Photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, whose gorgeous tableaux of posed corpses, body bits, scarred hookers, hermaphrodites and the odd horse dick, is a very happy 73 year old.
“I’m 73 and I’m getting ready to make the best career an artist can make and that’s dying.”
In a fresh video interview with ArtNet France, Witkin explains that things are going dandy and are getting better and when he dies, he will become an icon of photography, “if the work is good enough and it’s powerful enough and I believe mine is.” Or, he’ll find out, after he dies, from the “real artists up there.”
In the great hierarchy of art, he doesn’t rank his medium all too fondly:
“Contemporary art, especially photographer, couldn’t be more dumb. A lot of contemporary art photography reflects the stupidity of people because they keep getting dumber and dumber.”
So, here’s to Joel-Peter Witkin, who has survived our festering culture of pulp media and kept making art. May your final years be prolific and your will better have instructions as how to properly carve, dress and present your deceased body. Because, c’mon. Why not.