Wayne, June Claire
Painter, Printmaker, Lithographer
Active in Calif.; Ill.
Size: Transcript: 77 pages
Format: Sound has been lost on tape reels; reels discarded.
Collection Summary: Interview of June Wayne conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical/Historical Note: June Wayne (1918-2011) was a painter and printmaker in Los Angeles, California.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
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Also in the Archives
- June Wayne papers, 1945-1981
- Oral history interview with June Wayne, 1965 June 14
- Image and Media Gallery items from other collections related to Wayne, June Claire
This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with June Wayne, 1970 August 4-6, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Interview with June Wayne
Conducted by Paul Cummings
At Artist's Studio in Los Angeles, California
August 4, 1970
The following oral history transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview with June Wayne on August 4, 1970. The interview took place in Los Angeles, CA, and was conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Tape 1, Side 1
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's August 4 - Paul Cummings talking to June Wayne in her studio. Well, how about some background. You were born in Chicago?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, I was. I understand I was born at the Lying-In Hospital on the Midway in Chicago. Right in the shadow of the University of Chicago.
PAUL CUMMINGS: And then you went to Gary, Indiana?
JUNE WAYNE: I went to Gary when I was an infant. I don't know whether I was a year old or two years old. I do know that I was back in Chicago by the time I was four or five. So my stay in Gary was very brief. Incidentally, I have memories of Gary, of the steel mills at night, those giant candles with the flutes of fire coming out of the stacks. I also remember very vividly picking black-eyed Susans along the railroad tracks of the Illinois Central in Gary. I must have lived somewhere nearby. My grandmother used to take me for walks along there. I can remember that very significantly. I have lots of memories of Gary. All the trains, the distant sounds of the trains, the steel mills. And a particularly poignant one of the waffle man. They used to have horse drawn wagons that sold popcorn and these tiny waffles that you cover with powdered sugar. I think they also sold ice cream cones. The waffle man would come at dusk but never predictably. So each day was a sort of anxiety, would he show? Wouldn't he show? And I used to sit on the curb and wait for him and when he came then there was a great problem of how you could be sure that the waffle would be well enough done. They were little things. I've never again had such waffles until I had them at the Hague in 1957. For me it was the madeleine cake of Proust.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I didn't know they had vendors like that.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. He had a curious sort of gas jet ring that popped the corn. I can see it more than describe it. A whole constellation of dusk-like images about that time. That and the black-eyed Susans I expect will some day show up in my work because the black-eyed Susans had other associations to that period. Anyway, I do remember Gary very vividly.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But you really grew up in Chicago?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. I'm really a Chicagoan. You see, my grandmother's family lived in Gary. My grandmother was one of eight siblings, a sister and six brothers, I believe it was. And some of those brothers and one sister lived in Gary. So that grandmother was always taking me by the hand and off we'd trundle on the Illinois Central to Gary to visit the relatives. And now of course Gary and Chicago are practically one city. But that whole industrial complex, the gas works, the big storage tanks of gasoline, the cracking plants, the gravel pits, railroads, factories of Hammond, South Chicago, they figured in my paintings of the 1930s. So that the landscape of cities is much more persuasive to me than the landscape of nature. And that period of course was terribly formative including its climate of the industrial times, of awareness of the working man. The blue collar life was something I was very aware of because we were moderately poor and the parts of the city where we lived (while certainly they were not slums) were in the working class district, they were really, primarily, blue and white collar workers who gave themselves airs. And the presence of the university would legitimize such elitism as might have crept in to the milieu.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What was it like growing up in Chicago? What do you remember of the city and the people?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, I remember all about it. I remember it very well. I lived at 6228 Blackstone Avenue, almost at 63rd and Blackstone. Which was Stud Lonigan country. And later on I lived in Logan Square which is Saul Bellow's Augie March country. I never lived in Meyer Levine country - or city rather. But the images of those writers, both Bellow and James Farrell...One of my problems in reading Bellow's Augie March and Jim Farrell's Stud Lonigan group is that I could never tell for sure whether I was remembering it or actually reading it in the book. They blended. Our backyard on Blackstone Avenue was backed by the raised dike, as it were, of the Illinois Central tracks. So my memories of Chicago as a transportation center, the elevated on 63rd Street, the sidewalks, the occasional trees, the rather cindery backyard, all of that. There is a photograph that probably exists somewhere of me at the age of five or six in that same backyard surrounded by a bevy of toys and dolls which my grandmother took care of, which I never had the slightest interest in. And from time to time she would cause family photographs to be taken and she would also take these photographs of the appurtenances of my childhood, you know, as though this were somehow meaningful. So these are things that are fixed in my memory. My memories are curiously depersonalized in a way. They don't attach themselves very much to other children. I was an only child. As a child I didn't have a great many friends.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What about early school and things?
JUNE WAYNE: I wasn't going to school yet; I was pre-school when I lived on Blackstone Avenue; although that was a terribly important period in my memory. One of its images just showed up in a work that I did called Wave 1920. I called it that referring to the year 1920. My mother used to take me to the Lake Michigan waterfront near the Museum of Science and Industry on the South Side near the Midway. And I seem to remember some sort of strange little pergola, outdoor house, where I would sit on the floor of this thing, or was it on the grass - I don't know - and see the waves pounding in. My relationship to waves and water and so on I think was formulated at that time. I was probably scared by one of them. But I have all these strange feeling memories of that period. And being terribly cold on the Midway. You know, they used to skate on the Midway. And they had wooden sidewalks built across the ice at given places so people could cross. I think they probably still do. I remember once on Blackstone Avenue falling and hurting myself, badly cutting my nose. And my grandmother used to take me to the doctor across this wooden walkway across the Midway and I'd be just absolutely freezing. My mother felt it was much more attractive aesthetically for me to wear knee socks rather than stockings in winter so I grew up assuming that of course one was very hardy and that the aesthetic was more important than being comfortable. I remember to this minute the cold of the Chicago wind on my knees in winter crossing that damn Midway with my face in bandages.
PAUL CUMMINGS: When did you start to school and what kind of school did you go to?
JUNE WAYNE: I must have started to school in Logan Square, Chicago. The first school I went to was the Monroe - I guess it was called James Monroe School. It was one of these schools that went up to the sixth grade. I lived then on Spaulding Avenue, I believe it was 2624 Spaulding Avenue. I almost can remember the phone number. I think it was Belmont 9783, something like that. You see there were only four digits. And I used to walk to school. I was a very good student in grammar school although I think I suffered my first educational trauma there. I had a teacher there who said to me once - comparing me to another girl in the class - she said something like this, "You have a flash-in-the-pan brilliance. You answered right away. But you're not always right. It's Lillian who always has the exact fact." I never forgot that. It was a hell of a shock. and of course it was perfectly true. From that day to this a fact is something you go and get to fill in the concept.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. It's the brick and not the architecture.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Another thing I remember very well at that school was that we always had a piano going while the children marched to class in the morning. And somewhere along the line I was the person who played the piano. I could play by ear.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did the piano start at home or at school?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, I began playing the piano by ear when I was a little bit of a thing. I have a very keen ear and of course if you wanted to do it why shouldn't you do it. Anyway, I do remember sitting at this large upright piano and plunk along, you know, pounding out some damn march or other.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was there interest in music at home? Or art? Or things like that?
JUNE WAYNE: There was a great deal of interest in books and in music. My grandmother valued culture enormously. She was unlettered. She was an immigrant. She spoke English very well but made lots of errors. Later when she wanted to become a citizen (I was in my first or second year of grammar school already) I was helping her to determine the difference between "this" and "that" and "these" and "those." And it was quite exasperating that she wouldn't get them right. And I was the witness at her graduation; it was a big, big time. My mother was a voracious reader. She, too, had only high school. She had actually more formal education than I have had. She had a high school education. She was very bright. We had no contact with the visual arts at all at home. But music, literature and poetry, all these things were immensely important to her and they were the values of the household. From the viewpoint of the visual arts there was an immense craft interest. My grandfather had been a carriage builder and my grandmother used to help him. She could sew beautifully and so could my mother - and make beautiful things. As a result of this I had another very dramatic experience in the sense that it molded me a lot. My grandmother once said to me very irritably, "You'll never amount to anything because you have no patience." And so the whole idea of doing something and being able to do it in a sustained way began to happen to me very early.
PAUL CUMMINGS: The craft tradition idea of quality.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And doing what you did beautifully was very important in our household. So that, too, was very important. But what was important were the values of developing oneself, of living for something beyond the material things, and also a tremendous built-in arrogance that stemmed from my grandmother. She was a Kahane. Her family was of the Kahane class among the Jews. This meant that you were really very special. So that anything that belonged to her or was of her had a kind of build-in quality of pride, of dignity, the importance of dignity, of responsibility. And of course with it a concomitant weltschmerz and many, even some grotesque, values. I inherited these things, however much I might have resisted them, because she valued me so much. My mother had to go out to work. My mother and father were divorced when I was an infant so we were a family of women. And I began seeing very early - in fact, there, too, I was nourished on the idea -it never even dawned on me that women were less equal than anybody else. I mean the issue was never even raised. It didn't occur to me that there was such a thing as anti-Semitism. I never met an anti-Semite until I was an adult. And nobody ever called me a Jew. And nobody ever called me a woman in those ways, as to suggest that you did anything else but earn your living and look after yourself, you know, because it was a tough world. I realize now that many of the problems I've had over the years came from this fundamental inability to recognize myself as a minority. You know, it just didn't occur to me that having an underdog license was useful.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you start reading early?
JUNE WAYNE: Very young, yes. I read voraciously from the time I was very small.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What kind of things did you read?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, everything that wasn't nailed down. I remember my discovery of the word "into" that these two short words made one longer word. My God, it was a Sunday morning. I had a new pair of shoes. I was reading the Sunday comics and I found the word "into" and these were two words that I knew. And, my God, even the shoes were much less important. Although I remember them. They were black patent in the front half and silver brocade in the back half. They were Mary Jane dress shoes. My mother's nickname for me was "Dusty," short for Dostoevski because evidently I was reading the Russian writers very young and because I had a very sad look. So that the allegiance to writers, heavy writers, and the way I looked and my whole configuration these were built in very, very young. Just when they were I don't know.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was your mother interested in Russian writers? Or were the books just in the house?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I still own a collection of gilt and leather bound classics that stem from all those years back. Books were very valuable to our family. As I said, my mother read voraciously, the classics, poetry. She would have made a hell of an actress. She loved to read poetry with just that dramatic intonation that you occasionally hear poets do. For a variety of reasons poetry would move her to tears. That, of course, had to do with her own life and her own problems. But these things, as important things were very impressive and natural to my way of life. As was economic insecurity. As was a sense of danger out there. As was a certain tendency to be suspicious of men at the same time that you were in awe of them. Because ours was a household of vanishing men.
PAUL CUMMINGS: So it was three women against the world kind of?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, we didn't think of it as against the world. I think my mother and grandmother both thought of themselves as victims. My grandfather died in what must have been his very early forties. And my mother, as I say, was divorced - which was very unusual in those days - when I was an infant. So there were no male breadwinners around. My mother's kid brother was living with us. And she had another brother who was at that time of college age but he split out very early. And so my sibling, if I had one, was an uncle eight years older than I was - my mother's kid brother. That was the household. And of course he was out working in a grocery store when he was eleven or something of that kind. And, you see, we were deep in the Depression years. I have to stop and think a minute about that. So all of those factors were very pervasive. My grandmother and mother both were deep believers in social causes of one kind or another. I remember my grandmother trying to collect money to save the Scottsboro Boys. There was a deep conviction on the part of the family that race prejudice was wrong. Now this was built in. And just where it came from I don't know. Some of it came from my mother's brother Paul who later became a Communist, or may even have been at that time - I don't know. He was out of the household.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was there a great interest in religion because of your grandmother's background?
JUNE WAYNE: It was a very interesting relation to religion. My mother and I were both atheists. My grandmother would have been an atheist but to do so meant that she would have to cease her war with God. She declared war with God when my grandfather died. I remember the funeral, standing at the graveside (I must have been about six then) when she raised her fist to heaven, you know, to the sky and cursed - and she could curse so that it would blanch your eyebrows - you know, what kind of a God was this that would kill off this man? He died very suddenly - I don't know what of - but it was within a few days. He was a great strapping sort of fellow as I remember him. But he probably was of modest dimensions and I only remember him as large. It's hard to tell. I was about six at the time of his death. So, you see, my grandmother maintained a quarrel with God which would not allow an atheist position. But then she never had any formulated positions, only deep and pervasive attitudes that dominated her behavior about a great many things.
PAUL CUMMINGS: She didn't try to affect either you or your mother then? She really let you both go in your own way?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, the whole question of God was just never - it was of no significance in our household. Much more important was your own conscience, your own responsibility. In that sense we were, I suppose, "femmes engagees." There was just nobody standing between you and what you did that was all. You were on the carpet all the way along in that sense.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you find school when you started going to grammar school and getting involved with other children and a different milieu?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I did well in school at that point. I did well all through grammar school. I only began to get into difficulties in high school. School interested me. But my family relationship was much too insular to allow me to build up any deep relationships with the kids. My grandmother used to walk me to school, pick me up at lunch, take me back, and so on. I was never alone because she was convinced that I was so valuable that somebody would kidnap me.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That was the time when there were all the famous kidnappings.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, I know, but why in the world would anybody kidnap the daughter of a poverty-stricken woman? But, you see, it was part of the fundamental arrogance that I was special. And no matter how much grandmother nagged me and ran me down in private, in front of anybody else her worst was better than anybody else's best, you see. So there was that double-edged quality. Among the other children I had a few friends, nothing very significant. Mostly my life was interior, inside my head, in the house with books, with the piano, listening occasionally to radio, which was fairly new at that time. Such friends as I had were boys. And my relationship there was fragile. I was a protected girl. It happened that the leader of the gang on our street considered me his girl friend so I had certain privileges. But of course I wasn't really at home with boys. I used to run with them to some degree but not a great deal. And they were a source of teaching for my grandmother to teach me about life. Really if she had been educated she could have written Machievelli's advice to the Prince. But this immense capability that she had for her own pride was very formative of me. I remember once I came running into the house crying because this boy Harold Polanski had said something to me that was disrespectful, like, "oh, you fool," or something equivalent to that. And I was appalled and I ran into the house. And my grandmother said, "You see, that's because you didn't keep your distance. You allowed him to take you for granted. Now you keep away from him for a couple of days and you'll see what will happen." So I did. And I was amazed because he came around and apologized. She was right. And here again I had learned something very "operative" in human relations, that people could bite as well as kiss and that even with people you valued you had to be very careful; otherwise you could get trampled on. And these things have been important.
PAUL CUMMINGS: As your schooling went along you skipped some grades?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. But I don't remember when I skipped them. All I know is that somewhere toward the end of grammar school I was pretty young compared to the others in the class.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Do you think that was an advantage or disadvantage?
JUNE WAYNE: It was some of each. It was a great advantage in the sense that it closed me out of a lot of group activities and forced me into that selfhood where I moved at a more rapid pace. It was a social disadvantage in that I felt ill at ease and not accepted and wished I could be liked - but not really. You see, that was Grandmother's arrogance looking after me. And it was also very convenient to be taken for someone special. So those things were a help. I've heard a lot of conversation about the difficulties of being an only child and I think they're mostly rationalizations for a family having too many children and then rationalizing it into an asset. Because we do have tremendous advantages, we really do. [We, meaning only children] And particularly in relation to emotional security. You see, no matter how tough things might be - and it was a very intricate, emotional relationship between the three of us - nonetheless you knew that vis-a-vis an outsider that either my grandmother or my mother would move heaven and earth in my behalf. Now that's a singular advantage.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. It's a stone wall supporting one.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, you know, it may not be much but, by God, it belongs to you. You're central in that place.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What about high school? You went for a while and then dropped out.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. I began getting into real trouble there. In the first place, the high school as compared to the grammar school, was very large. I suppose it was small by today's standards. There was an immense number of students. Classes changed every forty minutes. And my attention span was such that at forty minutes I was just really beginning to enjoy myself. So the interruption of subject and location (I think now) was exceedingly disturbing to me. And having to relate to eight teachers, or six teachers, instead of one. And then, of course, the high school girls had graafian follicles that were popping a mile a minute. So sex was the dominant subject. And I was in no such season although I was fairly tall for my age my mother dressed me like a little girl with knee sox and no waistline...wearing knee sox in high school - I was the subject of attack and ridicule.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But you were so much younger than your classmates.
JUNE WAYNE: I was younger but you wouldn't know that from looking at me. For one thing, I had this excessively sad kisser. I was very serious. I was not a child who understood about laughing very much. Life was very serious. And that makes a difference. So I didn't have the sexy appurtenances of attractiveness.
PAUL CUMMINGS: The other girls were really working at it.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. They had bleached hair and lipstick. I remember one period - well I was still in eighth grade I guess it was - when the teacher decided that it was downright indecent for me to be wearing knee sox and that I constituted a sexual menace to the boys. She sent me home to get stockings on. My mother sent me right back and I was to tell the teacher that it was none of her business. I must have marched up and back about six times until my aunt stepped in and gave me a pair of hose and bawled out my mother for putting me in such a spot. Then as far as high school was concerned, with all the students, the classes... and, you see, my reading had carried me well along in certain directions...
END OF TAPE 1 - SIDE 1
TAPE 1 - SIDE 2
PAUL CUMMINGS: You were going to say something about high school again.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I was going to say that you must remember, that in terms of reading and also in terms of my knowledge of music I was pretty well ahead of the other high school students. So there was a kind of intellectual gap between us. And that was also the time of great depression in Chicago. Teachers were not being paid and the quality of education was changing. There were all sorts of pressures around.
PAUL CUMMINGS: They were just putting in time.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And we used to share our food with them. There was a period there for two or three years, I believe, that the teachers worked without salary and they marched in the streets and so on. There were lots of things like that going on. And in addition I had to pass a library on my way to school. So if you add all the unpleasantness of these milling mobs of people, of sexy girls and big lumbering boys interested in football, which I wasn't interested in, plus the enchantment of a library branch, you see I had the perfect setup for beginning to ditch school. And if I didn't feel like going to school that day I would get off the streetcar and go to the library instead and read all day. I had sort of the ambition to read everything beginning at A. Whatever the pressures were that were developing, at home things were rough for many reasons, and at school - and then I began meeting some new people who were older than I and who became friends (and are still my friends) who were very influential in my life - musicians; and a girl with whom I began ditching school who was as bright as I and read as much as I did and loved music.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Who is she?
JUNE WAYNE: Her name then was Florence Seaman. We are still friends. To this day we still see each other. She's here in California now. We used to ditch school together. We would spend five cents each for two huge chocolate eclairs, you know, the kind that would crack the pavement if you were to drop them because the custard was so heavy. Huge, dry things, and we would take these and go downtown where there was a certain Walgreen drugstore that had a dining room in the basement where there was a radio and where we could listen to certain concerts undisturbed in a corner. I mean this and other things that we used to do when we ditched school. And finally when my mother learned that I was doing this we had a big fuss. She said, "You'll go to school or you'll go to work." So I went to work. Left school completely.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You never got involved with extracurricular or school activities, or all the student organizations?
JUNE WAYNE: No. Not at all. They didn't interest me at all. I went to several football games and tried to look like part of the group but I really wasn't.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Sports didn't interest you.
JUNE WAYNE: No. They really didn't. By this time I had a very active life outside of school among a group of musicians in Chicago.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you get involved with them?
JUNE WAYNE: Through this girl friend.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you meet them?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, I met the first one, the key figure, Bernard Brindel, while I was on a vacation in Glens, Michigan. He was a tall, dark, handsome young composer of classical music. I imagine that his music - I haven't heard it now in twenty, twenty-five years but I could hum some of it for you. I still remember some themes. And it was probably of the genre of The Six. It sounded a little bit Poulenc-ish it seems to me now in retrospect. Incidentally, the other night I saw Albert Goldberg who knows all these same people, knew many of my friends there and who was traveling around Chicago then. He's a little bit older than I but nonetheless of this same milieu. And also Alfred Frankenstein. So both of these men (whom I later crossed paths with in the arts) were around there at the time. And I fell madly in love with Bernard Brindel. I was thirteen at the time. He must have been twenty. And I really knew what love was all about. Of course he hardly knew that I existed but he suffered me around. He had a group of young friends, young musicians who were younger than he. They must have been, say, eighteen, nineteen years old. And, as you know, musicians can be really terribly brilliant in many respects and terribly arrested in others. So they accepted me. I looked older than I was. I was an artist. They were in no position to determine whether I was any good. But that was who I thought I was. I had a heck of a good ear and I was an excellent audience and of course musicians adore audiences. And there was Florence and there were several other girls in the periphery of that group. And Florence had a family that liked to have young people around. They had a grand piano. So in her living room on the third floor of a walk-up apartment building in the northwest of Chicago I used to spend weeks sometimes, coming home only at night. And these musicians would gather there because they had a piano, the run of the house, and all the food they could eat. You see, a perfect combination. So this was the pad that we circulated around. And a very innocent pad it was. There was no sex. There were occasional references to sex because the boys were all reading Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. They were quite asthenic in their structure so that any active sexual life was well sublimated into music and literature. Jean Christophe was a big deal. We used to meet in the park in the summertime and we would call to each other with Siegfried's call to the dragon. And our games were the identification of themes out of chamber music. That sort of thing. Which made us a very odd sort of group; but intellectually very good for me. I was the only one in the group who read the daily newspapers. They did not do much of that because they were mostly quite leftish, sloganeering kind of people. I remember once quite stunning them when they chided me for reading the Chicago Tribune. I said, "How else will you know what the enemy is doing?" They were so overwhelmed by the logic of this, you see, that I marched at once to the position of the "brain" of the group. Such a cheap victory. But it was a curious kind of status. There was me, there was Florence; there was Marge who became "Pups" here in Los Angeles. Do you know Pup's Pastries on the Sunset Strip? You're not acquainted here? Well, Los Angelenos would know all about that. She had really the first coffee house there. A very brilliant gal, brilliant in the sense that she glowed; and bright. She was an excellent musician. She was the third girl (or woman) in this group. She committed suicide a year or so ago and is buried a block from here. So I guess my path will always be wrapped into these people. That milieu was my high school and my college and my world. And it was very helpful. At home I painted constantly. And of course by the time I was fifteen I went out to work.
PAUL CUMMINGS: When did you start drawing?
JUNE WAYNE: When I was a little girl, very little. I used to draw constantly. I used to draw figures and then I would clothe them and then I would put buttons on them. I loved buttons. And, incidentally, my first good paying job was as a designer in New York which included designing buttons. But I used to draw on the margins of my mother's books, or wherever I could find a piece of paper. Finally she sent me to the Saturday classes at the Art Institute to arrest the destruction of her books.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What was your family's attitude toward your inclination to be an artist? I certainly was not an economic wonder in those days.
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, well, but you see our values weren't economic. That wasn't significant. As long as you had a job and the rest of what you do was somehow culturally uplifting then you'd met the important criteria. So that was perfectly all right. Of course nobody ever postulated becoming an artist professionally. It was so odd that what I did was viewed to be an acceptable level of craft dedication, or of being a good girl, as it were, or keeping out of the way, or making something beautiful. All of these things were therefore very acceptable activities. And we didn't know any artists. I didn't know any artists. None. Not one. Since I know nothing whatever of my father's family I know nothing whatever about my genealogy. I don't know whether I've inherited anything. I've always assumed that I am sort of - that all of my genes come from the one side of this family. So I can't find any trace except for manual dexterity; and taste. My mother had great taste. But otherwise I wouldn't know. I just don't.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What kind of jobs did you get when you started to work?
JUNE WAYNE: My first job was putting labels on whiskey bottles in a liquor bottling factory. And working at a belt. And since the belt moved more rapidly than we could label bottles, the bottles would break and the belt was always wet with alcohol. I lasted only two days on that job because I was drunk within an hour and deadly sick by the end of three hours. I couldn't stick it out. The next job - the one that I held for some time, it seemed to me forever but it could have been any amount of time, a month, a year, who knows, was in an automobile parts factory on the central West Side of Chicago, the near West Side where there's a lot of industrial area. I would have to get up very early in the morning to go to work in this factory and ride the elevated and get off in the dead of winter - fortunately no longer in knee sox - with a paper bag and a sandwich therein, usually baloney. I don't know why baloney. That's how I remember it. Maybe it was the whole thing that was baloney. There were a lot of Italian Catholic girls working there. It was a very illuminating experience. It was very clear to me that I was not made for mindless work. My chief memories have to do with the fact that my paycheck was so low - I don't know - twenty-five cents, thirty cents an hour minus deductions. It was dreadful. And the other quite impressive thing to me was the fact that there were dirty words inscribed in the washrooms. Which rather shocked me. I had no friends among those factory workers that I can remember, although I must have had some; but none that I saw outside of the job. I just don't remember that.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What kind of things did you do there?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, you filled orders. You went and you got six gaskets of this and put it in that kind of a box. And for a little while I ran a punch press. And that was impressive to me because there were a number of employees there who were minus fingers. Evidently there were no safeguards on the machines. So I had sort of a healthy respect for that. But I was very discontented with all that. It didn't fit somehow. Much more important than my working life was the climate of the Depression and of gangsterism. I remember once watching a man shoot somebody down in the street. I remember being in an automobile that was trapped between two cars that were riding along blazing gunfire at each other. In Logan Square we lived next door to a woman whose son was wiped out in the Saint Valentine Day Massacre. I remember to this day the scream when she got the news which we could hear across the court building. These kinds of things were very meaningful. Chicago and the deep snow, those fantastic snowstorms, beautiful snowstorms, the gray red look of the city, of the brick. the workers going to work. All these kinds of things. And of course many intimate family scenes.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's very strange though about everybody in Chicago, you know, on numerous tapes and other things all had an interest in the gangster idea and activity whether they were young or old. It seemed to permeate all levels and all kinds of --
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it was pervasive because of the speakeasies, the newspapers; everybody knew somebody who was like that, who was a part of it somehow. Corruption in Chicago was, and I think still is, far greater than in most cities. The police were corrupt. and then of course, you see, all of these things which might have been forgotten have been reinforced by film so that it's very hard to be honest about what you're actually remembering again and what you have learned. I remember the Dillinger headlines. Now where was I when Dillinger was around? Maybe I wasn't even there, you see. I don't know. So these are screen memories compressed perhaps.
END OF TAPE 1 - SIDE 2
TAPE 2 - SIDE 1
PAUL CUMMINGS: Well, what about the University of Chicago where at one point you had some interest? You were going to go there.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, you see, having been really at loggerheads with my mother about my education [She wanted me to complete my education...I couldn't stand high school...I wasn't having any more of it]. But to prove to her that I didn't need that kind of an education I went down to the University of Chicago and took the entrance examinations - and passed them - more to resolve this issue between us than anything else. But I couldn't have gone to U.C. There were some things that happened to me at that time in my life where the alternatives of going to college and not going to college, what these meant by way of other implications were untenable for me. And so I didn't go. What I'm referring to I never discuss, I've never discussed with anybody. There was a very serious problem within the family. I could have gone to college but it would have meant cooperating with some things that were going on that would have been devastating in the family. And I couldn't do it. The only way I could have been funded...anyway, I wasn't really interested in that. It was all inside my head. And I couldn't see the relevance. It wasn't operational to me, you know.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It was still the Depression, wasn't it?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, it was the Depression. But such jobs as there were, were for college-trained people. And I knew people who were college-trained. At the time also there were men in my life, you know, guys I was interested in who were interested in me. Although I felt I was very homely, that never seemed to be a problem [re] having dates if I wanted them, or having men be very taken with me. But the whole question of the University was more a matter of the milieu in which I was traveling. The people I knew at the University of Chicago who were either graduates or still going there. And then of course by 1937, 1938, 1939 when I started living on the South Side near the University some of the most influential people in my life were graduate assistants there, or whatever. Interestingly enough, one of the most important people in my life at that time and for many years afterwards was a chemist who was working with that Fermi group that was getting going. I didn't know what they were doing particularly. But my relationship to scientists, as to artists, and then to writers - because there were writers around there too - was very important. For example, an artist that I used to date Arthur Lidov - I don't know if you know him - he's in New York, he earns his living as a commercial artist doing covers for Fortune and so on. I used to date Arthur and he was a roommate of Saul Bellow. So there was that sort of milieu at that time. Saul Bellow was then a very young wraith (Now he is a gray-haired wraith but has the same large eyes and concentrated appearance and charm and so on) wandering around that rather dirty apartment on the South Side. And Nelson Algren was around. And James Farrell, and Meyer Levin whose wife, I believe, was working at the University of Chicago, if I'm not mistaken. There were a lot of social workers around at that time, too. And of course Harold Jacobson, this chemist that I'm talking about, was almost as bone poor as I was. I was on the WPA Art Project at that time. I remember one particularly amusing moment. The PWA had a lot of workers in the park digging things. I loved horseback riding, and so did Harold Jacobson. So we rented some horses. I was trigged out in jodhpurs. I couldn't afford boots but with jodhpurs you didn't really need boots. And there we were riding in the park while the PWA workers were cursing us, calling us the idle rich. And of course I was poor and Harold was starving as a graduate assistant.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you get on the Project?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, first, by lying about my age. And then I heard that you could get on the Project as an artist. You see, by the time I got on the Project - I was on the Easel Project - I had already had two one-man shows. One at --
PAUL CUMMINGS: The Boulevard Gallery.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And one at the Palaccio Nacional de Belles Artes in Mexico City. So I had professional qualifications. And I had left home so I was certainly in need of support. I had no money. And so there it was. I got on the Project. Which is where I met Pete Pollack and George Thorpe, and Mitchell Siporin and Millman and a whole gang of artists that were around at that time. And of course it was around that milieu that the Writers Project existed. And the Actors Theatre was around. So that's how I entered that world as it were. That plus the University. Because a lot of the artists lived around the University.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, I see. So it was physical location where people were.
JUNE WAYNE: Propinquity and the job of being an artist and all these things brought me together. I just found my own habitat as it were. That's how I got there.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's interesting. I couldn't see how all the pieces fit together. Now it makes sense. Well, to meet all those people must have been very active social life. You must have gone places.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. The social life of the artists revolved around the studios. Emerson Woelffer who is out here and who I'm still good friends with was there at that time. Millman and Siporin and Sidney Loeb had a place on Pearson Street where we used to go. And the Artists Union Gallery also provided a base for the artists to meet. Of course we had no industry and a lot of job insecurity. So we got together as artists to share our Project insecurity. The primary purpose was to try to keep the Projects going.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What kind of things did you do? Did you work on any of the things that the Project did around the country?
JUNE WAYNE: I was on the Easel Project and I painted alone. But I have - and I can show you - two paintings, which is all I have out of that period. One was painted in Mexico before the Project. In fact, both were painted just before the Project. I have no idea where those things are that I did on the Project; although I have a few antiquated photographs of works that were done on the Project.
PAUL CUMMINGS: All the art seems to have disappeared. So many of the painters have said that.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, a lot of those works were destroyed, I understand. They were owned by the government.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But the ones that remained in the studio?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, I gave them everything I made. It never dawned on me to do anything else. So what happened to it I don't know. There's just no way of knowing.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How many years was the Project active there? You were on it for --?
JUNE WAYNE: I wasn't on it terribly long, no. Maybe a year or a year and a half, something like that. I just really don't remember. Then I got a job somehow and went to New York, I left the Project. Things were disintegrating already anyway. The economy was beginning to pick up. My attention was being attracted very actively by what was going on in Europe. The war in Spain interested me a great deal. News began filtering back about the concentration camps. I was very much opposed to the persecution of the Jews naturally and the rise of Fascism which first came to my attention from Saul Dorfman. He was one of the musicians in this group. He was a student of Schnabel and had been in Germany studying piano. He came back because of the Gauleiters. He was fearful and couldn't remain there to complete his studies. So this alerted me and I became more and more sensitive to the whole war situation. That and the predicament of the artists, my own economic problems, family problems. I was pretty old by that time.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You were - what?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, about nineteen. But I might just as well have been eighty. I looked much older. I looked older I think than I do now. Of course that's typical of our family. We improve with age. So I'll die in my prime.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Like good wine.
JUNE WAYNE: I'd like to think that.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You worked at Marshall Field at one point. How did that come about?
JUNE WAYNE: I worked at Marshall Field before I was on the Project. I came back from Mexico and got the job at Marshall Field's in the picture galleries; because of what I knew about art, you see. I was responsible for what they call the Modern Gallery at Marshall Field's. Which included selling the works of art - not the works of art - the pictures hanging in the exhibitions, dusting the stock. In return for that title of course I got to do most of the menial labor that did away with a porter; for which my wages were $16.50 a week. Out of which I spent eight dollars a week on the dentist. I'd always had a very bad bite and was still obliged to have extensive orthodontia. I had a bad bite that my mother never had taken care of. It wasn't until I went to work that I began looking after this medical problem. And I remember it was very tough earning that kind of money and paying this son of a bitch dentist eight bucks a week. Of course I realize now that he did a massive amount of work for what must have been a couple of hundred dollars but it might as well have been tens of thousands as far as its impact on my capabilities were concerned. I paid my bills far better when I was on the Project because I think we were getting $18.50 or $22.50 or something like that, which was a lot of money.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did the artists you knew react to the idea of the Project?
JUNE WAYNE: For most of them it was a godsend. It was an absolute godsend. I remember an artist who was literally starving, actually starving; and who, even starving, would go to tremendous lengths to be able to buy a tube of paint; he would buy a tube of paint in preference to eating. And when the Project came along and provided his materials as well as some money and also called him an artist, it was the recognition of that label as much as the money that was absolutely central to the lives of artists. It gave us identities, it gave us a link with society that was absolutely unique for the time. That you could actually get a check for painting pictures as a kind of job was terribly important. And that was an insight that informed a great deal that had to do with Tamarind many years later. Many things that I observed in those years helped to shape policy in my design of Tamarind; including the fact that Tamarind as an institution would be impersonal: impersonal in the sense that once an artist was in there were certain untouchable rights that he had, his aesthetic freedom, his right to that only he could be responsible for his aesthetic, and that he was entitled to the best that he needed for the making of his art. That's just fundamental to this program. There were a lot of things about that time that were very important. And that was one of them.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What decided you to go to New York?
JUNE WAYNE: I got a job. At the time that I worked at Marshall Field's the prescribed costume was a black dress with a white collar or some permutation of that kind of uniform. Well, you know, Chicago is filthy dirty and I was never one for domestic things. And I thought how stupid it was to have to wear a white collar which is the fastest thing to get dirty. So I designed a metal collar which I hammered and then bound with leather. And they were really terribly attractive things. And the buyer of jewelry at Marshall Field's watching me walk through one day said, gee, you know, that's nice, can you make some for us to sell. And I thought, well, if she wants to buy it there must be another market. Then somewhere along the line I went to New York and took some of the stuff with me. And, through a variety of accidents, I met a man who owned an ornament company that prepared ornaments for the dress industry - belts, buckles, buttons, jewelry. He took one look at this and he said, "Claire, (at that time I used only my first and middle name, June Claire) if you get one idea you get others." So he offered me a job. And I went to New York to live. That's how it happened. It seemed like a fabulous amount of money at the time. It was fifty dollars a week, I guess, which in those days was a lot of money. And that was quite an education, the education of June Claire (as I then was) when I learned all about the ethics of the garment industry and how time is money. And I could see why he was so eager to hire me because creativity is the one important factor that they needed and were always looking for and didn't care where they found it. I learned a lot about pricing; about scheduling - not really about scheduling itself but the need for schedules. But all of those things, you know just --
PAUL CUMMINGS: You understood its uses and values.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Why you had to have it. And I understood also the dangers of people who come along and steal your ideas and how to protect yourself, not that I particularly ever had to, but still it was a hell of a look into a tough industry. I did very badly at it. I had hives. I couldn't stand it. And I would not sleep with my boss who harassed me a great deal, was always showing up at my place with a nasty cigar hanging out of his mouth. To this day I do not allow anybody into my premises or Tamarind with a cigar and I learned about hating cigars at that time. One of my few absolute laws. But he was a classic garment industry guy. I remember the first trip up to the factories of New England where I would work, you know, making up the line.
END OF TAPE 2 - SIDE 1
TAPE 2 - SIDE 2
PAUL CUMMINGS: You knew a great number of writers, didn't you?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. I still do.
PAUL CUMMINGS: In New York, too?
JUNE WAYNE: I'm trying to remember now whether I knew any writers in New York. No, I don't think so. You know, Chicago was kind of an important writing place then. Richard Wright, too, was around, slim and honey-colored and intense; a lovely man. I'm trying to think of who else. Well, anyway --
PAUL CUMMINGS: What happened at the factory?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh. Well, I remember my first trip with him. His name was Sol Holstein. I don't know if he's alive or dead. A little round man shorter than I with this dead cigar always hanging out of the corner of his mouth. His teeth were formed to it by now. He was pear-shaped. He often walked around our plant which was on 39th Street with a hat on, in shirt sleeves. We were going up to Attleboro and Providence, Rhode Island, all through there where the jewelry factories are. We got on the train at Grand Central Station. I had a compartment. And that was very nice. We no sooner pulled out of the station when there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and there is Solly with the cigar, bare-headed, striped pajamas that must have been about a foot too long for him, you know, because his bare feet were encased in the overflow of the pajama leg, as it were. He mumbled at me, "Claire, can I come in?" And I shut the door as though I had been burned and I screamed through it, "Oh, no you don't!" There were a number of futile tappings at the door. When we got to Providence next morning, he was really quite irritable. We got to the hotel and I went up to my room. There was one door that I didn't understand, you know, the bathroom, closet and one door and of course I opened the door and there was Solly. He'd got these adjoining rooms. And the trip was really quite a nightmare. He simply assumed that he hadn't discovered my price yet. The entire period of time that I worked for the Sterling Button Company was maddening battle. Of course these were the folk ways of the industry. And all of the people we met just naturally assumed that, of course, I was like all the other designers who had been around. This irritated the hell out of me. And I was really not terribly poised about how to handle the problem. Harold Jacobson was also living in New York at that time. And from time to time I would confide my problems to him. He was a great practical joker. So he said, "I'll fix him for you, June." I didn't know what he was going to do. But Harold instituted a policy of harassment of Holstein which was exceedingly devious and terribly funny for me, not for Holstein. First he sent him an open post card from the Florence Crittenton Home saying, "Dear Solly, when are you coming to visit me. I miss you." And then these cards would come more and more urgently and finally a photograph came of a black girl with a little child. And Solly was getting quite unnerved about all this. And of course because they were open postcards the entire office staff read them, you know, and the drama was building up. Finally when Harold was ready he simply went through the Yellow Pages and started calling up various services like veterinarians, undertakers; one day he called up eight automobile people and ordered a demonstration car for the same time, noon, in the garment industry 39th Street, all coming to look for Solly. It really came to a horrendous climax. And I wasn't able to get Harold to call it off either.
PAUL CUMMINGS: He started enjoying it.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, of course. And he had a vicious and vivid imagination if he liked. Barrels of herring, all sorts of appliances were delivered C.O.D. in the heart of the garment industry. And one day the fumigators arrived and ordered everybody out. And everybody went because nobody knew who had ordered them. Once you start thinking mischief this way you can cause just devastating situations. Anyway, my life moved on at that point, in any case. The war came along, or was about to come along. And I met George Wayne, God help me. And shortly thereafter married him and went off to be an Army wife for five or six years or something of that kind.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was he in the Army at that time.
JUNE WAYNE: He was a doctor and he was about to be drafted so he enlisted in the Regular Army in 1940 I guess that was. And Air Force. And I simply closed up my apartment. At that time I lived upstairs of Larre's on 56th Street in New York City. (At one point I lived on 52nd Street across from Leon & Eddy's.) I had a swell studio apartment on the top floor. The one that I simply closed the door on, left everything, my paintings, belongings, everything, just went away. I mean one could do things like that in those days because you had no real property. So I went into the next big adventure of my life which I'm sure never would have happened if there had not been a war. Which gave everything an urgency. Somehow a man going off to be killed had a quality of drama that destroyed my good sense. It was a stupid thing to have done.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you meet him in the kind of milieu you were in though?
JUNE WAYNE: By accident, you know, the way one does. I'm just trying to remember how I met him. How did I meet him. I don't remember the exact chain. Oh, I went to a party, hives and all. I had hives all the time that I was with the Sterling Button Company. And, incidentally discovered that the reason for the hives was that I'm acutely allergic to nail polish. And on that job I had to keep my fingernails polished because of the jewelry, sampling it and so on. And nail polish afflicts my eyes, makes them swell. When I met George my eyes were very badly swollen. He paid no attention to me. It was in the middle of winter. He drove a group of us home and left me off at three in the morning eight blocks from where I lived. He didn't even think enough of me to drive me to the door. He would have done it for a cat. But that's how utterly unappealing I must have been or how gauche he was. It probably was a combination of both. Anyway, he learned later that I had my own apartment and a good job which, to an intern making sixteen dollars a month, must have been very attractive. And in the light of the devastation of our marriage (my view of it is no doubt colored) I can look back and give it quite a different interpretation now than I did then. But at the time it seemed very romantic. Anyway, he was being called into the Army. I didn't' know him well at all. We got married. I went off with him. And that began a whole waste of time. I really begrudge those years. Which is silly. I mean I don't look back on it or brood about it, but it was a terrible waste of time and energy.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's so strange because it put you in an entirely different kind of world.
JUNE WAYNE: I didn't realize that it was doing that. It was a world I had never seen. And it's quite explainable because he came along and had very strong views about a great many things and was probably the first man I'd ever met who did have, because with everybody else I had some relationship to the things we talked about but none at all to the things that George knew about, like health I suppose, physical well-being. And I should say that I was very fragile during those years. I was often quite ill. I wasn't nearly as vigorous as I am now. So here appears a man who not only is going to take care of me physically but is going to support me. Well, nothing like that had ever happened in my life, or to any of the women I knew. That was really one hell of a shock. And this, which is a fundamental assumption for most women appeared as such a novelty as to be immensely appealing. Of course I now know that you can pay too big a price for money. Not that he had any money to speak of. But he had this capability. So he went into the Army. And the terrors of the war really kept us together in the sense that he went overseas on the first convoy out after Pearl Harbor. And, after all, I wasn't going to be disloyal to him. If he had hung around we would have hated each other very quickly. There would have been no romance to cement us together and none of the rest of this nonsense of trying to devote myself to a life that fulfilled his expectations but also my own, and impossible balance of terror.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Well, you were in New York and then you moved to California.
JUNE WAYNE: When he went overseas...You see, the war immediately wiped out my earning capability because all those New England factories were converted to war industry. And metals couldn't be used for jewelry anymore and so on. Things were all topsy-turvy. Also I came down with what turned out to be the opening stages of rheumatic fever. I got terribly ill in New York. It was in December or January I think or some such month of 19-- - when did the war happen? Pearl Harbor was 1941 - well, in December or January 1942 I developed a terrible strep sore throat. I was terribly sick. And I knew I couldn't get a job. One of George's relatives wrote from California and said, "It's nice and warm here. Why don't you come?" So I did go. I got on the train and in that three-day period the disease evidently was relatively quiescent, but the day I got off the train I had the full symptoms of rheumatic fever, the swollen red angry joints. I was terribly sick. And spent the better part of the next eighteen months to two years, on and off, in and out of sanitaria. I was too fragile to really work although I spent the time very profitably. It was then that I became interested in writing fiction because I wasn't going to tell George that I was ill. So I created a fictional life in my letters of all the things I was doing. I got to do a lot of things with that time and I discovered how immensely useful it is to make everything come to you. The days were terribly short in the sanitarium. Mind you I read Proust, I wrote a great deal, I had a chance to think about a great many things, I read books that were immensely important to my later development as an artist.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What kind of books?
JUNE WAYNE: I remember particularly a book of essays by Edmund Wilson in which he made a comment about Kafka that was very influential, that had to do with structure and how one structured things and the way in which Kafka would from time to time move in and out of focus within a single sentence. Which tied in very closely to certain optical interests that I had and became persuasive. Also, the problems of writing, I could then see there were great relationships between the structural problems of writing and of painting. Other artists were never useful to me because when I looked at their paintings was their solution. Whereas the postulation of a problem in an allied art form could be very exciting because I could make my own leap into the solution. You see. Other people's work is already an answer. So that that period was very useful. I took a course in production illustration, in how to read airplane blueprints and turn these into three-dimensional drawings out here through Cal Tech and learned all that. I was going to go to work in the aircraft industry. A lot of artists were doing this. And also my friend Marge - "Pupi" - was working for WGN in Chicago and she said to me, "Why don't you write for radio?" I said, "Well, how do you do that?" She sent me a couple of scripts. And I wrote some radio scripts mailed them to WGN, and they promptly hired me. So that's how I was a radio writer for a while.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Were you drawing or painting or doing any of this sort of thing?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. I didn't do very much of it because it's physically strenuous and, as I say, I was fragile. I spent much more time writing. I wrote some stories which I still have here. (I had a very brief correspondence with Richard Wright about one of them.) Then George came back from overseas and I began wandering around these Army posts always painting as I went. Then he was discharged and we bought a little place here on Rampart Boulevard. I made a studio out of half of the garage and I was back in it. And at that point I met Jules Langsner and began a series of discussions about art, a conversation about art that went on for thirteen years daily; daily discussions about aesthetics and problems in art.
PAUL CUMMINGS: To write for WGN you went back to Chicago?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That was right in the middle of the war then.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, I was writing war programs, war bond shows. I remember doing a program for Wing Commander Gibson who was Churchill's pilot, the young man who bombed the dams of the Ruhr Valley. It was right after that that I did that program with him. He was killed a short time later. I also wrote music continuity for music programs. I used to write three or four programs a day. It was terribly easy to do; just awfully easy. Like anything else, once you knew how it was like writing checks.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Like filling in blanks.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you like it, though? Was it an interesting kind of job?
JUNE WAYNE: Not very much, no. After I had learned how to do it it was terribly dull. And there was no place I could go with it. I sensed - I didn't know - but there were no women in important jobs in that sort of thing. I mean unless you were an actress and could play roles of women acting out the feminine mystique, that was a dead end and it was temporary in the sense that I knew that some day George would come back and then I'd have to go on to some other place.
END OF TAPE 2 - SIDE 2
TAPE 3 - SIDE 1
PAUL CUMMINGS: After the job with WGN you came back to California right?
JUNE WAYNE: After WGN George came back from overseas and then we wandered around this country quite a bit. We were in Texas and New Mexico. When he was discharged from the Army after the war ended we then settled in California.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Is there any reason why you picked California?
JUNE WAYNE: Because of my health mostly. We were starting absolutely from scratch. We went back and looked over New York and it was dreadful. He was thinking of going into practice in Brooklyn and the thought of being a wife in Brooklyn with a doctor practicing medicine in the house - I mean I couldn't have told you why but I would have preferred death. Besides California relieves my oxygen hunger. I don't know how else to describe that. When I'm in the East I feel as though I'm in somebody's old tweed coat pocket, as though I can't breathe. California is cool at night and I felt well here. I have never been as long without being ill as I have been here. The climate plus the advent of sulpha and penicillin made all the difference and one could live far better. And since he was starting all over anyway, why not here. So we came back here. There was no such problem as an art world to attract me. You see, I wasn't the least bit interested in the art would per se. It was still too primitive to be meaningful to artists. At least I felt that way. And when I'd been in New York remember I wasn't really terribly much a part of the art world. I knew a lot of artists. For a little while I lived with a couple of artists. Murray Hampton and Jo (Josephine) Levy, a sculptor and a painter who lived in a loft on 21st Street just off Fifth Avenue. But I wasn't a part of the art scene.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you go to galleries and museums when you were in New York?
JUNE WAYNE: Hardly. If I had any time I did my own work and the rest of the time I was struggling with my job and with Sol Holstein. It's significant that I went to libraries, you see. I was involved with that, not with other artists so much.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Still, with books.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What about Jules Langsner who you said you met when you settled down here again? How did you meet him?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Well, while I was ill here I met a couple of young social workers who were friends of Marge's "Pupi" from Chicago. She sent them to see me because she knew I was all alone. We became very good friends. They were psychiatric social workers. And Jules at that time earned his living as a psychiatric social worker. One day they came to have lunch with me and they brought him along. He was sort of curious that I was an artist and took a look at what I was doing and said nothing. I was very unhappy with my own work. I knew that it wasn't right, you know. And I was terribly intrigued by the fact that he said nothing. I just felt in my bones that he knew things that I wanted to know. And I've always been that kind of person. I learn from people. I learn, you know, what's relevant. So I badgered him to explain to me why they were...And I said to him, "It isn't good and I don't know why it isn't good." And we really began this discussion. He was a man of immense synthesizing capability and he was a born teacher. Later in his life he taught some for a living. He was a highly introverted man. He was writing a book. Writing it in a closet which was all the space he had in his then life, marriage. The conversations that we had, the way in which he had of moving from one discipline to another was just as I had already discovered the relevance of writing to painting, and of music to painting in a way. Jules was able to enlarge this kind of concept capability for which I had a certain talent and enlarge it with information and so on. And he had the instinct of a bird dog about a painting. He wasn't a painter but he could look at a painting and know; his eye would go unerringly to what it was about the painting that was working or not working. Since this was a driving interest for me and also for him, as I say, we began what amounted to daily conversations for years and years and years. If I had a teacher in art it was Jules. And, of course, a great deal that I already knew, that I had learned from Harold Jacobson about music and Kafka and that sort of thing. There had been key people all along. And he just added another slice, and a very important slice, to the body of information that I had. The ability to fight about, to engage in intensive dialogue about concepts and not just in art because his point of view was that there were pervasive concepts cutting across all disciplines and that they would find their expression in many ways. So that for him, for example, there was a relevance between more than a chance that Seurat was doing what he was doing at the same time that color theories were being developed, that the Eiffel Tower was being built. So that these discussions with Jules enabled me to develop concepts that were ahead of the time, that even now, though most people don't know just what the hell I'm up to, they're willing to accept what I'm up to because there has been a fair amount of [currency] of some of these [ideas]. Again, what I am doing now is removed from mainstream. So I suppose I'll always be to some degree out of sync. But, you know, who cares?
PAUL CUMMINGS: What was the culture scene like in California in the late forties? What was happening?
JUNE WAYNE: There was very little of it here. The first galleries were just beginning to start up, like Landau. And they were very primitive. Walter Arensberg was here and his collection; and his conversations, which were important. Stendahl was here with great pre-Columbian stuff. Vincent Price was wandering around but not terribly important, at least not to me. The Los Angeles Museum was very stodgy and mixed in with natural history. There were pockets of artists. They were terribly run down vis-a-vis New York. We had some very good people. I've mentioned Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg who were probably the outstanding people around at the time. Knud Merri was here. Macdonald-Wright was here, and still is here, incidentally. Peter Krasnow was here. Hans Burkhardt was around. Oscar van Young was around having escaped out of the Chicago WPA projects; his wife was working out here and supporting him too. He's still around. There wasn't a great deal but what there was was important. The Los Angeles Art Association was starting up. There weren't enough galleries to give one any outlet. And if there had been they wouldn't have interested me very much. The primary action, if there was any, was in the museums. I was working very hard in 1947, 1948, 1949. And then I had my first show in many, many years in 1950 with Donald Bear. Oh, yes, Rico Lebrun, of course, was a terribly important actor on the scene here. And most of the look of the art around was influenced by his presence. The Jepson Art Institute where he taught; Howard Warshaw, Billy Brice, Rico Lebrun; these were the "big boys," the powerhouses of the community. And cordially hated by Lorser Feitelson. So that's what was going on.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was there a great deal of cliquishness amongst the artists? Were there many groups?
JUNE WAYNE: There was the Legrun group, there was Feitelson's own path. And very little else. The artists were spread around, still very isolated. There was no economic base, as usual. Therefore it was a fairly free and easy time. Santa Barbara was very important because of Donald Bear. He was a heartland, a kind of refuge for artists, for Lebrun and for many other artists. William Dole was up there then and still is there. And there were some collector strength building up around the Santa Barbara Museum which was mostly funded by Wright Ludington. Up in San Francisco you had some activity. There was the San Francisco Museum of Art and Grace Morley who was very important up there. And Tommy Howe who was a very important force and a tolerant force for the artists and a good friend of Donald Bear. And you had Ninfa Valvo who was curator at the deYoung Museum and an absolute angel. You know, those curatorial people - Howe, Morley, Bear, and Valvo were in such contradiction to the climate of curatorial people today. They were on the artist's side, they were out looking, they were supportive. They didn't have much support to offer but they gave shows and their affection and their understanding. And they weren't manipulating the artists emotionally in the way that is not often the case. Oh, yes, there was Freda Klapp down in the San Diego-La Jolla area who had much of this quality, too. She was a great connoisseur of prints and drawings. So that your museum people and the museums were not a hostile place. They were very weak, but they weren't "fashionable" and they weren't hostile. And the dominant personalities in the museum world were much more scholarly, much less bent on shaping art and more occupied with observing it, taking care of it, helping if they could. And that was a very great difference from what it is today. Jim Elliott was here. And then Rick Brown showed up. Jim brought to the museum a lot of good will. Oh, and James Byrnes who is now and has been for a long time at Delgado; Jimmy Byrnes was of the earlier group and he along with Frank Perls and Paul Kantor and his wife Josephine set the gallery pace of this community. Josephine, who incidentally now is the wife of Wright Morris and a dear friend of mine (up north) has immense taste and, oh, another very important pair in the California art scene was Doug MacAgy and Germaine (Gerry) MacAgy. And, you see, it seemed that San Francisco art was more important at that time. At least it had more recognition. You had Clyfford Still there and Rothko. And Hassel Smith was up there, and still is. I don't know just where Hassel Smith fit in about that time. There were a great many artists around there. San Francisco had more prominence. Los Angeles was so spread out that the only agglutinated power group among the artists (if you could identify one at all) centered around the Lebrun focus. Now Doug and Germaine MacAgy were very important to the art scene. And we knew them and they knew us and they were part of our milieu. Ninfa, Tommy Howe, the MacAgy's were all important - however transient - in my life. When they came down here they stayed with me. Don Bear became a close friend. I did some prints in his memory when he died.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Do you think that distances between places in the Los Angeles area makes a great deal of difference as far as a kind of cohesive artist communication is concerned?
JUNE WAYNE: It certainly did at that time. It still protects us to some degree. You refer to it as preventing a cohesive thing; I view it as a protection.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But I mean in the difference - the way in Paris there was a cafe that everybody went to at 5:30 or something and you could meet people of many different persuasions.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, yes. That made a big difference. You see by the time New York was becoming cohesive and you had The Club and so on, you also had the appearance (and we're getting it now) of the phenomenon where artists start terrorizing each other instead of stimulating each other: where they become cliques that are competing for attention; and where you get small armies of paranyas instead of colleagues. I don't like all that. And I think one of the great things about Los Angeles is that we have been so diffused. You see I really don't believe all that crap about - I call it "crap" because I don't believe it (I didn't have to be as strong as all that). I really don't believe that artists have to come together in teams in order to make important advances. These critical masses, these densities of a population for an idea to get across may be necessary to overcome the environment but not to do the creative work. It only takes one or two or three to do what has to be done. And you're very lucky in any movement if you have a couple of protean personalities. You may get large numbers of very talented consolidators but the creative advances I'm not sure have to come from these colonies of people. And I think in that sense that California was very good for me. And I will probably always live in some isolation from artists at that level, happy to be with them as people and as colleagues; and fine. But, God, when I'm doing my work I don't want anyone mucking around in my head.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You want to shut the door and be able to work.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. You've got to have that kind of privacy.
END OF TAPE 3 - SIDE 1
TAPE 3 - SIDE 2
JUNE WAYNE: A very important dealer at the time was Hatfield Gallery, Dalzell Hatfield and his wife Ruth had a very important gallery here, a key gallery here.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Esther Robles opened a gallery here, too, didn't she?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, she opened I think, well after Landau; I remember her after Landau. But that may have been only a year or two - I don't know. Zeitlin was here - the Zeitlin Bookstore; but one thought of it much more in relation to books that to art. And then, you know, La Cienega Boulevard began to coagulate. There were enough [galleries] to start making traffic. And then another very critical factor was the development of that program by Jules, called the You and Modern Art Discussion Group (for the Ford Foundation) which was located here at that time. In the fifties Paul Hoffman moved it out here. It was called "Itching Palms." And Hutchins was here. They had a rather active adult education activity for which Jules organized this discussion series. Now that, as I say, made a big difference because a whole power structure in Los Angeles took that course and became much more devoted to contemporary art and artists as a result of it. So we started getting a certain density of wealthy, opinion-making people who entered art collecting. And they provided some protection vis-a-vis the community and they also provided come traffic in the buying of art.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What kind of classes were these? Who attended them?
JUNE WAYNE: They were discussion groups. It was based on group dynamic theory really. They were groups of twenty, gathered with discussion leaders out of the arts. I was one; Clinton Adams was another; and Douglas worked out a text, which I must have here, and a body of reproductions and actual works of art, a division of subjects during the course of which during ten sessions we provided a syntax and a semantic basis. We provided them with some language, some words to use, some examples of useful visual syntax, examples of what we meant by configuration, what we meant by line, the differences in kinds of lines; so that we had some sort of grammar even for communication. And then using actual works of art which we were easily able to rustle up, we set off on discussion. There would be a presentation of the dominant theme of the session. And then the group, through reaction to what work of art, would comment, fighting pro and con for and against the work of art as they tended to do. We'd spend a whole evening on one picture, or maybe on two. Now this was a remarkably useful method of bringing people into the work of art. First of all, because it allowed them group dynamic techniques but focused all of their "acting out," such as it was, on the work of art. So the technique didn't get in the way of our purpose. And what you got at the end of ten weeks was not people who knew about modern art but people who had managed to shed a lot of assumptions about what they had to bring to it. So that they were by that time ready to some degree first to begin looking at art with a couple of tools and also with a relatively clean eye. So its purposes was to neutralize a hostile environment.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That kind of people took this course?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, men and women. For example, there were a number of prominent people. The Fadimans took it. Goetz took it. Missy Chandler took it. Many of the people who are very active in the museum world not - the Weiners, the Burgons the Leisures, Zola Rex, and oh, just dozens of them.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was this kind of an initial activity on their part? Or had they already had -- ?
JUNE WAYNE: Some of them had collections of Impressionist blue chip things. Some had no collection and were just interested. I don't know how Jules recruited them. We had some groups of people who took it in outlying sections who were just ordinary people that we got through the adult education program. We wanted to see whether this particular group of power people were any different in their expectations than just the man in the street.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Were they?
JUNE WAYNE: No. Not at all. They had somewhat different motives from time to time. Their drive for narcissistic visibility was more evident. But otherwise I can tell you almost at once not only what a layman is going to say just by the way he frames the beginning of a sentence, but also what reply will satisfy his problem, and what the problem really means from its formulation. Anyway, this went on for several years. We met in homes. People paid a small tuition to take it; enough to cover the fees of the experts who participated. It was funded partly by Ford Foundation in the beginning and then it was sort of self-supporting. And Jules would earn his keep from time to time running a group through. He had quite a following of people who took it and who took more advanced groups and he would structure advanced sessions for them. He was excellent. He had a talent for causing people to see that was really lovely. At the same time he was a very retiring guy and not a terribly good speaker. He had a dead ear, both for music and for speech, I sometimes think. He didn't always frame sentences well and he didn't write well. I mean his style was involuted and not always "right." He wrote best when he was not self-conscious. But he was a very important guy.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How long did that series go on?
JUNE WAYNE: I'd have to really do a lot of thinking to answer that. It went on for a couple of years. It certainly went on well beyond my awareness of it. One of the things that happened was that once the thing was proven out and Jules had had enough of it and we knew we had a successful formula, the problem was to find an agency to carry it on. So both he [Jules] and I worked with the Fund of Adult Education to try to locate an agency that they could give the money to to carry this on. Jules and I decided that Katherine Kuh and Dan Rich would be the ideal people for it. So we brought them here. We had structured everything to hand over the money, the project, everything. anyway, the project was handed over to the Art Institute. Katherine, who we assumed would be its mentor, changed its format into a didactic one in which everything that is said must be, you know --
PAUL CUMMINGS: The old classroom technique.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And, of course, the program died; it lost its vitality. But remnants of it would show up here and there out here in discussion again. It was ahead of its time. I think today a lot more people would understand this approach than did then. But for whatever it was worth it certainly changed the scene in California.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's very interesting. Are there notes and outlines, you know, printed material?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And, as I say, I have the tapes of many of the sessions.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's great. I still would like to get some more kind of feeling about what was going on, the kind of people who were active in the art world. The press I gather has never paid much attention to the art scene?
JUNE WAYNE: No. They still don't pay nearly enough attention to it. The critic of the Los Angeles Times was Arthur Miller who was a heck of a good guy. He's an etcher, incidentally. He's now in his late seventies. I spoke to him just the other day. I'm trying to find a repository for his etchings because his etchings are works of great beauty, however conservative people may consider them, and they include many important California landmarks and I feel this should become an archive, too. I don't know how to accomplish it but I've been talking to him about it.
PAUL CUMMINGS: The Library of Congress?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it should be in California. You know, it's a state thing. Anyway, he was our critic and quite a good one, a loyal one, and wrote well. Now he's somebody who should be taped because he knows where everything is in this state. Between him and Lorser Feitelson --
PAUL CUMMINGS: What's the name again?
JUNE WAYNE: Arthur Miller. I'll give you his number. He's very old and very frail. He lives somewhere out toward northern California and mid-California now. He can't breathe the air here. He comes in to town from time to time. He's a very important resource and he should be got before he kicks off. Another very important source on that time is Kenneth Ross. Now Ken Ross was the critic and reviewer for the then Los Angeles News. He is our present municipal art commissioner down at City Hall. And Ken, too, knows all about what was going on. He knew all the artists and he probably knows where everything is now. And Ken, too, is a very important source. So between Ken, Miller and Feitelson you've really got three oldtimers who know where all the bodies are. Another I'm sure very useful source would be artists like Billy Brice and Warshaw. Brice is here in town. He's an exceedingly lucid, responsible man. And since he was in the heartland of the Lebrun group he can give you a lot of insight there. Also Lebrun's wife Connie who is now married to a composer by the name of John Crown at USC. She has to be called Constance. And of course all I have against her is that she's rude to me, that she doesn't like me. Which shows defective judgement, doesn't it? Now another very important source for you, of course, on this whole period is Henry Seldes. He is now the critic for the Times. He was raised from a pup by Donald Bear. He put in years up at Santa Barbara before to took this job. And Henry, too, has a spectrum point of view. And he's an immensely constructive guy about the community so that prejudices don't get in the way of knowing where everything is and what's good that's going on.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I've met him a couple of times. He's very charming.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Henry is really a very good guy. So these are all sources. As for me, my role in this community, if I had a role at all, emerged a couple of times when there were community problems. I have a certain talent for seeing what has to be done and getting around to doing it. I don't know that I see what has to be done better than other people do, but evidently the connecting links between seeing and doing are a little strong with me. I appeared rather strongly in terms of community problems. But mainly because Jules would hound me; not out of any special desire on my own. For example, when that City Hall thing first started up and the investigation of works of art in 1951 it was Jules who literally bullied me into activity because it was he who saw the significance of not letting it get by. On three occasions he did that. Although people tended to think that I was the one who led it. But otherwise I really tend not to be identifiable with a group. I'm not terribly interested in conversations with other artists aesthetically. I love their work and I've done a great deal to help other artists. But June Wayne the artist is a loner and I guess I will always be. I just can't work in a group aesthetically. It's too tough. And also I continually find that what's interesting me is not what somebody else is involved with. I did find that creative identity with Jules and it was no threat because his medium was not painting and because I could go from general discussions, from identification of the problems, the concepts, into working them out in this medium or that medium - however it was for myself. So my collaboration as an artist, it I ever collaborated with anyone, it would have been with Jules. And I think that I'm long past that now.
END OF TAPE 3 - SIDE 2
TAPE 4 - SIDE 1
August 5, 1970
PAUL CUMMINGS: Could we go back a little bit and talk about your own art, say, in the mid-1940s and what you were doing?
JUNE WAYNE: In the mid-forties I was doing very little actual painting. Partly because either I was traveling in the Army or I was ill and therefore I was writing because painting was too strenuous. During that period I think I once wrote to Richard Wright that I wasn't sure whether I ought to be a writer or a painter.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, really? That question came up?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Of course now I know that if I weren't a painter I could be any number of other things and that what I am is a creative person. I think if you stop creative people in one direction it will spill out somewhere else. I don't think that it all stops that way.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What provoked the question of finding out whether you wanted to be a writer or a painter?
JUNE WAYNE: What provoked the question was the intensity of my interest in it. Now many years later I recognize that if something is interesting to me it's intensely interesting. And anyway, I have great difficulty separating interests.
PAUL CUMMINGS: They go parallel and then flow into each other.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. The art of anything is the art of everything, as it were. Only the visible manifestations or the specific manifestations are different. Which I suppose is why I feel so intensely involved in film and literature and politics. You know, life is just so enormously interesting out there that the art of life, I suppose, is what an artist is. And I don't feel obligated to stay with one medium. The concepts that animated Tamarind animate my paintings. That sounds pretentious. I don't mean that. I mean that a concept if it's useful is useful in many ways.
PAUL CUMMINGS: The same idea has many expressions, too.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And relevance. Of course one has to adapt things and so on. But I think it's impossible for me to relate to my art, or to anyone else's, or life, or any moment in life apart from its larger context. Everything has echoes. When you talk to me I hear the sentence structure and I'm also thinking about the style that I've read in the Newsletter and the personal structure and how you listen and the kinds of questions you ask and the life style and picking up the cues in many ways in a gesture and so on. Well, that's what that experience is. And the more you know the more you see and the more you can relate. Of course, also, the faster you are to know what you don't want to bother with, and that is a great relief. It allows you to simplify and eliminate some things and deepen others.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But did you do a lot of work while you were traveling from place to place?
JUNE WAYNE: No. I did more writing. It's impossible to be a painter on the hoof. And there were other kinds of things that were intruding and there was a fundamental frustration about my relationship to my painting. Some things I just didn't understand and didn't like. I didn't like, and still don't like, oil as a medium.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, really?
JUNE WAYNE: It's inherently viceful. I'm dead serious.
PAUL CUMMINGS: For what reason?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, the materials have a very short life. They expand and contract at different rates, the oil painting from the canvas, and they crack and they chip or you may come back and find it has aged. It's like picking up a broad in a bar who looks great by candlelight and, oh, my God, she's got a chanker in the middle of her cheek the next day. Or vice versa. I mean there was something fundamentally wrong with that. And also the whole thing of where you grabbed onto what you were doing that made it more meaningful. I suppose I was not sure where all the parts of my life fitted and I don't think you get to be very good as an artist until you know who you are. And I don't mean that in the sense of me - I. Let me see how I could try to explain that. The "I" is not terribly important. One's borders are always dissolving. And with so many remarkable and interesting things that are going on in the world it takes all one can do just to tolerate stimuli. Well, there you are. As an artist you take an experience and you transform it into something. Fortunate is the expression that does not require you to transform it into something tangible and permanent because it's such a goddamned practical thing to have to do and here you have these oceans of ideas and currents that are exceedingly rich and then, my God, that's how it expresses itself? [In oil?]
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's always there - the physical objects to remind you.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. To remind you and to reproach you. And how do you make it last? I think that the sense of change, that everything is changing as fast as I think something I'm already modifying it, which we have to do, begin to impose some rather unbearable limitations on visual art. Either you freeze something in a moment of time so it's always applicable like A plus B equals C, which is terribly abstract but useful, or else you find the specific that stands for A plus B equals C and you can get two dimensions into it. How can you believe what you do five minutes after you do it unless you've been able to get to the essence of it? This is hard to express but in a curious way it plagued me because what you made by way of a picture, what is it - reportage? Certainly not that. Just color? Certainly not that. And certainly not through these materials that we've had around at that time. So what was it? And I wasn't interested in what was the past. And I was not about to become a draftsman like an Old Master because, you know --
PAUL CUMMINGS: That was another period.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it just wasn't any more feasible than going to high school or to college. It was irrelevant. So what was relevant? And I suppose during those years when I began to discover some of the terrible constraints of being a human being...I'd always suspected them I suppose (which is why I looked sad [as a child] but I began to experience things. For example, being very ill has a remarkable way of economizing your flights of fancy, or making them economical at any rate. You get a sense of the distance between what you want and what you can grab. That was a constraint. Another one was the war, of course, and the terrible realization of what had been going on over there, in the sense of personal responsibility for the terrifying, deep sense of what people are capable of doing to each other. That was very vivid. Looking back now, and perhaps I'm projecting onto those times - I don't know - the fearful conflicts of living a double life, of having a deep, I suppose, genetic thrust toward being my own person whatever that was and trying to fulfill the expectations and very real responsibilities I had vis-a-vis other people, my mother, my grandmother, and a very demanding husband, and the conventional demands of a marriage that implied (and very aggressively) the bourgeois version of a woman that all of us were expected to fulfill.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you react to other married women on the Army base, that you came in contact with?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, they might just as well have been monkeys in a zoo. I observed it and I could pass...I mean I pass for lots of things in the outside world. People are always thinking I'm Gentile because I don't look Jewish.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Chameleon like almost.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I have a great capacity for living in separate compartments if I have to. Of course now I don't any more. I just won't any more. But I had to for many years. And I did as many women did, and do. Nevelson, for example. Louise and I have had long conversations about women; very intimate ones. She's a fantastic and wise woman and immensely experienced. We love each other very much. I learn a lot from Louise in spite of the fact that she never finishes a sentence if anybody else is around. She has this marvelous poetic way of speaking. But with me she's immensely practical. I was married to a psychoanalyst and there is absolutely nothing more constricting, more devastating, more humorless than the milieu of the psychoanalysts. And I used to say rather sharply when I did speak at all it was sharply -that the UN should have a rights section for the wives of psychoanalysts who are one of the most exploited minorities amongst women.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Really?
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, yes, terribly.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Why is that?
JUNE WAYNE: Because the built-in rationalization, the built-in definition of what is good, of what is womanly, of the role of women, you see, reflecting Freud's nineteenth-century Germanic, Judeo-Christian corset, you know, that kind of thing - I call it bias, prejudice, whatever it was. Just as the psychoanalyst has an exceedingly efficient built-in system for collecting his fee, so he has a built-in system for managing various social events, of which one is wife and another is children. This probably accounts for the high incidence of nuthood among both categories of human beings.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's very interesting you say that because I know a number of women who are married to psychiatrists and the similarities to what you've just said to what they say is extraordinary.
JUNE WAYNE: Mine was a difficult position in many ways because I knew many of the eminent psychoanalysts around the country, who did not accept me. The kindest thing they could say to me because it was always a loaded situation, you see, they were uncomfortable in my presence because I was not easily explainable no matter how I "conformed" in their presence. It was a kind of threat, you see. So that I remember once Martin Grotjahn walking into the studio in the late 1940s saying, "You think you are painting but you are really spreading shit." You know, which is the psychoanalytic formulation. This awful reduction of everything to the same two slices of bread...You know that joke, don't you? The cliche thinking, the poverty of the associations. I always regretted that so much work was done to destroy the intervening symbols over the neurosis because they're so marvelously imaginative. And when everything comes back to four or five basic things, you know, some neurotic has created a fabulous association as far as image system is concerned, [inaudible] dedicate you life to destroying the intervening poetry always seemed to me such a dreary way to go.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Maybe "destroy" is the magic word.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I don't know. I think its insights are very useful certainly. But just as I don't think it's really necessary for somebody with a kidney stone to know all about kidney disease, I don't think it's entirely necessary probably for someone to resolve, make livable his neurosis and know as much as the psychoanalyst does about himself. Besides frankly I can't get all that interested in any individual, including myself. Anyway, it was a very tough problem those years. And it affected my work in this way, that my work had to be a separate life. I had a studio at home and during the day, out of whatever pressures, whether these were guilt or expectations or real responsibilities - they were some of each - when my family went to sleep at night I would then go to the studio and work. So all my work was done at night. And since I was a night person it didn't matter and I've always been able to do...That is, once I came to California I found I was able to do on very little sleep. So that I had a kind of double life. I found that whatever prominence I might accomplish as an artist must immediately be paid for in pain in the household. George couldn't tolerate for one reason or another the sense of my separate existence. There is a part of me that is mine. And now it's just frankly mine, unabashedly mine now. But in those years I was still trying somehow to accommodate to what was fundamentally impossible. And it was an accommodation that women have been trying to make for a long time and that they are now throwing off just as I threw it off in 1957. So (to me) my work, you see, was secret, private. Its existence was a heavy burden, of guilt; I had to pay for it with a "program" in the household. And this stretched my capability for doing things well because I would do what I did during the day running the house or whatever in order to feel righteous about buying my own time at night. So it was a bad scene.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Was it a competitive situation, your work against his work?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, for me it was the competition of trying to survive, of the half of me that was me and the other half that was putting in time, paying my bills, as it were, to a milieu that was making demands of me. So that was what was involved. So that what happened was that my creative work was going on concurrently. I had two lives going, as it were. I was taking care of my grandmother who for eleven years was mortally ill. She managed to recover from more disastrous diseases than anybody I think in history. And I took care of her. Also George was a very ambitious man so I helped him...So I had to learn how and I drew on such business background as I had to launch him in certain enterprises of his. I designed a mental hospital for him. It was the first modern one built out here. I sold its stock, learned all about that sort of thing all during the time that I was working on my own interest in optics and movement and narrative as a purpose in painting. So all these things were going on concurrently, including my long dialogues with Jules about concepts. And these almost never overlapped each other. It was quite schizzy, terribly schizzy. Also I had a daughter who was being raised at that point, too. And so I was trying to be all things to all people and fulfilling images. My mother adored George. And, for a variety of reasons that it's no use going into, I tried terribly hard to please my mother all during her life. The marriage really finally got into the divorce court when she died, which was three days before Tamarind opened. All of these things were going on concurrently. If you ask me where my life was and where I was alive it was inside my head and in my studio. That's where the real thing was. And all the rest of it was paying dues or putting in service. I learned a lot of things.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you accomplish a great deal in your work with all of these outside influences? Or was it very difficult to move from one point to another?
JUNE WAYNE: No, it wasn't very difficult to move from one point to another. The output was relatively small, as my output is. I'm not terribly interested in great quantities of things. And I don't like solving the same problem twice. So that usually when I've done something it has a new ingredient in it which is there, which I may come back to fifteen years later to be used. But I almost never do the same thing twice. So that what I have is a population of works that move in a certain progression and which taken together make a fabric - a context, a point of view, a discursion about something. But great quantities of things, no. It took me a long time...It means nothing to me to spend twenty...This painting, which is just finishing, I first started maybe in 1949 as a very simple painting and which I return to as though no time had elasped. In this sense I think Freud was right that there is a timeless quality about our natures as well. It's very easy for me, creatively, to move into a slot of time as though it were yesterday and pick up the problem. For example, that painting which is turned around there, I was working on it when the Tamarind grant came through in 1960. I finished it in 1968. And it was no problem. I mean it was just as though I went the next morning and picked up the brush to go back to the section I was working on. Because, you see, if the problem is valid it maintains itself, if it isn't, it wouldn't have intrigued me in the first place. I'm slow, Paul, and because of that what I work on has to have enough levels of interest to hold my attention. And while now I'm a great deal more fluent than I was then, some works that I did then I consider absolutely right, where, you know, twenty years later I wouldn't change a line, I couldn't do it any better, and it's absolutely right. As far as I'm concerned, if you've got one like that a year, or even one in five years, that's enough. How many times did Duchamp have to do Nude Descending a Staircase?
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. Do you work from, say, a kind of totally conceived image? Or does it appear as you work, as things progress does the image become more clear?
JUNE WAYNE: Like autographic writing from left to right?
PAUL CUMMINGS: Yes.
JUNE WAYNE: No. I think that it takes me a long time to refine out; it may take a number of works. For example, I have a painting in the other room for which, to arrive at that painting, I did forty or fifty drawings, prints, analyzing. For example, I have a print called Study for the Wing of the Devil where I literally had to study out through a series of drawings how for that particular fable I could capture an angel at the moment of his fall, you know, in this fable which dealt with Satan. How do you do that? And it's a very interesting problem because our concept of the devil is rooted in an iconography that won't do at the moment of creation. There are very interesting visual iconographic problems that were involved in that moment.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Well, is it typical then to do a number? Say, for that painting are there other drawings and studies for it?
JUNE WAYNE: Not for this one.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did it start there and it all happened on that canvas?
JUNE WAYNE: It all happened on this canvas except for the painting that was done twenty years earlier. I have the transparency of that in which the theme was there. It was in the late forties and early fifties that I began to understand what it was I was after. And I was interested in a number of things all of which had to come together and that relate back to literature and to the problem of time in much the sense, I suppose, that Proust was interested in it - the sense of the changingness of things while they remain the same. Now these things absorbed me in painting. One of the things that bugged me was the instant image. Did you freeze a moment of time in the image and therefore become eternal? Or could you begin to deal with actual time increments in the image? Now film does that. Music does that in its unfolding and it's your memory that informs it. Could you make a painting which you read, a painting which unfolded, which allowed you the opportunity for narrative, not so much storytelling but for a development within a single picture plane. This interested me. And it related very closely also to what was in the air. After all, multiple points of view had informed Cubism and related to movement. And if Einstein was right and time and distance were related this was also true in painting. And my interest in optics stemmed from this because it seemed to me that if one could utilize the sequence with which one experienced a painting one then would be able to unfold a painting and tell a story, if you wished, not so much for the literary sense, although why should there not be a literary sense if you wanted it. Why not for the same quality as for the morality play? Were these things not relevant to out time? Not fashionable but nonetheless interesting to me. And what about the kinds of sensation that you could have and the opportunity for improvisation as you had in music? Since my life in it's feeling was heavily involved with music about which I knew a fair amount, and with literature, and with the way the world was ticking along and its speeds of one kind or another, all this was relevant to painting. And optics was important to that because it gave me a methodology for doing what I wanted to do. It could give me (through the control of the eye path of the spectator) an understanding of the perceptual sequences, allow me to deal with my painting that way.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you read books on optics and theory and perception?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, I knew a fair amount about it. And, incidentally, one of the things that fell into place here was very important to the postwar years - was that course in blueprint reading at Cal Techn in relation to the aircraft industry. Because in order to read that blueprint and turn a drawing of a plane nacelle into a three-dimensional perspective that was accurate one had to know a great deal about the "laws" of perspective. Well, these aren't "laws" at all! Because outside the five percent angle of focal vision perspective doesn't hold. Immense distortion sets in. Now this interested me because it is also true of the physiology of vision. Our perception of motion physically takes place through peripheral vision, not through focal vision. The way in which we orient ourselves in space and protect ourselves from moving objects is thru peripheral vision. The breakdown of vision, the nature of peripheral vision (in relation to focus) is immensely important to our perception of movement and therefore of time and space. So my interest in optics as I postulated it was very difficult for me. I went very methodically to see what would happen in one area of focus and its periphery. One can trace through my work the solution of this problem. Then two areas of focus: could I get you to move up and back with the overlapping distortions of vision. Could you do three, four, eight, ten ???? and all their permutations? And could you move one kind of texture through another optically? Which produced that print The Strange Moon which was seven years ahead of Vasarely, that looked just like it. Of course neither of us knowing about each other. My motive for this kind of art was totally different from his or any of the others. And it still is. But it produced kinds of similarities. It produced color cancellations. We don't perceive color in periphery, only in focal vision and areas near the center of vision. That's just how the eye is built. You could by fading color in and out achieve areas of focus and movement or you could achieve it by optical cancellations which would be read as grays in the brain. So you see I was moving around with problems that Albers was working with for another reason and that the artists in Op were working with for quite other reasons, and still do. The concepts with which I was working gave me tools so that I could get on to deal with other kinds of issues that interested me. Comments about the world, the way it looks, behaves, feels. In the fifties I was working out some of these things and I suppose I'll go on working them out. I have quite a repertoire now that gives my work a method and purposes and also subjects. So that I tend to work in series that I feel perfectly free to pick up at any time or to drop at any time. The genetic thing is a new series, the genetic code.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Does it relate back to anything? Or is it really new new?
JUNE WAYNE: It's new new in the image itself. But it is old old in the use of modules because the use of modules as vehicles for other layers of expression is very old with me. And I could take these ideas...Now if I wish to express them in narrative I can. If I wish to make Op pictures that relate to it, I could if I wanted to. I think I'm reaching for something else in these. But the art, if you look at it all together, curiously is its own world and it's all of a piece.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But don't you think that that is ultimately what happens, when somebody works and develops and moves along they do create another world?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, I think you do. And I think that's one of the things that people appreciate later on. They start seeing things in a mode of vision - Jules used to call it - that...you know, we look at the wheat fields and say, "That looks like a Van Gogh," because he illuminated a way of seeing a wheat field. Anyway, those years which produced a number of key pictures didn't produce great quantities. Enough; certainly enough for me. The painting of The Messenger in the other room which was part of a series on justice, the theme was justice although I used other optical devices, narrative devices and so on, I spent a year on that painting, I did it completely in color and then destroyed it and began all over again because color was wrong for that world. It's essentially a monochromatic gray. Well, George's view was that I was a suicidal type because I destroyed a year of work. I don't feel that I destroyed a year of work. I just discovered that I had done something that wasn't right. And so what? I mean it's better to start over once you know than to go along pretending you don't know. We used to argue about things like that.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You've touched on Jules Langsner, your conversations with him. They started when?
JUNE WAYNE: In 1947.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Well, going through the fifties how did they develop? And what other kinds of things did they do other than keep you involved with everything?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, they were conversations about aesthetics, science, whatever was going on at the time. A lot of conversations about my own work, problems of my own work, validities in the concepts I was working with, that kind of thing which was immensely stimulating to both of us. He was developing his book and a number of articles, The Artist and the Demon, The Artists and the Critic, the Graham Lectures (which he never completed.) He was writing a mammoth book which kept getting bigger and bigger and which I began to suspect would never be finished (and it wasn't). He died suddenly of a heart attack - taken by surprise. Now I refer to it as preparing for - in Yiddish they say - "reparing for a n?chtiken tag" - the day which will never come and which doesn't come. What can I tell you except that it was an immense education and he developed a great deal, I developed a great deal. He was a very introverted man with very few close friends. He and Guston and Rube Kadish remained very close friends all their lives.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Were there other intellectual friends of his in this area that would know about him?
JUNE WAYNE: He was very close to Lorser Feitelson. He had many, many friends and I'm sure his archive is full of fascinating things. Jules and I - there were times when his brain and mine were so mixed that it was hard to know when...We had a shorthand of speech and the conversation was far ranging and always so damn stimulating that I suppose it was a kind of, oh, I can't even describe...It was a heightened living, living at a very intense level where you might be thinking about something that could go on perseverating for, you know, and knock you right out of your skin with those moments of revelation. That's how it was for me. I don't know how it was for Jules. He was a more even disposition and a very introverted man; very introverted, with this fantastic ability to reach out in some corner of his head and pull out some remote little piece of information that was just exactly right of what the conversation was. So he was an immensely important factor in my life. So was Harold Jacobson. Between these two men I suppose I learned just an immense amount, an immense amount. And it helped me a great deal also in my own ability to think out my own experiences to decide what I was working with. It helped immensely the concentration on validities that were terribly important. Now that kind of life which was going on concurrently was locked up inside my head. It went on independently of all the other realities of the mechanics of living.
PAUL CUMMINGS: When did you start making prints? You started doing some etchings at one point I understand.
JUNE WAYNE: I did some etchings in 1958. But I began doing lithographs in 1947. I was working on a problem in optics in painting. I remember the painting very well. It was a very small painting in which the problem of bridging over from the picture plane...You see, once you stated a focal area and began to develop its permutations as it reached its periphery its implication was into space from one dimension into actual space: how the hell did you bridge over from that? As a matter of fact, at that time I did some space constructions in which I cut out these things and mounted them on layers of glass and I built frames with layers and took bits so that as you walked around it you got different perspectives. My impulse was to move from the one dimension into three, into actual space. Well, the minute I did that it was perfectly clear that I had opened up something which alone had so much implication to it that it could pull me right out of the things that were interesting me. So I stopped that. I stopped that kind of development thinking that maybe some day I would come back to it. But at that moment I still wanted to solve this problem. Well, that problem...I was also working with color which became infinitely complex as it reached the periphery. I couldn't resolve it. I just couldn't work it out. No matter how I worked it out there was too much to resolve into an aesthetic experience. And one day in a discussion Jules suggested that maybe I ought to try - that I might be able to get at the problem by eliminating some of its facets and he suggested that either I change medium completely or try to solve the problem in black and white eliminating color as a complicating factor in the equation, as it were. So I decided, well, maybe I can go into printmaking and maybe the change of medium will clarify this issue. Linton Kistler was about six blocks away. So I dropped in there to see whether lithography offered something. It was as serendipitous as that. Got hooked on the medium and began making lithographs. And the first lithograph I did, which was a very small stone with the statement of that focal area and this group of images, you know, continued right on with the problem. And all of those early lithographs dealt with the optical problems I was working on. It was at that point that I began the habit of making prints, drawings, and paintings at the same time because I found in every problem and every painting there would be some facets that were right or would move around with the concept. I would have to work it out in a number of its aspects. And so just moving around in materials was inherently necessary because of the density, the layers of the problems I was trying to unravel. That's how I got into printmaking.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But you didn't like teaching though, did you?
JUNE WAYNE: No. It's much too slow for me. Much too slow. But I love them.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Engraving or things like that? Just too --
JUNE WAYNE: No. You see because in spite of my dedication to craft, my head is always moving very rapidly. Those things just take too long. I can draw a lithograph a day; I can draw ten a day. That isn't it.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You just can't make an engraving that fast.
JUNE WAYNE: No. I mean the actual pace is just too slow. Although I suppose that if I had artisans for etching that I would do etchings. Sure. But the printing of them...I made five for six etchings; rather interesting ones, too. And I kept inventing new techniques. But it just bores me to death to do anything the same way twice. I can't do anything the same way twice. I can't write the same sentence twice. When I edit I keep editing and editing because it's change, change, change. You know you see a thousand ways to do anything. They're all intriguing.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You got interested in lithography. But then you went to Paris to do lithographs - right?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. I went to Paris. I worked in lithography with Kistler and I also painted. But Kistler was very limited technically, by economic pressure.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Is he a commercial printer or an artist?
JUNE WAYNE: He's an old-time proofer out of the lithography workshops, you know, a business but when they used to do hand proofing. He was interested in art and was working with Jean Charlot and so on. He kept trying to have his own workshop and make a living at it. But he was ahead of his time. And then he went back into the printing business. And every time I had to make a print it would take months. We'd have an appointment and I'd bring in the stone for him to proof and he'd have to break out the press and clean up rollers and spend the whole damn day trying to get back into...You know, it would work. It got so difficult that finally I went to Paris to look for a printer. I had seen a lithograph at the Museum of Modern Art. Curiously, it was in the same box as one of my prints, one of the things in a Solander box, by a printmaker whose name was Avati. And it was superbly printed and it had washes that Kistler couldn't do. Kistler couldn't make washes, that I liked, just couldn't. And much of my technique had to be adapted to what I felt he could do. So I was determined to find Avati. In 1955, I guess it was, or maybe l954, Jules went to Europe. And I said, "Find this man Avati for me." Jules did find him. And I began correspondence with Avati. I bought some of his me??int prints and I own all his bonatirer by the way [to the present time].
PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, really!
JUNE WAYNE: We became fast friends. And I persuaded him to take me to Durassier, the man who had printed that print. It took me several years to locate him.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's fantastic. He kept so secret?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, he wasn't visible, you see. He's an oddball, sort of mutant, a sport, a loose cell, as it were, wandering around in the corpus of the Paris milieu. I went to Paris in 1957. I split out of house and home. I wasn't at all clear if I'd ever go back. I had had it up to the top of my eyeballs with George's projects and entrepreneurship; and guilt and I was never really quite sure if I was right or he was. In fact, I rather thought he was probably right but no matter what I just couldn't live this way. I felt like I was going to strangle. So I went away and open end too. I made it very clear I might never come back. And I followed down this printer and persuaded him to work with me. And that was not easy. I worked with him in Paris. First he said no flatly he wouldn't work with me. I said, "Well, first you'll have to see my prints and then you can tell me no." He looked at the prints and they intrigued him. He was quite surprised by the lithographs and he said reluctantly he'd do one. Because he's always at war with artist.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Really!
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, artists treat the printers just abominably. They make appointments and they don't show up. And they treat them like dogs when they do. I just can't tell you what a humiliation it is. He began getting interested. And he also thought I had a very nice round bottom. And the hope for a "cinq a sept" intrigued him. Besides I had American dollars. All these things worked together.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Lots of fascinating things.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And besides when I said I was coming at three there I was. And this astounded him. So little by little I began working with him. He saw at once of course that I knew what I was doing and I knew what he was doing. We quarreled terribly because you know how the French are; they always say no first. I worked very intensively with him in Paris in 1957 and I did those independent Donne prints then. I came back to this country. My mother was ill with cancer and I had to come back. And my daughter was doing very badly. I had to come back. I had been away for many, many months. By the time I came back Kistler had totally vanished (he moved away). Besides, I was spoiled. I know knew what it meant really to work with beautiful paper. Even if it was cramped physically, you know - and Durassier?? was really terribly difficult, terribly difficult. And it revived the whole old business of being chased by...I hate being chased by a man. I really do.
PAUL CUMMINGS: He didn't smoke cigars, did he?
JUNE WAYNE: No, he didn't smoke cigars. But he was always breathing heavily down my neck and that really annoyed me. I mean it's one thing if you're interested in a man; you're never insulted then. But if you're not, if sex is intrusive it's really just a terrible pain. Anyway, when I came back to this country there was nobody to work with and yet I wanted to go on. So I decided I would try to find out about etching; maybe it was something that I would like. I went down to Otis and used their facilities and learned about it. I bought a press, had my own press and made my own plates in the studio and so on. But I didn't like it. It was too slow. By the time I had finished three prints I had two thousand things I wanted to do, ideas, etcetera, and to pull an edition, for me as for every printmaker, was terribly painful. For example, John Paul Jones would write one over fifty. But that didn't mean he had pulled an edition. He would strike two or three; when they were sold he would come back and strike some more. Because it's a terrible drag. It's boring to print. Another fundamental concept of Tamarind recognizes the personality difference between the artist and the craftsman. One gets his kicks from reaching a technical perfection almost, fulfillment in repetition. And the artist doesn't want (he can't resist it). He's got to make monotypes because you always see all the differences. So that I accepted that. And I could see that the printmaking arts were never going to get off the dime if our flights of imagination had to await the printing of editions.
PAUL CUMMINGS: (Inaudible)
JUNE WAYNE: It isn't only that you don't want to do it. And it isn't that you don't respect it but that the physical and psychological characteristics are different. I mean there's really no use expecting a magnolia to be a pepper tree. And I'm not saying that one is better than the other; not at all. They're different. And it's in recognizing the difference and getting the benefits of both that both can fly, for God's sake, you know. After all would Lautree? had made lithographs?
PAUL CUMMINGS: If he had to sit there and pull each one he couldn't do it.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, how could he! John Paul Jones took some of his plates over to Europe. After all, he's a beautiful etcher and prints beautifully. And he said to me that he just couldn't imagine...He was astounded to see what French printers got out of his plates that he had printed, that he knew intimately; and what they did in the printing. Avati certainly couldn't be the craftsman that he is - and he's fabulous.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Does Avati print, too?
JUNE WAYNE: He can, but he doesn't. He has an artisan. He does the plates. He pulls his own bona tire? You know a great collaboration is one where the people know each other do damn well that, as with Jules, it was two halves of the same person almost and the impulse of one informs the other. The capability of the printer lights my imagination and amplifies my hand, too. He opens possibilities for me, too. So that you can make just one hell of a move. And that's very exhilarating. And that's what I want. So etching for me was just too damn many picky processes. But I would have to say that I have not given it a fair chance unless I could work collaboratively as I have in lithography. It is my personal dream, and I think a realistic hope, that the Tamarind Institute could in five years down the pike be training etching printers as well. And I hope to see that come about.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did the whole Tamarind thing get going? We've sort of chronologically now reached into the end of the fifties and to that point.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Well, you see, I came back in 1958 and did those etchings. And then I went back later in 1958 and did the John Donne book. And on my way back to Paris attending to various papers on my desk a letter had come in from the Ford Foundation asking me to nominate two artists for those ten thousand dollar grants. I guess they asked everybody to nominate. By this time I was already one of those people that visiting firemen would come to see about the artists in California. I knew people all over the country by that time. So I wrote and nominated a couple of artists and wrote a rather snotty letter with it objecting to the program for a variety of reasons. I just sent it in very early because I was leaving for Europe. And I said, "I'm leaving for Europe. That's why I'm sending it in early and I nominate these people" and I make some remarks that I thought it was a bad program fundamentally and why I thought so. I left for New York to get on the ship to go to Europe. While I was in New York and on the day before I sailed I received a telegram from a Mr. Lowry of the Ford Foundation asking me to please phone and come to see him on my way to Europe. So I called the Foundation. I didn't know who he was. They asked me if I would come in. I said, "I'm leaving tomorrow. The only time I have is at eight o'clock in the morning and I'll only do that if you'll have some food there for me. I've got to have coffee at that hour if I get up that early." He said okay, so I went to see him. I had no idea who this man was. He queried me about this letter and my views about what was wrong with the program and asked what I was doing and so on. I said that I think grants to individuals are fundamentally defeating because they only solve things for a little while. They postpone a crisis and they also make a lot of enemies for the person; a tremendous number of enemies. It costs a lot of money to give away money like that. (Which offends my miserly soul) I think that all of it should go to creative people, very little to administrative costs. And he said, "Well, what would you do?" I said, "You've got to change things fundamentally so that a great many people can benefit impersonally." I was thinking, of course, of what the WPA had done and its impersonal quality. I said irritably, "For example, here I am, the last competent lithographer in this country (a bit of hyperbole never hurts) and I have to travel six thousand miles to find a printer to work with because the whole art is dying away under your nose and American artists have no collaborators to work with. We're seen only in those media that we can control totally ourselves." And I said, "That's why we're getting so damned much welded drip sculpture about this time. Where are the bronze casters and all the industrial collaborators and all the rest of it?" Because, you see, I could feel our need because if it's true of lithography it's true of many things. This interested him. He said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "I'm going to do this book of prints of John Donne's." I said, "Look, I'm going to publish a livre de luxe. Everybody thinks I'm insane to try to do such a thing. In Europe artists do it all the time. They work in tapestry and stained glass and do anything they want to do." I said, "Only we are so damned provincial and parochial and we have no Lebensraum creatively." So he said, "I'd love to see the book when you come back. Will you show it to me?" And off I went. I had no more idea of who this pale man was; none at all. I did the book. And came back in January of 1959. I almost forgot about him. At that point I stayed in New York a few extra days because I discovered that George was divorcing me and hadn't mentioned it. And I didn't know if I had a place to go home to. Anyway, I contacted Lowry and said I had the book if he wanted to see it. So I went over and showed it to him with not a thought in my head really. He loved the book. And also he was evidently quite impressed that I said I was going to make one and did and actually had it in my hand. He said, "Why don't you tell me what should be done to save the art of lithography." It was out of that that it came. I did a lot of thinking about it. There were a variety of steps. Until finally I saw how it should go. I had to think about it a lot. It became an intellectual game. Now you had a group of hypotheses. Suppose someone said to you the leaders of the arts, "Okay, we'll do whatever you say. What shall we do?" You know, all their jaws would drop. They would have no idea. So I began thinking about it and I wrote that plan. I really did not expect them to do anything about it. And I did not expect to be really involved in it myself. I expected to have other people doing it and maybe nominate them or appoint them or something. That's how it got going, just like that. I wrote the plan. He circulated it around the art world. He called me on day and he said, "I thought you'd like to know the response to your plan." He said, "I sent it out to a hundred people in the art world." And I just hit the ceiling. Because it never dawned on me that my private fantasy, my private view, you know, that he would take something that I did and ask all these people (for whom I had mostly contempt anyway) and I damn near hung up on him. He said, "Wait a minute. Don't you want to hear?" I said, no...He said, "Well, it was certainly the most disapproved of project that we have ever sent out." I said, "Well, you know, you asked a lot of people who know nothing about the subject so what the devil do you expect? Why did you ask me if you were going to ask them?" I was simply furious. He said, "Well now, calm down because you did pick up four or five very important champions. And besides I think you're right and I'm going to recommend this program." And that's how it was.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did he tell you who the champions were?
JUNE WAYNE: I learned long afterwards that one of them was Lincoln Kirstein. Another was Harold Joachim, a third was James Johnson Sweeney; I don't quite remember who the others were. Lieberman was opposed to it, Una Johnson was opposed to it, Theo Gusten was livid and he went running to Rosenwald who was very gentlemanly and came all the way to California to see me to discuss it before he wrote and disapproved of it. He referred to us as "deadly friends" or "dear enemies." We often disagreed over the years but he's a very gentlemanly soul and I like him very much. Besides he bought two copies of the Donne book, one of the three rare ones on Japanese paper. Most of the people that I invited to be on the board of Tamarind were people who were going to be cooperative. But many turned me down; many. And Theo referred to me constantly as "that awful bitch in California." who stole his idea. He said that I had somehow done this thing.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you pick California because you liked it?
JUNE WAYNE: I picked it because I was here.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You had no thought really, of doing it in New York or Chicago or -- ?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I had spent some time searching around for a likely agency to do it and everything I touched was clear to me that it couldn't work. It couldn't work at Pratt. I went to Pratt. Their prejudices were such. And none of my assumptions were accepted. You see, the mystique of the printmaker having to print his own...making a rule out of a handicap, you know. I approached U.C.L.A. very tentatively and the Art department drew back with that refined shudder that characterizes an oyster when you drop lemon juice on it, you know, just that slight shrivel around the edges. Now we take collaboration for granted. But at that time it was unthinkable, just unthinkable. It violated the whole expressionist point of view, the mystique of the lonely artist. And of course printmaking itself was a backwater of backwaters.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. It wasn't fashionable in New York so it didn't exist.
JUNE WAYNE: And also we didn't have as many artists who had spent any real time in Europe as we now have, our artists, and particularly the abstract expressionists who were the dominant few at the time were a bunch of guys who came out of the forties and most of them had not been to Europe [except as G.I.s].
PAUL CUMMINGS: They hadn't been anywhere except from Woodstock to New York.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. I loved them all very deeply, I mean abstractly; I was on their side. But they didn't know what the hell I was talking about. Nobody knew what I was talking about really; hardly anybody.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Why was somebody like Rosenwald not - why was he opposed to it?
JUNE WAYNE: He gave a typically contradictory reaction - I'm sure I have the letter - he said he felt that if anyone could do it that surely I was the one who could do it and he was favorably impressed with me and my sincerity but he didn't think I had enough prestige. He also felt it was unfair to do it just in Los Angeles. If we did it at all, we should do it in ten cities at once! Now my program postulated that one would be very lucky if we could create one master printer. And my plan made very clear that there were none at that time. Now how the hell we were to take this thing and start it up in ten places - I mean what he had to say was dear but terribly diffuse and impractical. And, after all, Rosewald is a collector; he's not a man who starts things. He may help them with good will. But he's also in his eighties; all right, so then he was in his seventies; but still, big deal, you know. And of course his primary expression was through Berta von Mosen in Philadelphia and Theo. And Theo and I had had a very unfortunate relationship.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Why is that?
JUNE WAYNE: It was a personal thing that happened. When I was going to Paris in 1957 I wrote him and asked to meet him. I wanted him to recommend printer's workshops for me. He met me and he took sort of a shine to me. He had seen some of my Donne things which he considered exceedingly erotic. And he wrote me very flattering and rather sexy letters. I had never met him and I didn't know....Anyway, I went to Paris. I did the prints. And he wanted me to do an edition for I.G.A.S. - International Graphic Arts Society.
END OF TAPE 4, SIDE 1
TAPE 4, SIDE 2
JUNE WAYNE: Anyway, he wanted me to do an edition of lithographs for I.G.A.S. When I came back from Paris in 1957 I was quite astounded to find him waiting for me at the hotel in the lobby, and a little bit embarrassed about it. Nothing came of it. Fundamentally he didn't understand lithography. That may sound very strange, but he wanted me to show him the proofs first and then miraculously produce an edition months after. It didn't work. Anyway, I went back to California. He wrote me a lot of very flattering letters. I didn't know what to make of this guy and it was quite embarrassing. And then he wrote and said he was coming to California, that he had never been out here, and would I meet him in San Francisco and introduce him to people, and he added "and then we could drive down the Coast and talk of art and other things." So I wrote back to him and I said it was not feasible for me to meet him in San Francisco; if he'd let me know when he was going I would write to people that he was coming and as for speaking of other things than art I didn't know about that. But of course it was a fatal problem because from that day on no possible friendly or dispassionate relationship could ever take place between me and the office of The Print Council. Which was a hell of a nuisance because as the Director of Tamarind I often had need to deal with The Print Council.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I don't know what it is about him but he seems to have made both I.G.A.S. and The Print Council an impossible situation for people.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it's a fundamentally unworkable thing he does. He operates on the premise that you can build a following for prints by making them cheap instead of making them good, and that somehow if you have a membership of 200 that these 200 are going to escalate into better collectors. Which never takes place, or very rarely takes place, expressing it in economic terms. It just doesn't work that way.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's interesting how he's been able to maintain those two organizations or whatever it is that he does.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, The Print Council is a loose alliance that sticks together mainly because of Rosenwald, out of deference and because it has an office. And it has an office because Rosewald picks up the deficit. So that what you have is a kind of structure that has an image but no real vitality in it. If Theo were out of it and it developed some realistic relationship to prints, I think it's needed, I think a Print Council is needed. But I suspect that you could do with your Newsletter far better, all things that The Print Council might have been expected to do.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Well, that's part of what we want to do. He's been a strange man.
JUNE WAYNE: He's an energetic man. And you really have to give him credit for managing to survive in a very tough world, a very tough world.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But I.G.A.S., you see, is a Rockefeller-sponsored project.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I.G.A.S., they do all sorts of foolish things. There are many collectors...for whom I.G.A.S. is the kiss of death for an artist.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, really!
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, sure! If you do an edition for I.G.A.S. there are a great many collectors who won't buy you because why should they pay good money for something when other people are getting works of yours so cheap. I once worked out with Ynez Johnston what that I.G.A.S. commission meant in her economic life. And it turned out that she worked for five cents an hour without overhead, to do that edition.
PAUL CUMMINGS: They got it free, in other words.
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, much more than free. She was really subsidizing it. And like most artists...I said to her "Ynez, how much did you spend on paper?" She said, "Oh, I had the paper." "And what about the ink?" "Oh, I had some ink." "How many hours did you spend on the printing?" She said, "Oh, I only did it at night." Well, you know, artists do these kinds of things. And it looked like a big piece of money - $4-- or whatever it was she got for an edition of - what? - two hundred.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Some incredible figure.
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, incredible exploitation!
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's very interesting. Well, did you do research and how did the concept of your Tamarind program develop? - the program you submitted to the Ford Foundation?
JUNE WAYNE: Out of my head mostly. I asked myself the question, how would you do it? Really, since I'm not an institutional person and I saw that one would have to start with a core group, that is, a master printer, someone to learn it, [plus] an artist; and you'd have to give them what they needed. And freedom. And that immediately talked about the physical plant; and certain kinds of protection from other pressures; and space and stones. What you do is you unravel it like anything else.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's building a factory really.
JUNE WAYNE: A very small one, though. The plan was absolutely sound. And I had certain fundamental biases. I accepted the idea that artist and printer are different but equal, that is, equal within its format. And I'm not saying that this is so: I said [the plan] accepts that premise because that's fundamental to civilized collaboration. You can't work with people you don't respect. And if you want to make the best of both kinds of people you have to give each of them what they need and what they need is different with areas that overlap. You would have to reestablish the dignity of artisanship as a career. And you would have to make it economically feasible in a society which did not accept - does not give a continental damn about quality. And you would have to give the decision-making powers into the hands of the creative people. You could not impose it. One of the great strengths of Tamarind is that its policy has been created and set by the people who do it and not by lay boards or anything of that kind. I also postulated a situation in which there would be very few restraints from the board.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you decide between a board of trustees and a selection group? - there are two committees that were involved.
JUNE WAYNE: And then I was also very canny about never bothering people to do work unless it was work they could do.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you have annual meetings, or bi-annual meetings?
PAUL CUMMINGS: They both came in right at the beginning, didn't they?
JUNE WAYNE: They each took a year's leave from their colleges.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Had you known them from before?
JUNE WAYNE: I knew Clinton very well from Kistler's, you see, and from the You and Modern Art program. And Antreasian I hunted out. You see, I couldn't get ... What happened was that when Mr. Maeght realized that.... was going to leave he suddenly became valuable and he began bidding against us. And in no time at all ... who had been making a hundred and ten bucks a month suddenly found himself the head of the Atelier Maeght with guarantees and an apartment and prestige I did more for him from this country without ever spending a nickel! Well, that was a great blow. I didn't have a master printer. How was I going to solve this? Then I remembered a certain lithograph I had seen by a man named Garo Antreasian and I remembered that whoever did that lithograph - as I once recognized Durassier. So I hunted him out. And I spent a week in which I acted as the artist and he as the collaborator in Indianapolis. And I posed work situations to see how he would solve them. I just had the hunch. So I hired him for the master printer. And I was right. Now you've got to admit that's damn fool luck. But with many decisions I was just hotter than a pistol. If I had been betting the horses I would have had the winner in every race. I'm sure you recognize that there are times when you almost can't do anything wrong, when all your intuitions are just right with it. It's a kind of heightened state like - that's when I'm most creative in my work, too - it's a little like the aura of epilepsy I suspect, you know, when sounds are lighter and colors are brighter and so on. And all of that was the way it was running about that time.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Why did you set up a selection board different from the trustees?
JUNE WAYNE: But finally the decisions were made there on the basis of the attritions of scheduling, and also the needs of the Workshop. That is to say, I fed a menu to these printers. There were times, depending on the fashions, when everybody would nominate nothing but hard edge artists or Pop artists, or whatever.
PAUL CUMMINGS: No imagination.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, no, the nominations were reflecting the scene such as it was. You might turn out a printer who would be great on hard edge but he'd get lost in a wash. So I had to have a spectrum. And this plus the commitments of artists meant that the scheduling commitments, which often had to be months ahead, maybe even two years ahead, had to leave more room for the decisions on the spot according to the needs of the training.
PAUL CUMMINGS: So it was really in a sense the requirements of the printers that dictated a great deal of what you needed?
JUNE WAYNE: That was part of it. The phasing of the training of the men here, fundamental biases; I just simply was going to have a spectrum come hell or high water because I felt that the medium needed expansion and that technically it needed the impact of many kinds of sensibilities. And so you tried to get the best you could get at a particular moment of a particular kind of artist. If everybody knew how to control crayon there was just no use calling in someone who you had reason to suspect would be primarily making crayon drawings.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Just repetition then.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. You had to keep these men moving because our program was so intense that during the time of the ten years of Tamarind I doubt that there were three days out of those ten years, whether it was Saturday, Sunday, Labor Day, holidays, when the guys weren't in there working. Not because they had to be but because they couldn't let go. They were free to come in on their own after hours and they always did.
PAUL CUMMINGS: The printers or the artists, or both?
JUNE WAYNE: Both. And the climate was so intense, so engaged with the medium, that it was like a pressure cooker. And people moved much faster. Two years with us, you know, would have been like eight years in a college art department and then some. A printer could move as fast as he could move.
PAUL CUMMINGS: If everything kept up with him.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And we were so small that we could watch the progress of a man and move him along. Furthermore, as he improved his stipend increased and his opportunities increased aesthetically.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you find the first group of printers?
JUNE WAYNE: It was tough, very tough. The first man was someone I remember who had worked for Kistler. I located him. He was an automobile parts inspector in a factory. And this was such a fragile thing that I wouldn't even let him quit his job; he just got on the night shift. It was as bad as that. Then it got easier as we became known. And as artists came through they became our eyes; they began to send us people. And Clinton began finding them. Now of course we have more - we're so known that there's just no problem.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How many years did it take before you started getting people really coming to you saying we've heard about this and we want to be a printer?
JUNE WAYNE: They began showing up fairly early; by the second year. But you must remember that we were terribly small. I thought it was a big deal if I had two apprentices because it didn't seem feasible that you could make one. I mean it's hard to believe what a departure it was. And people had to be handmade. And everything was word of mouth. You see nothing was written down, even for us. So we had to learn how we did it and write it down and prove it and work and develop the materials. We were moving in all directions at once. It took a while to develop criteria for selection and all that sort of thing. So all of those things were a great problem. And we had a full house with five printers on hand. When I later made room for ten it was through double scheduling and all sorts of devices. Then we began giving them training in economics and in curation as well and began formulating the training.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did your curatorial program start at the beginning too?
JUNE WAYNE: Not at the beginning, no. It was really moving along by the fourth, fifth year. I very much regret that we didn't identify it sooner. And much of what we did there was developed also by the people who were in the program. We were so small that we were constantly responsive to the needs.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Somebody would say let's think about this, here's a problem.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Or something would be going wrong and we'd get together and say what's going wrong? What should we be going from here on in so that we can prevent its happening again. This was how the thing developed. But always it was, you see, this relationship between learning something technically, learning it ethically, learning it economically, and also passing it along. And it was in constant contact with, and had to respond to the requirement that a work of art must come out of this and it's got to be beautifully done. I remember, Paul, times when I'd walk out into the shop and somebody had printed a print just beautifully and on the back there'd be a fingerprint. And I'd say, "Gee, nice print" and tear it up. And that awful gasp of pain. I'd say, "Now do it without the volunteer side effects." Because if a page is handled a hundred times from beginning to end, what if you leave a fingerprint each time? So the making of the art, the dynamics of the people, keeping it going, breaking up the bottlenecks of the outside world, fending off the intrusions of paranoias. Then the last year or two became very tough, terribly tough.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Why was that?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, as you become know, as publicity gets out, you pick up enemies that you don't - I mean you pick up enemies that you never heard of. And it causes a fair amount of turbulence in the air.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did the demands of the artists change as Tamarind became better known and more people were here?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, of course, we have very tough rules to make sure that no artist is favored because artists who the printers like could have got a lot more work out than ones they didn't like. So I had to structure for equality. But one of the things that did happen: one year I was feeling a little nostalgic and I got Tony Rosenthal to invite all the New York Tamarind artists to a party to which they and I came. And I thought, gee, this is old home week. But when I got there they were all sniffing at each other. Many of them didn't know each other. And I realized that I was the only one who knew the whole group and they were all strangers to each other. And what's more, it had a sibling rivalry quality because they all thought they were the Tamarind artist; as indeed they were when they're here. So they go away with a very intimate relationship to the program. Of course, some of them go away and talk about us badly afterwards. We weren't a tearing hit with all of them.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Were there some that were really tremendous problems?
JUNE WAYNE: A couple. Far fewer than one would expect. Far fewer. Artists check in like carpenters, you know. They have a long attention span, are hard working, have regular work habits. No, the mythology about artists would just be blown to hell if I said some of the things that we know are true. They're really awfully reliable people.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's interesting the only stories I've ever heard a thousand miles away, real disasters were with Bruce Conner.
JUNE WAYNE: Oh, well, that was terribly funny. That was really a lovely story. And it wasn't a disaster. He did eleven very fine prints. I was in Europe at the time trying to get paper. And I was terribly worried because I knew a good deal about Bruce and I knew there was no one on my staff sophisticated enough to handle this sort of nihilistic, Dadaistic mystique that some of these guys work with. So Bruce showed up and the first thing he did was announce that he wanted to print money. And our administrator, then very seriously called the Treasury Department so as to explain to Bruce that you're not allowed to do this. And of course he got a great kick out of that. Then he brought his birth certificate in and he wanted that reproduced, but by hand because he thought it was so nice to take a machine-made thing and add the intellectual flip of having people break their asses to turn it out by hand. And the printers who had a very strong mystique about the fact that this is a primary art didn't know what the hell to do about that either. Then he wanted to make a print in which he'd jump on the stone and be photographed doing so. And since stones were in such sort supply there were many things we didn't dare do for fear of breaking them. To jump on a stone was an act of emotional disrespect that the printers couldn't tolerate. And our management engineer, who was not the kind of guy to handle this, was called in frantically and he began his confrontation with Conner by saying, "Now, young man, how old are you?" Bruce was outraged I suppose, in a sense, but also having the time of his life with all this. Now at that point paper was in such short supply that our printers were not allowed to use it for themselves. And we had very few sheets of beautiful paper. We had 29 x 41 old stock, beautiful weaves such as has never been made since. And Bruce wanted to make a print in which his thumb print alone would appear on this immense sheet of paper. Well, they damn well weren't going to do that either. And so Bruce made a print which was reproduction in effect of the parting sign which said, "This space reserved for June Wayne" and wanted it printed in two colors. And they weren't sure that was an image either. Well, over in Europe the letters began to fly across, five and six pages typed on both sides single-spaced so full of indignation (from our administrator) that they flew on their own. And I was just dying with laughter over there and concerned, too. But I couldn't help it, you see. There was no one there who really knew how to handle this damn thing. Well, when I got back I sat down with Bruce to find out what was what and with my group of people. It was a very passionate meeting waiting for me to rule on the issues. The issues were: yes, of course, we couldn't print money; that was resolved. As for his image, if he wanted a thumb print on 29 x 41 that was his image and it got printed. And so did the parking sign. He could not jump on our stone because if it cracked then there might be hundreds of works of art that would never see the light of day. We couldn't do that. So that was how it was. Once I was back it looked as if it was all right. But it turned out pretty much that...At least Bruce said - from some of the things he said he had other commitments anyway. And what was really in his mind I don't know. You know how hard it is to find out. But from my point of view he knew how to touch these guys where it hurt because they didn't appreciate his thumb print; and those rare sheets of paper when their tongues were hanging out for a sheet of paper. And of course the whole Dada, Nihilist kind of thing that a lot of artists were in, and some still are, that kind of arrogant kick, you need a fair amount of composure to handle. And young people don't always know how.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Were there any artists that were unusual, or a problem?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes there were a few. We had one artist who insisted on referring to the printers as peons. And they didn't like that very well. (The artist is a very prominent liberal.) That was an amusing kind of thing. By and large he treated the printers very badly. That made a certain amount of problem. We had another artist who seemed to be very happy all the time he was here and the printers "bust their picks for him" (which is how the printers refer to working hard) and then I started getting all these waves of opprobrium coming back from across the country. But this guy is a kind of sorehead type anyway. Anyway, percentagewise I think we did very well.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you arrive at the two months and the overlap situation?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it was an interesting figure. First of all, it corresponded very well with my own physiology. If you work intensively for two months in lithography you arrive at a state of fatigue. It is also a period during which x number of man hours and only that many can be accomplished. It gives an artist an opportunity to get about twenty editions on an average, which will not be his best work because he's finding his way around. His best work in lithography will be done at some future time. But he can learn an awful lot.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's an introduction really?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, that's right. And furthermore it's a point just short of when he would like to stop. And I wanted them to quit hungry. This meant we could serve twelve artists a year. So the balance between funds, spreading man hours around output...When we started there was damn near no market and editions of twenty looked like a lot of prints.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Enormous, yes.
JUNE WAYNE: I wanted to keep the market hungry, which was right. And then once we were committed to that it turned out to be just about right. It was again a very good choice.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How about the Monday and Wednesday meetings that you had? Did they start right away? Or was that again a development?
JUNE WAYNE: It was a development. We used to have indoctrination meetings, you know. When an artist would come in we'd have a meeting so he could meet the whole group and discuss what he wanted to do and show us if he brought sketches - or give us some impression of where his point of departure would be. Later we became too large for the indoctrination meeting, particularly in the last year or two, because the group was too large for an intimate discussion. And artists became self-conscious. Also we had a run of very conservative, far out artists. That is to say, they thought they were very far out but their fundamental drives were exceedingly parochial. And this whole business of acting like an artist, of covering insecurity with arrogance, and all the tricky, funk, show biz stuff, we found that was impractical. Because sometimes these artists communicated to each other as a habit pattern. If an artist is insecure, you see, he's apt to go out and say things that cause the next artist to come in not neutrally to do his own thing, as it were, but already responding. And, as I say, in ten years we built up...there was so much publicity and there were so many versions of what Tamarind was really like, what I was like and all the rest of it, that it was really quite a nuisance. And I think that had some effect. But we had the Wednesday meetings always in order to apply the economics, to expose the data that we had gathered all week and to turn the progress of the shop into dollars. We tried to simulate as closely as we could conditions under which they would have to survive in the outside world. So the most frequently quoted phrase was, "Now if this were your own workshop outside, boys, you'd starve this week because, you see, you went way over in this factor and way over..." to give them insight into what was happening. That was the whole group meeting. It also reflected my own reluctance to waste even an hour. And I didn't want to take an hour out of shop time for the meetings so they would eat and talk. I did it all the time. That is eat and talk, so...And the meetings on Monday mornings were so that the heads of departments could inform each other what would be happening.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You talked yesterday about the problems of paper and things like that. How did you solve those problems? - presses, paper, ink, equipment, and testing things.
JUNE WAYNE: It was a dreadful problem, just a dreadful problem. You solved it as you could. One day we opened up our shipment of paper from France and I packed it all up and sent it back because I assumed they'd sent the wrong paper. Not at all. They'd simply changed the formula (which, incidentally, had never been written down), it turned out that there had been a change of foreman (somebody had died or something), and they just started making something that was totally different and that wouldn't print well and so on. I had been badgering Nelson Whitehead to develop more papers and finally made them come out here. The way in which I solved problems finally was to send someone a letter inviting them to come and I'd enclose a check for travel, which would attract their attention goddammit.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Made it real - there was the money.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, that's right. And once people came here they all got religion and they would join our side because there was something about the project and the hopelessness of our appeal. You know, when I'd look at a businessman and say, "Damn it, you owe something to art! I don't want to hear about money. Where's your pride?" And it would work. It was all that could work - would always work. So Nelson Whitehead got very involved. They helped me. I went to Europe and met with various paper people. We had an agent in Europe who would persuade and bully. And then of course as we went along interest in the paper began to grow and one could see that there was a market for it.
PAUL CUMMINGS: So they got interested.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Well, first it came from bullying and occasional pump priming with money, very small amounts and large and expansive vision, a sense of vision, "Have you no vision about what this...?" I didn't lie. I just gave them a sense of the future. And it worked. In this way just many, many materials were somehow hammered out. There are lots of problems that are still unsolved.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Well, stones are the problem now, aren't they?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, we did a Search and Stockpile thing and I have located stones and brought them in and given them as grants and sold them off. And stones are still badly needed. I wrote a brilliant design called Operation Cornerstone for a Search and Stockpile effort. There are many, many things that the arts need that the government should be protecting. And I designed such a program. But I couldn't get anyone in Washington to understand what I was talking about. At one point they did appropriate $10,000 for stone activity and fudged away all the money and time as though they didn't understand English.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It doesn't fit. The arts don't have a solid lobby.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Well, they never did spend the money because the people who get involved in these things are just scared to death that they give away power. If there's an appropriation they suck on it until they debilitate it and make it unbearable. But there still should be an office of material resources for the arts that is comparable to similar agencies for the War Department to protect rare materials that artists need and that the arts require.
END OF TAPE 4 - SIDE 2
TAPE 5 - SIDE 1
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's August 6, Paul Cummings talking to June Wayne.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, as I told you, the first printer fellow was Joe Funk who I had remembered and was in an automobile factory. I'm having difficulty remembering...Oh, then Bobuslav Horak, the Czech, I heard about. He was then working as a color mixer in a paint factory in Chicago. Misch Kohn, the artist, told me bout him, and I flew into Chicago and met him in the airport. And brought him out here. That was quite an histoire. He became a printer fellow. Now Joe Zirker came in. The people who came in in the beginning mostly had some connection with lithography in one way or another.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Commercial or -- ?
JUNE WAYNE: Somehow in connection with hand lithography. They were artist printmakers, as was Funk, as was Joe Zirker. Horak was a printer out of Europe. These three. If I had the list before me I would be able to tell you more about that. Ernest Rosenthal was another printmaker artist. These people were attracted in. There were a number of artists who presented themselves but who were just too good as artists because, as I say, my fundamental conviction, my observations have been that there were certain personality structures that one would accept as a bias if a man was very creative and a good image maker...
PAUL CUMMINGS: He just would get bored.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. So from that day to this this is a big consideration. Now in the last couple of years we've had a few men - Jean Milant, Dan Socha, Bruce Lowney, a few of the follows with considerable ability to make their own images. The rationale that has brought a lot of young men into the field - I mention men particularly because it had been thought of as a man's field physically (although I'm now reversing my views on that to some degree) - some of these people were destined to become teachers as a means of earning a living and their thought was that it's no more boring to be a printer and perhaps more interesting to be a printer and earn your living as a printer than as a teacher because being a printer does not suck out your creative ability the way being a teacher does. And once the field was well enough along so that it became socially acceptable in the art world to be a printer and be in a kind of career in which you could expect to make a living, a living at least no worse than being a teacher, then, you see, people began thinking of it with career possibilities and as a realistic means to earn a living and stay in the arts. In addition, the program began attracting fellows, as I said, through reference from people who had been here and began to spot almost intuitively characteristics we were concerned with. But in addition to that there was about the times something that was attracting a great many young people who were dropping out anyway from many values and this allowed a constructive displacement. Now most of the people who go into art departments know damn well they're not going to be artists. Probably two-thirds of the people in art departments are there because they don't want to be somewhere else. And of course the art schools offer only two possibilities, well, three possibilities: become art historians (and most of these young people are too badly educated and too undisciplined for that), or to become artists, which appeals to their mystique and where the criteria are much harder to determine so they go for that; or to become art teachers to replace their own teachers. Well, of course, that teacher population and that job opportunity...within one year any art teacher creates hundreds of his own replacements, his own prototypes. So there was obviously a limit of only a few years on what would be absorbable by the educational system. And we are seeing devastation in the teaching ranks now. I was predicting that quite some while back. So that when we came along and we offered even one alternative for a career in art that was not teaching art history or being an artist you can see that it represented something important.
PAUL CUMMINGS: A new alternative.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And then we began calling for, agitated for really - and I still am agitating - for the creation of a whole spectrum of careers in the arts. People are badly needed: dealers, preparator. There are probably several hundred job categories that the art departments should be preparing for. This point of view attracted - there was something about the positive nature of what we were doing that attracted attention. Then there was another category of people who were attracted, and these are the creeps who are attracted to anything that is subsidized. A few opportunists got through this way. People just plain lied and said they wanted to be printers because they thought that's what we wanted to hear. And were really cavorting around. One man came in primarily because he wanted to get his hands on some litho stones. Of course people who do this don't last in our program because the norm is such an intense activity that people who aren't motivated that way show up very quickly.
PAUL CUMMINGS: They're obviously different.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And we're too small for them to hide. So that was useful.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What are the qualities that you looked for in a potential printer? What kind of mental attitudes or physical abilities?
JUNE WAYNE: Of course obviously I didn't start arbitrarily at any one of the categories of requirements. You look for people who are manually dexterous and craft oriented, people with a natural ability to construct anything, to fix anything, people who are self reliant, people who are compulsive and who need structure and criteria, who find comfort from that. But when that characteristic is too highly developed then you get with it the concomitant irritability that goes with this sort of profile; and that's a pain in the neck. But very good printers do have a very high paranoiac streak and you hope for somebody who can hold the balance between the two. They are people of taste. They need an intrinsic color sense, an analytic mind, the ability to learn formulae and to understand their value and to adjust them. They have an intellectual resonance. They have at their best ... man like Clifford Smith has a quite eloquent and philosophic thing along with his rigidities of personality. They are long term people. They're steady people. They are pillars of their community even though they may be nonconformists in some respects. They're a very solid type. And they are people with a relatively low "I" Quotient overtly - anyway in the sense that they will, can, and like to identify with other talents. They do like the artist who brings in the creative aspect and gives them a sense of what they're working toward, to be able to fly with somebody else. If the paranoiac streak, the compulsive streak is too severe, then of course that doesn't work. And then there are people like _______ who just cannot make it into any long term relationship with anybody. Of course a man like _______ now might not have developed such a hostile personality because he was working at a time when the climate was all against him. A natural paranoia was reinforced by realistic abuse. It is tough, it is very tough. For example, you witnessed this morning I was working with Bill and Serge. We are working on a very tough print which Serge felt was safe buttoned down and we had exactly the bonatirer we wanted. And when he came to print it something - the plate is not behaving properly, the registration isn't' the same, somehow the ink doesn't look the same and he's worried about losing it. He had started printing it. Now when that happens and a work is going awry and you don't know if it's going to live or die and a lot of work and money have been spent on it, it's natural for the artist to get very tense, for the printer to get tense, and for the crisis to contaminate their relationship. Then the printer starts thinking to himself, well, you know, why the hell did she make this kind of an image in the first place. And the artist might be thinking: the son of a bitch what did he do that contaminated the plate. These kinds of crisis in the human relationship are absolutely central to the art form. They occur constantly. And unless the character of both artist and printer can surmount these kinds of tensions then you get into all sorts of things. So what one starts looking for in the profile are character indicators of the kind that you don't get concerned with at all in a university where you're running people through in great quantities.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's interesting because I'd always wondered why the craft level in the universities is so basically mediocre.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, there are lots of explanations that go beyond attitudes. We don't have a long craft tradition that has been valid. We've had great draftsmen in this country but they have now come to the fore as a kind of sentimental snobbish embrace rather than having been integrated into the fundamental --
PAUL CUMMINGS: Using a character over there or something like that.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Or else because suddenly very rich people think it's nice to have a handcrafted chair or something of that kind and not because of normal expectations. So that this, plus the mass production society, plus, I believe, fundamental misidentifications of what makes an artist and how you train one, the educational structure, I think account for a lot of these things. Then the takeover of all the fancy Dans who themselves are slick operators and create slogans instead of performance. All these things. Another very real aspect of this which has nothing to do with what I've been talking about is the tremendous pressure on materials from a society that is hellbent on waste.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Use it up and get a new one.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Use it up and get a new one. It's almost unbearable to try to find out about what materials you're using or to be sure that if you bought them this week you can get them again two years from now.
PAUL CUMMINGS: And the same quality.
JUNE WAYNE: One knows nothing about shelf life, durability, any of these things. And the pitiful progress that we made in relation to standards is as nothing compared to what should be done. Many artists wandered around using bad materials and turned this into a rationalization and an asset instead of a handicap. I think one should be able to take on new materials because one wants to and not because what you wanted to work with is no longer available. So that when one goes to make something, a painting, the kind of brush you use, the kind of material, the kind of surface, all of these things tremendously influence what you're going to make. They have to be united medium and intention and method, so that when an art student is going to make a painting and he's going to learn how to be a painter the availability of materials or the currency of materials depend on the accident of whatever his teacher happened to have available and what he developed out of it, not because he had a choice but because it presented itself. And when you take these variables and add them to rather flabby levels of thinking on the part of the artist, and even a feeling, an aesthetic on the part of the artist, what you get is just an awful output.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Yes. Well, we've got a long way from the printers, haven't we?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it's related.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Yes, it does relate.
JUNE WAYNE: It is related. You change one factor, you change the water, if somebody forgets - and simple things like this can happen -that the man in charge of the shop gets lazy and forgets to use distilled water and forgets to pass along the information to a printer, a whole body of work may be changed just because instead of distilled water they start sponging with tap water or mixing with it or whatever. One variable like that in an art like this makes a hell of a big difference. And it's the ability to concentrate on...There are so many variables in lithography. The crisis we're having in the shop this morning. If you contaminate that even further with just one change in material...After all, some of our things come out of factories. We have to monitor them constantly. One can of ink with the same label does not reveal that the factory was sold, was bought by some other conglomerate which has no interest in ink, you see. And everything is changed. They don't tell you. You're always working blind. From minute to minute you can't trust any supplier. Well now, we're alerted to it and we're a small precision outfit, sensitive, alerted to these things. Well, what does it mean when you get back into a university where everything comes in through the requisitions of the campus buying office and nobody knows anything anyway and who cares?
PAUL CUMMINGS: They buy it by the gross because it's cheaper and it may sit for two years.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, sure. All of this. It's just not compatible with the way they teach.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You developed a program here to produce printers. How long did that take? Two years or something, I think. It would depend on the individual a great deal?
JUNE WAYNE: It depends upon how much they bring in with them, how much talent and how developed they are in one or another direction. It depends upon how hard they want to work, on their innate learning capability. Theoretically, if they put in sixty-seventy hours a week for two years they will have pulled out what we know how to teach them, and provided they'd had a good background. But when do they really become printers? I'll tell you. None of them are yet. Ten years down the line I'll tell you who the printers are. Now what they are when they leave here is about a thousand percent better than anything around. But that doesn't delude me. Serge is a printer but he has eighteen years behind him. And even then we have all sorts of problems. So that's what it is. Ken Tyler is a printer for certain kinds of things. Hollander is for certain kinds of things. But there are many kinds of things that Hollander couldn't do if he stood on his ear. He doesn't have enough technical training. On the other hand, there are things he does far better than Tyler does. Part of it is natural talent, part of it is knowledge. So what we're talking about, you see, is not...We're talking about unique people.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Yes. Who really develop a skill here and a skill there.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Over a long period of time. When does the piano player become a pianist? When does the pianist become an artist? When does an artist become Horowitz? Or Glenn Gould? And all of these things are implicit in the printers. We have now a very clear outline of all the bases they have to touch, of the body of information they have to learn. We call them our plateaus of training and we have managed to pull out visible criteria; that is to say, certain kinds of prints that they have to be able to make from beginning to end which show, regardless of the image making capability, what they know technically. So that now the Tamarind Institute has very clear criteria for what information they want to teach and they have some ways of determining how much of it the student, the printer has learned. But as to what makes an educated person or really a printer that's as difficult for us, as for any educational --
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. How many people have come out of here that you're happy with for the most part as printers?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I'm happy with each of them in one or two aspects; that is, nobody is whole, you know. We have some awfully good printers. And I would be happy to see a workshop, a whole big building in which each of them had his own smaller atelier very privately, working as privately as Serge and I now work, where artists are coming through and out of the whole menu of printers the artist could find that printer with whom he wished to mate, as it were. I'd love to see that. I think it would be terribly important. That's something that just occurred to me.
PAUL CUMMINGS: An extraordinary situation, yes.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And perfectly feasible. And from the viewpoint of earning money and making money much more practical than all the rest of it. Because the presence of such a population under the right circumstances and sharing certain management and support services would have great economic impact and make it much easier, much freer both for artists and printers to function without being pestered with many of the ordinary problems of survival.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's interesting. How did the curatorial program begin?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, of course, it began - Clinton Adams set up the first curation, which was mainly a method of keeping track of the editions. And then as we went along it became clear that more and more was needed. You see, the curatorial work keeps track of things as an inventory. It has an economic impact. It has a quality control function. It has a historic role in its data gathering. It has an information-sending activity implicit in the role of the curator; all these things. And so as time went on we found we had to keep broadening this activity. First we didn't have a program as such. We had someone called a curator who wasn't really a curator at all, it was a person whose job it was to do these things. And then we got her an assistant and put the assistant on a grant because I began to see that you had to train people for it. And then they'd come to me and say, look, you know, we ought to do more about formalizing this and setting plateaus just like the printers do. And I'd say, "Fine. Tell me what you think should be done." And so it began growing until there were points where we had five or six people in training at once.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How many curators have been here?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, not nearly as many as printers. Maybe twenty. And then we've had about seventy-five printers of which about fifteen, seventeen, maybe as many as twenty are not T.M.P.s certified; which is a very high yield out of a population of that size.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Do many of them have their own presses?
JUNE WAYNE: Quite a few. Or are in the field. And nearly everybody who's been here is still in the field because they get jobs. We also have a training program for teachers of lithography. It wasn't being taught in any of the art departments. So we used to have every summer a very intensive crash program for graphics teachers. And I'd send them to Antreasian for very intense work and to improve their teaching capability because what was being taught in their colleges in lithography just shouldn't happen to them.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Speaking of teaching and teachers and all that in the movie with Hayter in it last night, what was his reaction to all this when he came out here?
JUNE WAYNE: He seemed to enjoy making the lithographs here. He came in only as a guest artist. He was in passage. Because over the years we've brought in many people, artists who were just in town, and if we could we'd invite them in to do a guest edition or two. He had some special inks that he wanted to use. And he came in. He seemed to enjoy himself very much while he was here. He's a thoroughly charming man. He was here for only about a week. Only about a month ago somebody said to me, somebody who was coming through, said to me something like, "What did you ever do to make Hayter so mad with you?" I was quite taken aback because I wasn't aware of anything. It turned out that somebody had spoken to either his wife or whoever is the woman in his life and she said, "Of course, you know they never should have given her the money. Bill should have had the money." And apparently, as the story was told to me, he was very bitter. I, however, find that most of these tales are greatly overemphasized and dramatized. As far as I know my relationship to Hayter and his to us has been very good.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I was just curious because of his own role as a teacher and having operated Atelier 17.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, remember he came in as an artist. As an artist he made his prints and he received services on his editions. He was a guest and an honored guest with us. He wouldn't have been called upon to participate in the program in that capacity. Many artists are just not aware of this aspect of it, or at least if they're aware they're not involved with it very much unless one of the grantees goofs up and spoils something for him (which happens fairly often). And that's a bleeding nuisance, of course. But by and large the attempt is made to minimize his awareness of all of these auxiliary activities because his purpose is to make prints in as professional a circumstance as possible.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I think another thing we really didn't go into at great depth - we went around it a couple of times - was the selection of the artists. You talked about getting a variety to feed to the printers and things like that.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, I had the impression they tended to miss the point.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did you just take over the selection after a while? Or did they continue --
JUNE WAYNE: No. There are documents redefining how it would be done and what the criteria were. I sent a long discussion to all the members of the panel as to criteria. I really had one big question: if there were only one artist in the word that you thought was going to make a sensational lithograph, or really going to contribute to the art, who would that artist be and would you nominate that artist? This was a leap of imagination that very few people were able to make. There were a few who did. For example, Jim Sweeney sent us Richard (Dick) Wray who is still relatively unknown and I think made some of the most absolutely fabulous lithographs. They are among the most beautiful that we've ever made. I don't know of any other artist who could have made them. And the printing of them was a feat. They really added a dimension to lithography. Now Sweeney saw something, you see. And this has happened on occasion. But of course such people are rare at best and to get them through opinions by people who do not make art...I have very strong feelings about all of this now. I really wouldn't consult with non-creative people. What you said yesterday about artists knowing about artists, that is the surest way. Most of the people who came to Tamarind I had never met and did not know personally; most of them.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How did you find them then? Did they write to you? Or were they nominated by -- ?
JUNE WAYNE: They were nominated. I'd hear about them. They would be nominated and I would make some attempt to meet them or to see their work or take the word of someone...or it would work out in the scheduling or whatever it was.
PAUL CUMMINGS: So there are many, many factors involved?
JUNE WAYNE: Many, many factors involved. Until an artist is finally coughed up out of all these permutations. Then it's quite accidental. I would have invited the devil himself if there was reason to believe that he would do what I said: to add a dimension to lithography. There are some artists who you would think would have absolutely exhilarated everybody who turned out to be dreadful bores with no imagination at all. And some artists were terribly reluctant to leave the security of old methods and had great difficulty relating to a new medium. They were just making the same pictures, you see.
PAUL CUMMINGS: With different processes and different materials.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And with everybody there was a little bit of that. Some artists sometimes would do something that disappointed me terribly and then a year later I would see that they were right and I was wrong. It just takes time. And more often of course what is turned out is very good but not world shaking. And that didn't upset me a bit because, you know, I think one is very lucky occasionally to run across an important work of art and you have to have a certain amount of it in order to get the opportunity.
PAUL CUMMINGS: A field to operate in. Sure.
JUNE WAYNE: That's right.
PAUL CUMMINGS: When did the marketing plans and the business activities for the printers start? Was that also in the initial program? Or did that develop?
JUNE WAYNE: That was written into the original plan. It was one of the six points: to develop an economic format to guide printers in earning their own living outside of subsidy. That was one of our fundamentals.
PAUL CUMMINGS: The first ones came out in - what - 1963? Those pamphlets were from 1963? 1964?
JUNE WAYNE: The pamphlets - no - that appeared I think...Well, look, we may have published something about it at that time but the original proposal that I wrote when I still didn't have --
PAUL CUMMINGS: (Inaudible)
JUNE WAYNE: Yes, that was one of the six points; that was a fundamental bias. Because I don't believe in subsidy if you can avoid it; I don't trust government. And, after all, any kind of subsidy is governmental - one remove. And even though I think ultimately the arts will integrate through certain kinds of government support in combination with a free enterprise aspect, nonetheless this has to be...You have to give the individual as much room as possible to solve his own problems.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Do you think the economic attitudes you fostered and ideas and programs you know, the formulas and things, have they worked for the printers who've gone out and set up their own shops? Or have they found that they've had to change it a great deal? Or has there been a follow through to kind of check this out?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, we know this: that the men who have never accepted it, repeatedly fail. I referred to one last night.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Absolutely. Right.
JUNE WAYNE: And it was his romantic rejection of this.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I think that's changed, though, in the last couple of years, don't you?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, I don't know how well he's doing now. I do know this: that the minute there was a market crisis he couldn't hire the man who was about to come to work for him. Considering when he opened Hollander should be every bit as big as Tyler, and bigger. For one thing, he's more lovable. And for another, he is a dear man and artists like to work with him. And he was right on the scene in New York and was ahead of Tyler in coming out. He had many advantages which would have helped him. Now this is interesting: that in the first few years our people, in fact until about 1965 all of the grantees, the artists, the curators, the printers, resisted this economic material like the plague. Nothing short of the fact that they were going to be kicked out instantly if they didn't cooperate would help. And they were drafted kicking and screaming all the way to learn these disciplines. But the minute guys started going out and failing, those who were still in got anxious and once it was sufficiently established then it became so natural that a lot of the resistance to the material began to dissipate. You see, once they started seeing it in written form, once we became more skilled at weaving it in and out of the daily activity they accepted it. Now nobody resists it at all.
PAUL CUMMINGS: That's interesting. I noticed in the shop today that there were price labels and things with dates. Was that a practice? Or are they just on objects for specific reasons?
JUNE WAYNE: You mean the small stickers on various things? That's because we just had appraisers through to appraise the equipment. That was just part of internal routine.
PAUL CUMMINGS: I was just wondering if that was a device so people would know the value of things.
JUNE WAYNE: No, that wasn't. But you should take a look at our Business Methods for a Lithography Workshop in which this kind of data appears - these kinds of data appear. (I really have great resistance to recognizing that word as a plural.)
PAUL CUMMINGS: One of the things that I'd like to talk about...I mean most of the discussion so far has been theoretical and plans. I'd like somehow to get more into the personalities of the participants in the program, the artists and the printers and people who really were here and made the most significant contributions and developments and things like that.
JUNE WAYNE: I couldn't do that because I have very strong and sharp views - by "sharp" I mean clearly delineated views - on the contributions of the people who've come through. It would be almost contrary to my habit to say these things at least so close to the time that they were here. In a profound sense I've been the philosopher of the program, as well as its work horse, and its responsible chief executive. And unless I maintain a certain retianse about my personal views, a certain distance...You see, people have to be valued. And once I do that kind of thing I start, I start measuring people. I'm really not too keen to do that. By so doing, merely by leaving some out and putting others in I make an editorial statement. I'm not too keen on doing that. Insofar as our staff is concerned it's very simple. Garo Antreasian, Clinton Adams and I were a very good combination. Each of us brought to the program something the other did not have. Each of us have characteristics absent in the others. And all three of us have enough of a hair shirt and sense of social responsibility to be able to put aside personality issues. Beyond the first year (which was rather rocky when they were here) we have worked mostly apart, which is a great asset for peace. I mean the opportunities for difficulties are much fewer and I'm sure we would have had some. In the first year we were getting to know each other. And both Garo and I found some problems - well, I really can't speak for Garo, I would surmise that Garo had some problems about working with Clint who is so precise. When I work, for example, if I'm writing something I'm apt to hand it to somebody and say, read it and tell me, you know, and make changes, and I don't have any anxiety if somebody comes back and says, listen, this is no good at all, and this should go here and this should go there, and then I react up and back; in other words, I can kick up and back. But with Clinton if you're going to change anything, even a word...He has such a formulated view of why every word is where it is that you have much more of a problem. And it took him some while, some months I think, to be able to tolerate my rather freewheeling view that nothing is sacred. I've learned over the years...For example, it's useless to interrupt Clint in the middle of a sentence because he will finish that sentence even though you know what he's going to say. He has structured it from beginning to end like I suppose some artists can paint...I knew an artist once who could paint from left to right and come out finished at the lower right-hand corner.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Yes. I know someone like that, too. You can't believe it and you see the canvas.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And Clint is like that. Now when you're working live with this this can be a problem. On the other hand, it's a fabulous characteristic when you're handing over and he undertakes to do something. It's just going to be exact from beginning to end. So he brought that kind of thing and his administrative thing and an immense knowledge of lithography and art history. He is an educator, well educated. So you can see that in that way he brought something that I couldn't have given this program in a million years. Antreasian is an ideal teacher. He's a loving guy. Very good at lithography. Very human. He was excellent in the shop and has been excellent all the way along. He hasn't had the kind of free enterprise point of view that I have always had because he comes within the education structure and hasn't faced it. Now it's very interesting to me that the Tamarind Institute which they run - think God - I'm hearing them say things about the free enterprise aspect of proving out this and that, and "maybe we can beat this price" and do this, that, and the other thing; that never would have been possible unless this had been structured in. Sometimes the practical pressures do what theoretical discussion cannot do. And I'm delighted to see that this bias of mine which they weren't too pleased with, (and they have always disliked intensely our management engineer - really to sit at the table with these three men was enough to drive you mad. They couldn't even agree on the time of day because the personalities were such. So that everything our management engineer had to say they would reject out of hand simply because he was saying is.) Now sometimes these emotional things are a problem. And I'm glad to see that at a distance this has been resolved. This whole thing of being able to put personalities aside and keep your concentration on what you are trying to do is really the key.
PAUL CUMMINGS: It's a kind of scientific attitude in a way.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Although if you read The Double Helix book by Watson and Crick it's really an amazing view of scientists as being a thorough pain in the ass - just like anybody else. And so wrapped into their own narcissisms and anxieties, etcetera.
PAUL CUMMINGS: One thing we haven't gone into at all is the relationship of the Ford Foundation during all of this. The initial grant was for - what? Five years? Three years?
JUNE WAYNE: The initial grant was a three-year grant for $165,000 which they allowed us to spend much more rapidly because we were moving more rapidly. The second grant was for $400,000. The third was for $900,000. This last grant is for $705,000. They have always given me exactly what I asked for. They have kept their word absolutely. They have never interfered. Many times when I gave them an option about a policy they would write back and say "this is not our business to decide." Now, on the other hand, I've always kept them very thoroughly informed. They get a much more comprehensive report from me than they do from must grantees; (and you've seen those reports). I've always alerted them, too, when I thought there was going to be trouble. For example, at one point we wanted to do the book about the Marquis de Sade. So I wrote and said "We wanted to take this project but I can imagine a headline about pornography in a Ford Foundation project and so on, and if you have any views now is the time to speak them." They wrote back and said, "We are sure that if you want to undertake a project of this kind you have some reason for so doing and it's not really within our domain." Then I've also been very careful to keep them informed of all the bad news. In other words, their report isn't just what we've done well, but what we've done badly as well. And there have been some serious problems from time to time. They have been absolutely impeccable in their relationship. The reason I'm so much against subsidy is that we have had ideal subsidy and I know that anything ideal is so rare that it must mean that everybody else hasn't a prayer --
PAUL CUMMINGS: Did they require certain kinds of reports from you periodically at a given point?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. There's an annual audit and a narrative of how you spend the money. The grants are based on hard requests. There are no variable funds in the grants ever. Which is why I built in a source of earning for us so that we could have our own variable funds outside of the grant. This has given us a great deal of flexibility. You were allowed minor changes in line times but anything major had to be asked for. But actually the plans were so well worked out that I never had any difficulty with it. I would spend about six weeks a year on the next year's plan, the report and the prediction for the year ahead. In this way I knew...I had standards by which one could monitor the progress of the program. I could tell at any point by going into my own plan today, you know, what's ahead, what's behind, where you are; which is just good management scheduling. And also it meant that if I dropped dead somebody could come in and pick up the plan and know just where they were. Now all of this built confidence with the Foundation. It's terribly hard to find grantees that you can rely on. And grants are always a tremendous risk because you give on the basis of intentions. And the best grants have to be of course to people who've never done it.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. They're all gambles.
JUNE WAYNE: It's all high risk. So that when somebody comes in and a program does what it says it's going to do and keeps its focus and doesn't get into serious trouble it increases credibility and security.
PAUL CUMMINGS: How many people did you work with at the Ford Foundation?
JUNE WAYNE: Only two. Lowry and Marcia Thompson. Nobody else. For a while Sig Koch was there while Lowry was doing some work of a larger scope in the arts after the death of McPeak. But one of my requirements, one of my early requirements verbally was, you know, I said, I know about your Foundation, committees, conferences, and all that kind of stuff. I said, "I can't live or work with the kind of thing." And Lowry said, "I just promise you that you won't have to." So it's always been very direct, very simple. I pose a very sharp question as to possibilities of something I want and I get a yes or a no; and that's it. And of course after a while you come to understand the context within what you can do and what you can't do, what's appropriate. And philosophically I think Lowry understood what I was after and it agreed with what he felt, too. So it went very well.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Are there areas in the Tamarind program that you feel were unaccomplished or fell apart at a certain point, or didn't work as a projected idea?
JUNE WAYNE: I think that some of the inherent conflicts of my plan showed up on schedule and were a problem all the way along the line. But they were also the reason why the program worked. It's a hybrid program. It's hybrid in that it reaches from creative isolation into integration with the society. It is a program which takes people who are learning something and says, "Damn it, you're going to behave like professionals if it kills you from the moment you enter this program." Well, that's patently impossible. You reach of the best all the time knowing that what you're going to accomplish is less than the best. And these are bone cracking stretches to make. At the same time these are exactly the things that gave it its vitality and also produced abrasions. So that the needs of the artists were sometime antithetical to the needs of the printers; the needs of those printers who were going to be workmen in other peoples' workshops were different from the entrepreneurs. A man like Ken Tyler, or Jean Milant, or Hollander even and their goals in life were not the same as those of people who were going to work for them. So we weren't large enough to be able to structure the spectrum and still do the quality job that we were going to do. So that the program had to work around with and adapt to all these particular needs. And these did not always go smoothly. Another great problem was that some aspects would move ahead or fall dormant when we didn't want them to simply because nobody existed who could do a particular job or was available. For example, all of our economic material badly needs updating. Our study of The Marketing of the Print was 1965. Now I've been trying - wanting to get another one out, updated, and I have nobody to do it. You know, for example, sitting and talking with you I think to myself: gee, can't I grab this guy off to take that study and bring it up to date. So the great shortage of competent people in the arts who have the skills we need has been a terrible problem. I would have liked publication to be much faster and better. I wish that the curatorial program could have produced eight times the number of people it did. But of course the Tamarind Institute will now go on doing these things on a more settled basis.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Will the Institute be able to have a larger group of people working there? I mean more printers and more curatorial people at the same time?
JUNE WAYNE: The number of printer grantees is postulated at eight per year. Allowing for the fact that a percentage will be flunked out and others will be put in their place -- but their average population will be eight a year. That's really about all you can do and do a good job.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Maintain quality.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And Tamarind must simply never become any larger than the balance of it's skilled people to people it is training. Once that gets out of balance then everything goes.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. It's still a one to one --
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. And besides we don't have to produce an immense population; just a viable one. Which means enough density and enough steady replacement for the art to go on. A dozen workshops across the country is really quite enough. We don't need a thousand. I'd rather have a steady small output of skills than lots of them. It's a source of great grief to me that some of the very bad people who came through this program, or were in it very briefly, are still in the field. You know, I wish some of them would disappear. And it also annoys the hell out of me that nobody ever writes for references and that that word "Tamarind" has so much prestige that if someone walks in and says, "I was Tamarind trained," (he may have been here two days and been arrested for shoplifting or something.) And yet that cachet goes on. That's a nuisance, too. I don't think that we got nearly far enough and I hope the Institute can do more about research and development. There is still nobody manufacturing a zinc graining machine or a metal plate machine so that we can be independent. You know, they don't re-grain plates any more in industry. All these people vanished overnight in a period of about six months four or five years back. So we had to develop prototypical small graining machines. We even patented one which fell apart the day the patent came through. It proved to be utterly impractical. So R and D has been a problem. We have never been able - I've never had the time to get an agreement with the ink industry to produce inks to the standards that we want. Inks are a terrible problem still; utterly untrustworthy. There's a palette of only about thirty that are any good; and those are variable. Paper - well, it's true there are now ten or twelve very good papers which is ten more than we had when we started; there were only two. And we've developed them and they're in steady supply. However, they could vanish. If you lose two or three of them at any point then, you know, it's a blow.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Yes. What about things like presses and what not? they're really hand crafted, aren't they?
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. But there are several companies now producing them. Brand in New York, Griffin Press in San Francisco. So that's not too bad a problem. The graining machine is a big problem. An air-powered levigator, an electric levigator, these things are not available. There are lots of things that we need. We developed an acetate handling envelope for print dealers and so on. And that's been a land-office kind of thing on the outside. We developed the flange for mounting prints temporarily without gluing them. I got that idea from looking at a data board and looking at that flange. And the flange people may sell it in large quantities. I hope the Institute will carry out that activity and we will still do some of it from here. But compared to what it was like materials are much more accessible. Much more research is needed. The stone thing is a crying shame. We've rescued hundreds of stones.
PAUL CUMMINGS: But isn't there another place where that kind of stone can be found?
JUNE WAYNE: I'm sure that such stone must exist but the cost of finding it, opening the mine, prospecting for it! You see, that particular geologic age would have deposited a very thin layer, maybe six to eight feet deep only. And while the quarries are opening, that particular layer that is right for hand lithography is pretty well exhausted. Occasionally a piece of it, a stone or two will come out. Fundamentally it's a question of rescuing used stones which have decades of use in them. For example, our agent abroad has located a cache now of about five hundred large stones. I just don't have any money any more to do this. What I used to do was she would find stones, buy them up for us. We would ship them here and examine them, sort them for quality and then re-sell them either to schools or give them as grants to some of our own men and so on. But it takes tens of thousands of dollars to assume that risk. They run about eight stones to a ton average. And then shipping, and a certain amount of breakage. We brought in a lot of stones from Italy on which the old maps had been printed. These were owned by the Italian Geographic Society. We bid on a batch of stones owned by the Irish Army just recently and lost it because the sons of bitches insisted on a closed bid being very proper, and then somebody sold out and they were sold long before the auction took place. We spent a lot of money sending our agent and arranging all this. Damn the Irish for that! We brought stones from England, from France, from Germany, and Italy. And behind the Iron Curtain there must be just zillions of them because it was big in China. Lots of stones were shipped. They all came out of those same quarries scattered around the world. We followed tons of them into Long Island Sound, Lake Michigan, the Potomac River. The government disposed of tons and tons of lithograph stones which were built into the foundation of housing projects in Silver Spring, Maryland. All that kind of frustrating detective work that we did. And which should be going on by an Office of Material Resources for the Arts. So I've done a lot of work on these things. Some of the plans exist all written up but there's nobody to talk to.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What happened to that idea for finding stones and keeping a going operation?
JUNE WAYNE: Nothing. Nothing really happened to it. The endowment - I numbered it out as needing a revolving fund of some millions of dollars and some warehousing space. But, of course, it would have earned its own way. It just needed operating capital. After looking at this they appropriated ten thousand dollars. And then they called me from Washington to announce this great news and would we cooperate. So I wrote and explained that the only way to really get anything out of their ten grand was to add it to our funds, we would administer it for them, we would pick up all the overhead - which we were doing anyway - and in that way we could retrieve the maximum number of stones. Well, they couldn't let go of that ten thousand and they sent me a pile of forms to fill out and demanded of me that I must form a national board to administer this lousy ten thousand; and how could they be sure that no favoritism would be shown once we got the stones, and so on. So I wrote and said forget, just forget the whole thing. Nothing ever happened with it. And when people who know nothing about it and are just moved out of the most fragile and volatile emotions, you're in an unworkable situation. Nothing was done.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What do you think is the possibility of getting an organization going that will oversee quality control and will keep looking for stones and develop machinery that's required?
JUNE WAYNE: I would say you would have to have developed in the Washington picture a quite different level of function than I've ever had reason to believe it was capable of. For example, you would have to have shirt-sleeve executive who would know what they were going to do and set about doing it. You would have to reduce the number of meetings by a factor of a thousand percent. And you would have to have an output workday of at least three hours a day instead of none. Now that must sound terribly unfair. I know a lot of people are sending out a lot of documents and writing a lot of letters. But when you look at what results nothing happens.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Make do work.
JUNE WAYNE: Well, it's just shuffling around papers. It is also characterized by a lack of serious contact with the creative people who are accustomed to getting a job done. And I don't mean me, you see. I'm saying this out of observation of how things work. There are very few art organizations that function at a professional level.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Even some of the largest.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. Especially the largest. Because the ratio of committees and laymen to the number of people who are doing a job and know what the hell they can do it just so out of balance that it won't work.
PAUL CUMMINGS: What do you think the effect of Tamarind now that the printers are out and the artists are involved with making lithographs, how do you think that's going to affect the market for original graphics in the next few years?
JUNE WAYNE: I think it made the market originally in this country the way we understand it, because it really made it right and possible for artists to come in and to be artists who are working in prints at this moment and working something else the next. It made collaboration respectable. And as an act of will it set out to create a market. And we had to break down an immense number of prejudices and myths and so on. Which we did with malice aforethought. We knew how many collectors we needed. We went after them, not directly, you see, but through opinion changing. We caused an immense amount of publicity in which our name was never mentioned; deliberately. Because we were changing a climate, an attitude. We were making the environment hospitable. And there were many things that worked for it in the times. So we effected that. We set standards. We made definitions. Just the work we did on the semantics of the art was terribly important. We exposed, however gently, the faking of prints. We did pit out standards against the contaminated ones of Europe with great effect, to the point now where in Europe they're apt to say that they subscribe to our ethic or to out standards.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You mean the School of Paris doesn't send a sketch in and have -- ?
JUNE WAYNE: Well, they're still doing it but fewer of them are doing it. And many French dealers are now taking back works of art that were made that way and they're finding it more profitable to be honest because they have to compete. Much more disclosure is asked for by the collector. And that's how we went about it. We felt that if the collector knew the right questions to ask that this would influence the dealer.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Right. Education again.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. So we worked with the dealers, all of them. But we also made sure that the layman - that is, we tried to increase the amount of knowledge the layman had to protect himself. Our documentation was very important. We said, "Ask for documentation. Ask for these things." All of this was very important to the market.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Don't you find it's a rather continuing program trying to teach collectors about what they should look for.
JUNE WAYNE: I don't think the job is done by any means. Our studies have been very influential on how to run a gallery and how to acquire an inventory, on site selection. You see, we don't have nearly enough print dealers. But you must remember that at the time we started there were virtually none. There was Sylvan Cole, Deitsch, Kennedy. Who else? Now many, many dealers have a print department.
PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, and more are opening.
JUNE WAYNE: And more are opening. So it is rolling. And I think that it would now roll without us. We're not needed for that kind of thing.
PAUL CUMMINGS: You got the ball rolling and momentum there.
JUNE WAYNE: Yes. That was the whole point: to pump prime, to get enough of it going to get a critical mass and then it goes. I think we would be very useful to continue to publish market data. However, I think that that's the kind of thing if your Newsletter is honest and has standards and so on we wouldn't be needed. Theoretically everything that is needed ought to be coming out of free enterprise. So I'm just delighted to see your Newsletter because that's just one more thing we don't have to think about except to read it and make sure it doesn't get contaminated
END OF INTERVIEW
This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with June Wayne, 1970 August 4-6, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.