Hernan Bas Inspired by Absurdist Theater, Ru Paul
By Kyle Munzenrieder
Hernan Bas's latest show, The Dance of the Machine Gun and Other Forms of Unpopular Expression at New York's Lehman Maupin Gallery, has only lead to more praise for Miami's art boy wonder. BlackBook magazine recently sat down with the artist after the show's opening night and talked about everything from Ru Paul on The View, the last few disappointing Dior Homme Collection, and accidentally bumping into Madonna with his butt at Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn.
On Ru Paul's inspiring statement: "As silly of a reference as it is, I was watching RuPaul on The View and she was talking about how she disappeared for a couple of years. She said that during the Bush Administration, she felt that the climate was such that she couldn't be out there doing her thing. I thought it was really interesting that she made that comment. In talking about unpopular forms of expression, drag queens may be one of the top ones."
On slight tacky Absurdist Theater: "That led me into the whole realm of Absurdist Theater and weird accents, and that led to Futurism and early Dadaist performances. I overlooked so much of this work myself, because the Dadaists and Surrealists were so popularized through high school and art school in the same way that college kid posters rape Gustave Klimt. I found out, to my detriment, that it was important for a reason. Just because it can be a little tacky, doesn't mean that it should be overlooked."
On butt bumping with Madonna: "I'm not a big celebrity gawker, but I went to the Waverly Inn a few nights ago... ...as we were getting up to leave, I bent down to pick up my boyfriend's sweater from the floor, and I bumped into someone directly in my ass. I turned around, and it was fucking Madonna. I bumped into Madonna's ass--of all people to back into."
On Miami: "I like looking out the window and seeing pelicans. There's something magical about that. The façade of the building next to my studio is built like a castle, with pyres and everything. So I look out my window and there's a castle and a sunset. I'm like, "Where the fuck am I?" It's also not the best neighborhood in the world so it's like: pelican, castle, crack-head. Miami is weird because you can walk 10 blocks and be in the heroin pit--like the Lower East Side, circa 1980. Then you go five blocks the other way and you're staying at the Fontainebleau."
For More of Bas's wisdom, including his thoughts on last year's Basel, favorite bars in Miami, and the effects of the Bush reign on the creative world check out BlackBook.