Lizzi Bougatsos Interviews Leo Fitzpatrick
Published April 17, 2009
Leo Fitzpatrick; Lizzi Bougatsos. Photos by the artists.
The flourescent lights in storefront of Terence Koh’s Chinatown gallery, Asia Song Society, regularly light up the street. But for the last few nights passersby have had the pleasure of seeing actor and artist Leo Fitzpatrick re-arranging the countless paintings for his show, hanging out with skaters, and smoking American Spirits. He’s what ASS Gallery Director Liz Lovero calls a tinkerer, and it’s nice to see an artist, and a pretty laid back man, get really nervous for something.
The show, which opens tonight, is called “Fuck Friends.” It consists primarily of collaborations—collages, drawings, and paintings that Fitzpatrick made with his friends, many of whom are well-known artists. The title of the show is childish, but it also captures the exhibition’s theme of of reciprocity: A lot of people who Fitzpatrick has admired for years will get to see what he’s been up to. Leo is primarily an actor, but he also belongs to an exclusive class of people, not uncommon in the art world or Downtown New York, who definitely do something—you just don’t really know what it is. He made his name as the less than likeable in Kids, which means he gets cool fan sites like this one with teen dream fan photography; since then he’s redeemed himself with other film and TV gigs, and his friendly face, on display at any of his DJ sets.
Lizzi Bougatsos is the lead singer of Gang Gang Dance, and one of those friends Leo fucked for this show. They can’t recall exactly where they first met; it might have been when Fitzpatrick threw his ex-girlfriend in a garbage can. Herein they talk about collaboration, and the hot new drugs on the street. They also did an impromptu photo shoot.
LIZZI BOUGATSOS: I’m with Leo Fitzpatrick at the Asia Song Society… Gallery. I have some questions for my friend. Should we start the interview?
LEO FITZPATRICK: Yes!
LB: First of all, Leo, how did you come up with this genius concept of getting your friends to make the artwork for your show? Was this a salon thing or a Duchamp thing or did you just come up with it yourself?
LF: I was just being lazy. I just wanted my friends to do all the work for me.
LB: What’s the title about. Do you have something against your friends?
LF: For sure. The show is called “Fuck Friends” and I’m trying to fuck ‘em back.
LB: It sounds like you feel like you’ve been fucked by them. Maybe that’s why you decided on that title?
LF: Yes, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck…
LB: I understand where you’re coming from, I often feel the same way myself. Who are some of the hardest artists to work with…
LB: …On these escapades that you’ve started traveling on.
LF: Lizzi Bougatsos is pretty hard.
LB: [LAUGHS] I knew you were going to say that.
LF: She was kind of a flake. That’s it though. The people who I thought would be the hardest were the easiest, and the people I thought would be the easiest were actually the hardest.
LB: Who was the easiest?
LF: Dash [Snow]. Actually we did this in two hours. He was in town for one night, and we made a piece in two hours.
LB: Wow that’s amazing. Wasn’t he having a baby or something? Did Marika [Thunder Nuss] do any pieces for this show?
LF: I’m actually confused by that. I think I have to ask Rita [Ackermann, Marika’s mom]. She did this one on the end but Rita signed it. So it’s not just “Fuck Friends” but “Fuck Moms.”
LB: It seems like a joint project. They look a lot like Japanese imagery.
LF: But then Rita signed it.
LB: I see that.
LF: Very curious.
LB: What are some of your favorite pieces that your friends have made for you?
LF: Actually, I’m interested in the way each piece comes together to work as one bigger thing. But The whole point was for people to have fun with it and not be taking it too seriously. I think a lot of people succeeded in that. I think Dan [Colen]’s moustache I think are really amazing. Nate’s are good.
LB: I like the dirty ashtray. I like this one—the dirty gum.
LF: That’s Adam McEwen.
LB: I was wondering. There are a lot of drugs in here. I feel like artists picked pieces that were drug references or something. It kind of reminds me of a Christopher Wool painting, from the early 90’s or something.
LF: Yeah, I think the drug thing is not to be too serious. I didn’t want to make it really critical. I just wanted to make it funny. I wanted people to smile when they came in here and if they didn’t smile when they see something that says “Pot” on it—I mean how stupid is that? It’s so stupid it’s kind of funny.
LB: I think there is a big comeback of PCP.
LF: I don’t know, I haven’t been on the streets in a while
LB: That is definitely the big hot drug right now.
LF: Really? At like clubs, or just hanging out?
LB: Oh I don’t know, at bars or around. I think there is the idea of needing something light that people can come in and enjoy without the heaviness. That sums it all up for me. I think that you succeeded.
LF: I feel like I’ve looked at this work so long, I can’t look at it anymore.
LB: Oh well, tomorrow it’ll be over. So you can fuck your friends once again.
LF: Are we done?
“Fuck Friends” opens tonight form 7–9 PM and is on view through May 12. Asia Song Society is located at 45 Canal Street. Accompanying the exhibition is Fitzpatrick’s first book, a catalogue with an essay by Nate Lowman, published by A-ron’s OHWOW.