Size: Transcript 117 pages
Format: Originally recorded on 7 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav file. Duration is 6 hrs., 7 minutes.
Summary: An interview of Peter Alexander conducted 1995 December 13-1996 May 8, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art.
This interview begins with an account of Alexander's family and educational background, including his study of architecture with Richard Neutra and further study in Philadelphia, London, and at USC, Los Angeles. He recalls working for architect William Pereira; his first New York exhibition; Robert Elkon and Leo Castelli, Los Angeles artists, the Hollywood connection; and Los Angeles in the 1960s. Alexander discusses the differences between New York and Los Angeles art worlds; his attachment to southern California; his arrogance in resisting the New York system and all it implied. He goes on to describe himself as a pagan, senusualist, and voyeur, qualities that inform his work, as does entertainment and popular culture.
Autobiographical in quality, his work embodies the notion of personality and character in determining his expression. He further discusses lessons learned from the old masters, the idea of artists as manipulators and art as voyeurism. Alexander considers his possible placement as a contemporary symbolist, contrasting his work to other current art which he sees as cynical. Finally, he claimed to see a new context and position for his art as a result of the interview, providing fresh insight into his activity as an artist.