[Artist, b. 1950, New York, lives in New York.]
... I just photographed a man who can suck his own penis. The way he twisted his body reminded me of a Francis Bacon painting. He rolled on his back and threw his legs up in a way that does not register as a natural contortion. Yet it is a natural position if you want to put your mouth around your own dick.
I would not have a problem being called a voyeur. We all vacillate between being spectators and participants in the arena of life. It’s natural to want to see, and to be curious. We are not bad people because of that.
There’s nothing wrong with provocative art work: I even look forward to the day when I can take pictures which will disturb even me.
I’ve always felt that I wanted my work to be more or less open to interpretation and so even though some of the work has got people riled up, my attitude has always been I didn’t mean to offend you but if I did, fuck it, I’m not going to apologize.
I have always felt that my work is religious, not sacrilegious. I would say that there are many individuals in the Church who appreciate it and who do not have a problem with it. The best place for Piss Christ is in a church.
I don’t really think I am interested in the macabre, but I am curious about death. That’s normal... The only certainty in life is that we’re all going to die. It would be unnatural not to think about death once in a while.
An artist is nothing without his or her obsessions, and I have mine. One of the things that always bothered me was the fundamentalist labeling of my work as “anti-Christian bigotry.” As a former Catholic, and as someone who even today is not opposed to being called a Christian, I felt I had every right to use the symbols of the Church and resented being told not to.
I say things, but I say them indirectly. At the same time, I try to make my images as direct as possible.