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At Home With Peter McGough: To Peter McGough, Living in an Earlier Era Is Art

Posted Feb 02 2013 10:05pm

At a time when allowance was one of a many art strategies of a moment, David McDermott and Peter McGough took that use (among others) to a extreme. “Time maps,” they called their work, that tackled themes like sexuality, prejudice and a AIDS crisis.

Even their habitats were in a past tense, with 19th-century seat and wallpaper, bright by candles and mostly but feverishness or plumbing. (Mr. McDermott, a some-more peremptory of a two, had a robe of ripping out all a complicated appliances, even if a unit was a rental, to a impassioned dismay of many a landlord.) But as specific as their lifestyle was, Mr. McDermott and Mr. McGough fit right into their neighborhood, a polymorphous informative soup that was a East Village art stage in a early 1980s.

Glenn O’Brien expel Mr. McGough as an additional in his New Wave movie, “Downtown 81,” with Jean-Michel Basquiat. Fab Five Freddy was a friend. They worked in studios rejected by Julian Schnabel. They fought over an unit with Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring. Their work was collected in a 1987 Whitney Biennial.

Nearly 3 decades later, Mr. McDermott, 61, and Mr. McGough, 54 differently famous as McDermott McGough, to give them their art universe tab are still collaborating and performing, that is another approach of describing their period-perfect lifestyle, nonetheless they are now on conflicting sides of a Atlantic. They’ve racked adult dual some-more Biennials. They have changed from portrayal to photography and film, and behind again. “Suspicious of Rooms Without Music or Atmosphere,” a array of paintings of scenes from aged cinema in that a singer is held in a impulse of impassioned emotion, satirical her knuckles, eyes welling with tears or far-reaching with fear, is during Cheim Read by Feb. 23. The show’s title, from a Rod McKuen poem, is an suitable declaration for what is still a dual men’s worldview.

Mr. McDermott has been vital in Ireland given a 1990s (until recently in a rarely windy residence in Dublin done even some-more so by his dismissal of a kitchen appliances). But Mr. McGough is here in New York, in a one-bedroom unit in a 1930s let building in a West Village. He has propitious it out with 1930s seat “in a Continental style,” as he put it most of it Italian Moderne and taken from a residence in Milan. There’s a foot-high selected radio, dual telephones from a 1930s and a cubist flare with an elaborate handmade shade. The light switches have been transposed with selected plates; a contemporary kitchen is dark by a curtain.

“Of course, McDermott wanted me to slice it out,” Mr. McGough pronounced of his kitchen. “It’s my initial grown-up unit in a prolonged time. we spent a lot of income decorating it” simply $75,000, he estimated. “It’s costly to live in a past.”

And yet, a 1930s building? That’s extremely modern, given a appetites of Messrs. McDermott and McGough. Has Mr. McGough lapsed?

“I didn’t lapse,” he told a caller a other day. “I only changed to a opposite period.”

On that new morning, Mr. McGough was reflecting on a life in houses, that also happens to be a story of mislaid houses.

“And we mislaid a lot of houses,” he said. “I consider of that line from ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ ‘This is a things dreams are done of.’ That’s what we do. We were never only old-timey twee queens sitting with teacups, nonetheless we were doing that, too. With McDermott, we had to enter a past, we had to travel into another dimension. When he was a teenager, he done a unwavering preference not to live in a present. For him, it wasn’t decorating, it was an designation and an immersion. Who’s to say, if we were sitting in a 18th-century house, on a furniture, that we hadn’t been ecstatic to a 18th century?”

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