce (TX) Journal, December 10, 1997.

———. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Fear.” The New York Times, January 2, 2009.

Rees, Christina. “Biting Back.” The Dallas Observer, February 10–16, 2000.

———. “Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Legend Is in Trouble.” The New York Times, July 13, 2001.

———. “Guts ‘R’ Us.” The Dallas Observer, June 18–24, 1998, 64.

Sollins, Marybeth, ed. Art 21: Art in the Twenty-First Century 2. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003. Companion volume to Trenton Doyle Hancock’s appearance on PBS television series Art 21, Season 2, Program 5.

Robinson, Gaile. “Acquired Tastes.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 19, 2004.

“Trenton Doyle Hancock.” The New Yorker, July 23, 2001. Van Ryzin, Jeanne Claire. “Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Altered States.” Austin AmericanStatesman, February 7, 2002s. Velasco, David. “Critics’ Pick: Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Artforum.com (March 2006). Weinstein, Joel. “Miami: Trenton Doyle Hancock at MoCA.” Flash Art vol. 36 (May– June 2003): 152. Wilkin, Karen. “His Own Private Mythology.” The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2014. Wong, Hiufu. “White Tigers and Vegans: The Fantastical World of Trenton Doyle Hancock.” CNN Travel, July 30, 2010. “Wunderkammer: A Century of Curiosities Opens at the Museum of Modern Art.” Art Daily, August 2, 2008.

Johnson, Ken. “Art in Review: Trenton Doyle Hancock: ‘For a Floor of Flora.’” The New York Times, March 28, 2003. Kutner, Janet. “Artworks Poke Fun at Their Antecedents.” The Dallas Morning News, February 23, 1997. Laster, Paul. “Trenton Doyle Hancock, ‘ . . . And Then It All Came Back to Me.’” Time Out New York, December 6–12, 2012. Levin, Kim. “Trenton Doyle Hancock.” Voice Choices, July 4, 2001. Malloy, Nancy, and Marshall N. Price, eds. The 181st Annual Exhibition. Exh. cat. New York: National Academy Museum, 2006. McQuaid, Cate. “At BU’s 808 Gallery, Artists Explore Concepts of Otherness.” The Boston Globe, March 7, 2012. Milzoff, Rebecca. “Dances with Vegans.” ARTNews vol. 107 (April 2008): 50. Mitchell, Charles D. “Trenton Doyle Hancock at Gerald Peters.” Art in America vol. 86 (November 1998): 138. Newhall, Edith. “Planet of the Apes.” New York Magazine, March 17, 2003.

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Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Board of Trustees

Staff

William J. Goldberg, Chairman

Bill Arning, Director

Jonathan B. Fairbanks, President

Daniel Atkinson, Education and Public Programs Manager

Courtesy American Folk Art Museum, New York: p. 27; photo by

Dillon A. Kyle, Vice President

Tim Barkley, Registrar

Kiyoko Lerner, pp. 28–29 (top)

Andrew C. Schirrmeister III, Vice President

Quincy Berry, Assistant Gallery Supervisor

Valerie Gibbs, Treasurer

Amanda Bredbenner, Director of Development

Louise Jamail, Secretary

Libby Conine, Major Gifts Manager

Edward R. Allen III

Oscar Cornejo, Tour Programs Coordinator

Vera Baker

Emily Crowe, Development Coordinator, Special Events

Carol C. Ballard

Jamal Cyrus, Education Associate

Jereann Chaney

Dean Daderko, Curator

Susie Criner

Kenya Evans, Gallery Supervisor

Elizabeth Crowell

Max Fields, Communications Associate

Sara Paschall Dodd

Monica Hoffman, Controller

Ruth Dreessen

Connie McAllister, Director of Community Engagement

Gregory Fourticq

Nancy O’Connor, Curatorial Associate

James Furr, FAIA

Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator

Michael Galbreth

Shane Platt, Assistant to the Director

Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York: pp. 14, 17, 56, 68, 69 (top

Barbara Gamson

Sue Pruden, Director of Retail Operations

and bottom), 70, 71, 72 (top and bottom), 75, 76, 77 (left and right), 86,

Cullen Geiselman

Mike Reed, Assistant Director of Facilities and Risk Management

102, 110 (left) 115, 118, 120 (bottom), 122, 123, 124, 126, 127, 128, 130 (top

Dan Gilbane

Jeff Shore, Head Preparator

and bottom), 131; photo by Max Bernier, p. 74 (bottom)

Glen Gonzalez

Amber Winsor, Deputy Director

John Guess

Photography Credits

Courtesy Lee Baxter Davis: p. 19 Courtesy Trenton Doyle Hancock: p. 21 Paul Hester, Houston: back cover; pp. 1, 2, 11, 12, 16, 31, 36–37, 38, 39 (top and bottom), 40 (top and bottom), 41 (top and bottom), 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 (top and bottom), 51, 52 (top and bottom), 53, 54, 55, 57 (top and bottom), 58, 59 (top and bottom), 60, 61, 62 (top and bottom), 63, 64, 65, 66 (top and bottom), 67, 74 (top), 78, 79, 81, 82 (top and bottom), 83, 84, 85, 87 (left and right), 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96–97, 100–101 (background), 101, 103, 104–105, 106, 107, 108 (top and bottom), 109, 110 (right), 111, 112–113, 116–117, 119, 132 (left and right, top and bottom), 133 (top and bottom), 135, 136–137 (bottom), 138

Valerie Cassel Oliver: pp. 25, 33

Lynn M. Herbert

Don Quaintance, Houston: cover; endpapers; pp. 13, 20, 22, 28, 73, 80,

Sissy Kempner

93, 98, 99, 100, 114, 120 (top), 121, 125, 129, 139

J. David Kirkland, Jr. Nancy Littlejohn Leticia Loya

Courtesy Weingarten Art Group; photos by Megan Badger, pp. 134, 137 (top)

Libbie Masterson Elisabeth McCabe Andrew McFarland David McGee Belinda Phelps Howard Robinson James Rodriguez Lauren L. Rottet Reginald R. Smith David P. Young Elizabeth Satel Young

150

151


Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Board of Trustees

Staff

William J. Goldberg, Chairman

Bill Arning, Director

Jonathan B. Fairbanks, President

Daniel Atkinson, Education and Public Programs Manager

Courtesy American Folk Art Museum, New York: p. 27; photo by

Dillon A. Kyle, Vice President

Tim Barkley, Registrar

Kiyoko Lerner, pp. 28–29 (top)

Andrew C. Schirrmeister III, Vice President

Quincy Berry, Assistant Gallery Supervisor

Valerie Gibbs, Treasurer

Amanda Bredbenner, Director of Development

Louise Jamail, Secretary

Libby Conine, Major Gifts Manager

Edward R. Allen III

Oscar Cornejo, Tour Programs Coordinator

Vera Baker

Emily Crowe, Development Coordinator, Special Events

Carol C. Ballard

Jamal Cyrus, Education Associate

Jereann Chaney

Dean Daderko, Curator

Susie Criner

Kenya Evans, Gallery Supervisor

Elizabeth Crowell

Max Fields, Communications Associate

Sara Paschall Dodd

Monica Hoffman, Controller

Ruth Dreessen

Connie McAllister, Director of Community Engagement

Gregory Fourticq

Nancy O’Connor, Curatorial Associate

James Furr, FAIA

Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator

Michael Galbreth

Shane Platt, Assistant to the Director

Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York: pp. 14, 17, 56, 68, 69 (top

Barbara Gamson

Sue Pruden, Director of Retail Operations

and bottom), 70, 71, 72 (top and bottom), 75, 76, 77 (left and right), 86,

Cullen Geiselman

Mike Reed, Assistant Director of Facilities and Risk Management

102, 110 (left) 115, 118, 120 (bottom), 122, 123, 124, 126, 127, 128, 130 (top

Dan Gilbane

Jeff Shore, Head Preparator

and bottom), 131; photo by Max Bernier, p. 74 (bottom)

Glen Gonzalez

Amber Winsor, Deputy Director

John Guess

Photography Credits

Courtesy Lee Baxter Davis: p. 19 Courtesy Trenton Doyle Hancock: p. 21 Paul Hester, Houston: back cover; pp. 1, 2, 11, 12, 16, 31, 36–37, 38, 39 (top and bottom), 40 (top and bottom), 41 (top and bottom), 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 (top and bottom), 51, 52 (top and bottom), 53, 54, 55, 57 (top and bottom), 58, 59 (top and bottom), 60, 61, 62 (top and bottom), 63, 64, 65, 66 (top and bottom), 67, 74 (top), 78, 79, 81, 82 (top and bottom), 83, 84, 85, 87 (left and right), 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96–97, 100–101 (background), 101, 103, 104–105, 106, 107, 108 (top and bottom), 109, 110 (right), 111, 112–113, 116–117, 119, 132 (left and right, top and bottom), 133 (top and bottom), 135, 136–137 (bottom), 138

Valerie Cassel Oliver: pp. 25, 33

Lynn M. Herbert

Don Quaintance, Houston: cover; endpapers; pp. 13, 20, 22, 28, 73, 80,

Sissy Kempner

93, 98, 99, 100, 114, 120 (top), 121, 125, 129, 139

J. David Kirkland, Jr. Nancy Littlejohn Leticia Loya

Courtesy Weingarten Art Group; photos by Megan Badger, pp. 134, 137 (top)

Libbie Masterson Elisabeth McCabe Andrew McFarland David McGee Belinda Phelps Howard Robinson James Rodriguez Lauren L. Rottet Reginald R. Smith David P. Young Elizabeth Satel Young

150

151


This publication has been prepared in conjunction with Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing. This exhibition was organized for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston April 27–August 3, 2014 Akron Art Museum, Ohio September 6, 2014–January 4, 2015 The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York March 25–June 28, 2015 The Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw comic book is a component of the exhibition catalogue.

Publication coordinators: Valerie Cassel Oliver, Nancy O’Connor, and Sarah Schultz Editor: Betsy Stepina Zinn Design: Don Quaintance, Public Address Design Design/production assistant: Elizabeth Frizzell Printing and prepress: Shapco, Minneapolis ISBN 978-1-933619-50-7 © 2014 Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Artwork © 2014 Trenton Doyle Hancock Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 5216 Montrose Boulevard Houston, Texas 77006-6547 Tel.: (713) 284-8250 Fax: (713) 284-8275 www.camh.org


Trenton Doyle Hancock Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw Nos. 1–30, 2014 Acrylic on paper and matte board with excised lettering and gesso 19 x 12 inches each Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York, and Hales Gallery, London


T R E N T O N Texts by

Valerie Cassel Oliver Brooke Davis Anderson Trenton Doyle Hancock in conversations with

Gary Panter and

D O Y L E

Stanley Whitney 152 pages with 138 color reproductions Also including a limited-edition 32-page comic book of a new drawing series: Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw

TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK: SKIN AND BONES, 20 YEARS OF DRAWING

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON

Comprehensive in scope, this two-decade survey includes works from 1984 to 2014, uncovering the foundation of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s prolific career while chronicling the cast of colorful characters that he has brought to life. What emerges is a wide range of influences, including comics, graphic novels, cartoons, music, film, and visual art—the entire sweep of high and low connections. While Hancock’s paintings have become widely known, his extensive body of drawings, collages, and works on paper—both discrete and monumental—have not been fully explored. This publication provides a glimpse into the evolution of the artist’s idiosyncratic vision by showing viewers the genesis of his mythology—including the epic Mound saga—as well as the larger development of his practice. Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing reveals the artist’s concentration on line, his approach to the tradition of drawing, and his ability to implode that tradition through mark-making dexterity, compositional skill, and conceptual weight.

H A N C O C K

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing  

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing will be accompanied by a significant monograph of the artist’s drawings and works...

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing  

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing will be accompanied by a significant monograph of the artist’s drawings and works...

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