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Oral history interview with Peter Goulds, 2008 Mar.24-July 28

Goulds, Peter, 1948-

Gallery director


Collection Information

Size: 5 Items, Sound recording, master: 5 sound files (3 hr., 39 min.), digital, wav file; 56 Pages, Transcript

Summary: An interview of Peter Goulds conducted 2008 Mar. 24 and July 28, by Susan Ford Morgan, for the Archives of American Art at L.A. Louver Gallery, in Venice, Calif.
Goulds discusses growing up in Islington, London U.K. and the influence of his family; his work as a youth in the London theater world and interest in jazz; his time studying at the Walthamstow School of Art, the Coventry School of Art and the Manchester School of Art; his interest in typographic art and introduction to structuralism; his interest in the fields of communication design, experimental video and film; his time teaching an introductory art and design class at UCLA; his wife Liz and the opening of his gallery L. A. Louver in Venice, California, as well as the origin of the gallery's name. Goulds also describes the growth of his gallery in Venice and subsequent expansions and renovations; the Louver Gallery in New York City and its closing in 1993; the many challenges of running a gallery in Venice in the '70s; his opinions about art fairs and the current state of the art business as contrasted with when he began along with the gallery's "Rogue Wave" program for new artists. Goulds also recalls David Hockney, Mitsuru Kataoka, Morris Zaslavsky, Jake Zeitlin, Kate Steinitz, and Lili Lakich along with Ron Kitaj, Ken Price, Mark di Suvero, Ed and Nancy Kienholz, Kimberly Davis, Chris Pate, Fred Fisher, and Sean Kelly among others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Peter Goulds (1948- ) is the founding director of Louver Gallery and L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice, Calif. Susan Ford Morgan is a writer in Los Angeles, Calif.


This interview is 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 administrators.

Language Note

English .


Funding for this interview was provided by the Art Dealers Association of America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Peter Goulds on 2008 March 24 and July 28. The interview took place in Venice CA at the L.A. Louver Gallery, and was conducted by Susan Ford Morgan for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Peter Goulds has reviewed the transcript. His corrections and emendations appear below in brackets with initials. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So, this is for the Archives of American Art—


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —for their oral history project, and so, I have to open up my identifying statement, which is: This is Susan Morgan interviewing Peter Goulds at the L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice, California, on, I believe, the—

PETER GOULDS:  It is Monday, March the 24th—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —March the 24th—


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —2008, and this is disk one. And because this is an oral history project we start at the very beginning. When and where were you born?

PETER GOULDS:  I was born in London, Islington—on October the 5th, 1948.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And what was your family like? Were your parents interested in art? Did they encourage you to be interested in art?

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, you're going way back. [Laughs.] My mother was from a very entrenched—not very entrenched, but she's from a deeply rooted working-class family in the East End of London. She has to this day lived within a mile radius of where she was born. My father—my father was born—thank you—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

PETER GOULDS:  —to a middle towards upper-middle-class family background, military history family, and he went to privileged schools. And so the contrast was quite considerable.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And by privileged, do you mean fee-paying schools, or schools that you—

PETER GOULDS:  Fee-paying schools. But regrettably, for him, he lost his father when he was—when my father was 10 years old. And the 10 years that he theoretically knew his father, that father was always away on some military campaign or another—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

PETER GOULDS:  —so I doubt that they spent very much time together, so he developed an image of a father rather than knowledge of a father. And so when that father died, he was cast adrift, and I think the family life changed. My grandmother hadn't worked in her life—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

PETER GOULDS:  —until that time. The Depression was on, and so she had to marshal the forces and do something she knew she could do, and what she could do, the one skill she had, was she knew how to run a house—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

PETER GOULDS:  —with servants and things like that. So she took to buying boarding houses in the south of England, in Hastings, which was probably not a wise thing to do during the Depression. I doubt that too many people were taking holidays—[laughs]—at that time. So whatever they had accrued, disappeared. And it was all hands to the deck. And my father, being quite rebellious, I gather, left school—in fact, from this rather good school he went to St. Edward's in Hastings. He left at the age of 14, and then proceeded to work in a laundry, waiting until he was 17, whereupon he could sign up to be an enlisted man in the Army. Well, of course, an enlisted soldier at that time has a slightly different pathway into the military than his family had been used to. And so, it was a little bit of a foolish thing he did. Probably where my son gets a lot of his willfulness from. [Laughs.]

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  It was interesting when you said it, I immediately—

PETER GOULDS:  Segued over to my son? Yeah, when Oliver was born, we took one look at him and we both said almost involuntarily, "He reminds me just of your father," was what was said. As she lay there, not, "Aren't we lucky, isn't he marvelous, isn't he gorgeous," or whatever else you might say about a newborn—no. "He looks just like your father."

[They laugh.]

Anyway, so dad went into the laundry, and then into the military, and of course, on roll call they came to the name, and of course they singled him out. And in singling him out, they said, "Are you related to—?" "Yes, I am." "We expect great things of you." Well, of course, back in the barracks, the men would have just ragged him endlessly. Probably given him a few fives. And so, it followed that he joined the Communist Party. And—[laughs]—suggested that all enlisted men at the end of the Second World War keep their weapons and surround the Houses of Parliament, so he was a bit of a rebel—

[They laugh.]

—and went on to become a self-taught engineer. He was a bit of a genius, actually. And he ended up building—developing machines that sorted and graded minerals in places like South Africa and Greece and Sweden. So I had no art background, but I had this very creative person in the house, which he was.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And to think in a way that wasn't—

PETER GOULDS:  And he always felt outside the box—he always thought outside the box a little bit, and a very independent sort. But he had no concept of what it was to be a father after the age of 10. So our relationship more or less ceased at the age of 12. And when I would approach him over various things, be it financial—"I'd like my own record player"—well, then he'd say, "Well, go out and get a job." Or, "Dad, dah dah dah," then, "Look after yourself." So that's more or less what he set up. No pocket money. You'd look after yourself. And so I have, from the age of 12.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And do you have siblings?

PETER GOULDS:  I have a brother and a sister that didn't actually enter my life until I was about 11 or 12. So I was an only child until then. And then the house was full. And he was off traveling all the time, of course, to South Africa, to Greece, to Sweden. And so, in a certain way, he let me have his experience as a child his own way, later.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And did you go to museums on your own, or did you—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, this is where he was very good, I must say, because he had this—I had this rather—not schizophrenic, but extremely diverse background. He was very conscious of providing me with what he thought I might need. And that took a couple of forms. He always took me—very generously, I should add—all the time, to museums. But they were natural history museums, and science museums, not art museums. He didn't have much interest in art, but he did take me to all these other places. So I was very comfortable in those—very early on. And all the time—not just twice a year, or something, this was a regular monthly, if not twice—bimonthly event. He taught me to swim very early on, too, from the age of three, and I became a competitive swimmer. And the third thing he did was—he was an atheist, well, maybe more of an agnostic that anything else, so I didn't have any religious upbringing. Except they put me into a very religious school, a very—a Church of England school. So I had a very strong religious education from the age of five. I joined the choir when I was eight. Sang in the choir until my voice broke at 14, and I've always been connected to the church ever since in a curious way. Which is totally different than the rest of my family, who are completely secular. And then the other thing he did—and so they didn't discourage that, as that evolved through my primary education, and subsequently, it was not discouraged. Even though it was antithetical to his own point of view.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  [Affirmative.] Not Communist.

PETER GOULDS:  No, he would keep it going. And then he would take me to meet various relatives on his side of the family. That was very important to him, that I get to know them. And, because there were things there that he knew that I would—would enrich my experience. For example—Auntie Beatie, who lived actually not far away.

She lived in Islington, but in a very—Islington is a very curious part of London. It was bombed heavily, so it went through changes in the '50s. It's a very protected, almost self-contained village, as often London small areas can be. It's peppered with these very large, ugly, state housing projects, which when the bombings happened, they just threw these things up to relocate people as best they could. But then on the other hand, it's got all these very extraordinary connections to the Bloomsbury School, and through writers, but also painters—like William Coldstream, for example, lived there. An endless number of writers lived in the neighborhood—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah, like John Betjeman—

PETER GOULDS:  John Betjeman, all those people lived there, and that's actually where we lived, in that part of it. It wasn't a bombed-out area, it was an area rather protected and a little bit—it must have been my father's influence that we moved there. And Beatie, Auntie Beatie lived on Canonbury Square, which is very exclusive, very close to the Tower Theatre, which is a repertory theater. It's been there for a couple of hundred years, even. And this is the part of London my father knew. When he came up from Hastings after working in the laundry to get a different type of job, he would have stayed in the neighborhood with Beatie, and she would have looked after him, or kept an eye on him. She was an extraordinary woman. And she lived till she was in her mid-90s. As most of the women on his side of the family did. He died young, but most of them lived into their 80s and 90s and they didn't work—of course, they traveled the world.

She was a rebel, though. She got a job as a headmistress in a London school, actually walking distance from there. And she would tell me, you know, endless stories of how in the garden opposite here, she would say, "Look out, and look at this garden. In this garden, when I first came here," she said, "peacocks would run freely, and pheasants would be out there," you know. And she had a great library in her house. So that's really where my—my parents were avid readers, but my love for reading books came, really, from her. And she was a member of a jigsaw society, and she would receive these jigsaws from all over the Empire. They would come in in these anonymous packages, and she would unfold them. Could be a—there was no illustration, and there was no number count. Could be an oval, could be a triangle, could be a hexagon. There was always a jigsaw going on in the house, you know. She was extraordinary.

And I visited her probably once a month from the age of seven or eight. And she died when I was 13. She was a great influence. All around her apartment, beautiful apartment, gorgeous light, were these reproductions, very good high-quality reproductions, of mostly Dutch painters. So Pieter de Hooch, or Vermeer, would be throughout the apartment. And she would always recount stories or have me tell her stories of about what the painting—what the reproduction suggested. What stories were implied. Of course now, as we go on, we discover that most of the women in the doorways were prostitutes, of course, but at that time it was an otherwise story. So that's where, perhaps, my interest in art came from.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  A question is, where were you educated? What has been your most rewarding educational experience? You went from having been at Catholic school to going to—

PETER GOULDS:  I wasn't at Catholic school. Church of England.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Church of England, sorry. I think it's—

PETER GOULDS:  It's rather like Catholicism at the high end of the Episcopal Church.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And I think having that kind of structure and that kind of complexity of ideas in education, really, when you were saying it wasn't your parents' way at all, but they allowed that this was a good way to be educated.

PETER GOULDS:  They didn't discourage it. No, at all. To the contrary. So I have that education and it was very neighborhood and simple, it wasn't complicated, but it was a good school, a very good school. And I didn't have so much luck applying, you know, for my next school, because they had these tests. There were the 11-plus tests you used to have to take that graded you into grammar, second—central school I think they were called, and secondary schools. And I failed my 11-plus. So I wasn't—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  What year, that was probably '60—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh golly, let me think. Let's see now, '65 I went to art school, so this would have been about '59 or '60. I failed my 11-plus, so I went to a rather challenging school insofar as it would have been a population—a demographics that would be more for clerical workers, probably. And—office class of white-collar worker, mostly—probably. I was being trained at that level, and I excelled in literature, English, and took art for granted. I won the art prize every year, really didn't take it too seriously, to be perfectly honest. I use to win the religious instruction prize every year, de rigueur. Didn't really have to study for that. Took it a bit for granted. Had a challenging fourth year at that school, insofar as that's when my rebellion year really kicked in. And it was a reckless, dangerous year, as I recall, which we won't recount for Cecilia's benefit—

[They laugh.]

—but it was a—certainly I survived, let's just say that. But it was very much like that, it was a very dangerous time in London, actually, at that time, for that generation of kids. Very dangerous indeed—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You didn't end up with the Kray Brothers?

[They laugh.]

PETER GOULDS:  No, I was always a loner, pretty much, and if I had any sort of clubiness to me it was only through swimming, or through the church, or something like that. And then during this rebellion period I sort of made my own club, if you will, of fellow cohorts, and we would be very reckless, is all I can say. And out of that, I was plucked by my art master, Johnny Walker—not of whiskey fame, but of like name. And he was going to be—he was concerned for two or three boys in the school because he had been given the appointment of being a headmaster at some school or other. And he thought that two or three boys in the school were not being encouraged beyond the fifth form to pursue art in the sixth, which would be junior and senior years. And he was concerned for us. So he took us to one side during that fifth form, which would have been the freshman year, and he said if all of us, or any of us were so inclined, he would encourage us to leave school at that age, which you could do still, and go to art school earlier.

I had one—my A level in art, I had taken when I was 14. You normally take that when you're 18. And I won this with a, you know, high pass rating, whatever that was. And so I thought, well, why not apply, you know? And he helped us prepare, but he said, "I can't influence the outcome, but I can arrange an interview, and then it's up to you guys." So he helped us prepare portfolios. I think all three of us—no, two of the three of us went for it. And helped us prepare portfolios. We took the interview at the local art school, Walthamstow School of Art. It happened to be one of the great schools—of course, I wouldn't have known it then. This is where, in fact, Ken Russell taught, Peter Blake taught, Elisabeth Frink, Celia Birtwell, a whole bunch of [graduates and teachers at the Royal College –PG]—all of which didn't mean anything to me at the time, but of course now, as I look back, what a fortunate landing on my feet was that, you know?

And we took an interview with a man called Stuart Ray, who was the head at the time. And to my astonishment, got this letter inviting me to come there. When the letter arrived, my mother passed the envelope to me and said "What's this all about?" Because on the envelope cover it said Walthamstow School of Art, and I opened it and let her read it and she said, "Well, what does it mean?" I said, "It means that I'm going to leave school and go to art school." "Oh, I think your father will have something to say about that," was—[laughs]—was her reply. And he did. He stayed very civil about it all. And he said, "Of course, you're doing this to spite me, I'm sure," he said, "but, you may remain at home." I remember the term he used. But, he said, "Anything else associated with this folly is yours." So I said to him, "Well, frankly, I never thought it would be otherwise." [Laughs.] At the age of 12, it hadn't been any different, so why was this going to be?

By then, you should know I had a little car cleaning business. I started a car cleaning business when I was 14, on a Saturday. By chance, someone asked me to clean a car, and I cleaned it rather well. I had never cleaned a car before, so I probably overdid it. And it helped to be in a mews where there were lots of other cars, you see, so anyway, he said, could I do it every week? And he paid me a guinea, which—I was only earning 12 shillings a week delivering the newspaper, so I took it. And then his wife wanted me too—so two I could manage, but three was a challenge, four was getting difficult. I ended up with about eight or nine cars, so I had to hire a couple—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Very entrepreneurial—

PETER GOULDS: —[laughs]—had to hire a couple of people. So there were three of us every Saturday who would tear into these cars. [Laughs.] So when my father said that, I said, "Well, I've actually saved a little bit of money, and I'm grateful to be able to stay at home." And so I had two years there. I worked in the London theater, because my real interest at that time, curiously, outside of just surviving, was the theater. Somehow, I don't know why, I got—my parents were cinema-goers. And so, early on, I was used to going to the cinema. But then, I don't even know to this day why I ended up going to a London theater, to a play. I took myself. I don't know why. It must have been something I read that caught my attention, and I went. And I loved it. The magic, the mystery, the fantasy of it all, and, you know, the lights and all of that. And so I pretty much went from the age of 13 to 16 to every first-run play in London with my pocket money from the theater—from delivering newspapers, subsequently from the car cleaning.

And so the other passion I developed was for modern jazz. Again, I hadn't heard a note of jazz, but I got interested reading—when I was waiting for my newspaper bag to be prepared, I got fascinated reading these stories in Jazz Monthly about the various players. And their lives seemed so unique and extraordinary, that I then had to listen to their music, hence buying this record player from my—my father encouraged me to do, pay him off each month a little bit. And so eventually I owned the 13 pound record player, two shillings a week or something.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And you went to Ronnie Scott's—

PETER GOULDS:  And I did, I became a member of the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, illegally, at the age of 14.

[They laugh.]

And it was on Compton Street then, not Frith Street, in the basement, and then it moved to Frith Street. Because—sadly, it was sold two years ago, finally. Yes, I had been a card-paying—card-carrying member of Ronnie's since the age of 14.

And anyway, that took me to the—to art school. And so, to supplement this income gap—because I couldn't carry on cleaning cars, I was too busy at college by now—I worked in the theater, in London. I worked at the Mermaid Theatre, I worked at Her Majesty's, I worked at the Haymarket, I worked at the Comedy. I actually became a card-carrying member of the National Association of Theatrical and Cine Employment, which I maintained until about 20 years ago. I don't even know if that exists anymore. And that kept me going through the first two years of what would be the equivalent today of foundation studies. You had to do two at that time, because I was too young to do one. You had to be 18 to go on to do your diploma in art and design, which was the undergraduate degree, the equivalent of B.A. today.

And then my second art school—so during that time, I ceased to be so interested in the theater once I got behind the stage, and ended up—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So you were doing technical, you were doing—

PETER GOULDS:  Scene changes. Moving scenery, moving props during the productions—and then, during holiday times, particularly at the Mermaid—the others were much more specialized union theaters—the Mermaid is a non-union theater. So I could paint scenery there, and I could build scenery in the summer. So the first year I had a lot of other kinds of experience. But then, when I got into the union, then those jobs weren't available anymore. But I learned enough from that to know that—that that time has changed, of course theater now is much more experimental, particularly in One National Theater and what have you, but it was a bit limiting. And I discovered other things, which of course is what art school does.

And so I got more interested in what we could loosely say today is communication design. Information designer was what I [became –PG]—and I never had the thought I'd be a painter or sculptor. It never entered my mind, although painting and sculpture was, of course, a part of the foundation study. As was art history, which suddenly became this huge rich tapestry of ideas. You know, and I came alive, really. When I was—when I went to art school I really, in a certain sense, feel as though I came alive for the first time, as much through the other students that I met as—in fact more so probably, then even the faculty, which was, as I have already said, substantial. But the other students probably, and the range and the scope of their experiences and their imagination, and what they had fancied they would do, and—to me it was just so limitless, and so full of possibilities that, even if it wasn't for me, it was just that I was in that environment with people like this, it was just extraordinary.

So I went to Coventry School of Art, because I needed to move out of London. I couldn't afford—my father wasn't going to help, he earned too much money by then to really—even my grant from the government was not going to be very high, because he's supposed to compensate for that. Which of course he didn't do, so I would get the minimum from the government, and I had to survive on that. So I had to move out of London, but I chose Coventry School of Art—again, I landed on my feet, because this was the high seat of Art-Language at the time. Terry Allen—Terry Atkinson—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Terry Atkinson, right.

PETER GOULDS:  —and Michael Baldwin, who had been a student, actually, just prior to me. I think he graduated a year before I arrived, so he was around. More of a part of the discourse than a teacher at that time. But then also Michael Sandle taught there, a terrific sculptor. And it was a very good faculty. The typography guide, Ted Harrison, was probably the reason Terry Atkinson became as sharp as he was, because the typographer could challenge him on virtually any subject that Terry tried to open up as a discourse, because Terry was all self-taught philosophy and self-taught linguistics.

And so to an extent Ted Harrison, the typographer, was the same, but he actually read the type he set, so he had developed quite a mind. And that is really—in the discourse in the typography room, is really where Art-Language has its roots. And as typography students, we were given the task—I mean, typography being one of many disciplines you learn if you're going into communication design—you also learn film and slide-tape and camera, and bah, bah, bah. But typography was an essential part of the instruction, and we hand set all those first issues of Art-Language press. They were all hand set, they were not offset, they were hand set, hard type. We set them, and had to proofread them. So, it was a fairly disciplined education, and I learned a lot.

So, in that three years at Coventry, the interest developed into audiovisual aids in fact, and I brought the theater into it. I made a number of audiovisual documentaries that were stage productions. For example, the Hollywood Star System was one. I did a two-hour theatrical documentary using audiovisual aids with a narrator and so on and so forth. And various characters and short films, and you had to get a ticket to attend, and you got a brochure program, and it was a theater experience. And although it was a documentary, it was information-orientated, it was still in an entertainment milieu. And that was one of the things I produced.

I did another one, which was on English utopian literature. It was called The English Utopia, in fact, which is a book written by A.L. Morton, who was then head of the research department for the Communist Party in London in England. And he wrote this rather exceptional book which gives a different, slightly different view of utopian literature then perhaps you would normally find in a curriculum. And what this does, is it traces the basic anticlerical poem, written by  unknown clerics in the 14th century, which is "The Land of Cokaygne." And it says, "Far away to the west of Spain / Is the land of Cokaygne / With its abundance of food, eternal sun / And the delights of idolists." So it's sort of—[inaudible]—idea of time and space and indulgence, and so on. And then he takes this basic anticlerical poem and he traces it through More, gives it political context. He traces it to Swift, and then to Bellamy looking backwards, all people trying to—and William Morris, and so on, and brings it up, of course, as you would expect, to the time of the First International and to Marx and Bakunin. And then to the anti-utopian literature of the 20th century, which he characterizes as being H. G. Wells. Whereby there are two or three hundred different utopias, therefore arguing he had no conviction for any one of them. So he's trying to show how basic dreams can become political realities. So I developed this argument, if you will, into a program learning project aimed at high school kids, giving them a different—slightly different slant on history, into six program learning exercises.

And I went on to Manchester School of Art, which has a strong affiliation to Manchester University, because I wanted access to close-circuit television. And the University was wired. So with this liaison between the two institutions, as a student in the art school, I could access the university's equipment. And I made two versions of the same TV program there. Taking this English utopian literature program learning exercise into the next step. And I aimed it at training students, 20-year-olds on average, with two totally different production dimensions to the same content. And then we evaluated what they retained. So it was an evaluation of close-circuit television production techniques. And that led to my getting a Leverhulme Award. I was the 1971 recipient of the Leverhulme Award. Peter Blake was, in fact, the first one, 1956. And all sorts of people in between.

And I got to travel with this to a conference in Vienna where I met Mitsuru Kataoka from UCLA's Dickson Art Center, and he was the originator of the then-video workshop they had.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And what's—Mitsuru, what was his last name?

PETER GOULDS:  Kataoka, spell it just as it sounds, ka-ta-yo-ka. And Mitsuru pinned my name onto a post board—you know, you're always supposed to look at notice boards when you go to conferences? Well, this is the only conference I ever went to, and so I looked on the notice board and I was shocked, there was my name. So I guess he had gone down the roster, saw my name, and linked it to this work I did for the Leverhulme Award, which was connected to his area of interest. So he met me in a hallway, which is what you do at conferences, so I wrote a note back to him, and then we met—[laughs]—and we had a meeting time, and we met for three minutes in the halls. And that was an important meeting because subsequently, I traveled. This Leverhulme was a rather generous award, it gave us this rather large sum of money for a young person at that time, and I got to travel for quite a bit. And I traveled to the learning centers in the U.S. where this type of work was taking place. NYU—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And you hadn't been to the U.S. before?

PETER GOULDS:  No, no. In fact Terry Atkinson arranged me to stay in the Bowery with Mel Ramsden and Ian Burn. And I stayed with them for three weeks, I went to all those extraordinary loft parties vicariously through them. To parties at Holly Solomon's loft—she didn't have a gallery then, she had a loft. And we went to, you know, incredible parties with Andy Warhol and Geldzahler and Jasper Johns, and all that tape recording that Warhol was doing rather than talking himself, and blah, blah, blah. I got to see all of that. Not realizing what it was that I was really seeing. I mean, you know, it was only later, looking back, "Well, I was there. I went to that."


PETER GOULDS:  [Laughs.] Peter Hutchinson was showing films for example, one night. You know, later it was discussed in some art journal, 20 years later, and I think, "Wait a minute, I was actually—I was there. It wasn't like that." [Laughs.] "It was more like this." But anyway, so—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And so that was, what—that was 1970?

PETER GOULDS:  '71. It was September the ninth when I got off the plane and came up out of the subway to the heat of the Bowery, I couldn't believe it, all the bums. And I stayed with them three weeks—very nice, they were very generous, very kind. Mel was an insomniac, that was the only problem. I had to share a room with him. So he'd end up watching films till three in the morning, and that was challenging. But then I went to Boston, I went to Montréal, I went to Québec, Ottawa, Michigan—in fact, Boulder, Colorado, curiously. And then up to Utah, San Francisco, and I ended up in LA when a letter caught up with me and invited me to teach at Leeds School of Art part-time. So I called them. They'd been—the letter had been chasing me for about three months, and it finally caught up, and I gave them a call, and I said, you know, "Is the job still available?" "Oh, yeah, we've been waiting for you to call. It starts in about three weeks." So I said, "Okay, I'll take it." And I went back to the School of Advanced Studies, which was part of Manchester School of Art, to do my postgraduate work, is what we call it. And I taught two days a week at Leeds. I had taught a half a day or something like that, at Bolton School of Art while I was a graduate student—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Bolton, that's where they have, what do you call it, Mass Observation.

PETER GOULDS:  Did they?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah, that was one of the centers of—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, really, I didn't know that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —it was Bolton.

PETER GOULDS:  It's got a very good football team now. It didn't have anything to its merit before. A rather hard working-class town. But Leeds was very distinguished, and very exciting place to be at that time. It was really considered probably the top school at that time in the whole country. So it was rather nice to do, and had I not taken those two days—that's the point of the story. Had I not taken that job while I was in LA, and went back to do it, when Mitsuru Kataoka, who was not in LA when I came in December to visit, when he later got in touch with me, which was in—January, February, March—he phoned out of the blue, I hadn't seen him since Vienna. I corresponded to say how much I enjoyed visiting his Dickson Art Center and so on and so forth, but that was all. He called to see if I'd had any teaching experience. And I said, "Well, I've been teaching two days a week." He said, "It's a bureaucratic thing." He said, "Would I consider applying for a job for a year at UCLA?" He's going to Japan for a year, and so technically I'd replace him for a year and run the workshop. So I said, "Well, I hadn't thought of that—well, why not?" And so I put a portfolio together, shot it off, didn't hear for two months—a month, then I—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And this is a portfolio of video work—

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah, this was—documents about video productions. This was also documenting the Leverhulme Award project. It wasn't designed to be for that, but it's what ultimately I received, so the program learning as well of that project, the outcome of that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But this is an incredible period, because it is following—what was the Portapak, was 1969, I think, the introduction of the Portapak—

PETER GOULDS:  '68, '69.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN: —and the idea that there was going to be really alternative communication—

PETER GOULDS:  It was only just being talked about.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —was really, you know, at the forefront of—

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah, again, at that time, you're absolutely right. There were only four—there were only four places in the whole of North America that had these kind of experimental workshops. NYU had one under George Stoney—documentary filmmaker who was wise enough to not resist video, and brought it into the film school. Most of them resisted it. Davis—UC Davis, why, I don't quite know. UCLA, and one other, and I can't remember if it was Toronto or—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And UC Davis is where Terry Atkinson—was he there? No.

PETER GOULDS:  No, Terry Allen.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Conrad Atkinson.

PETER GOULDS:  Conrad Atkinson, that's right.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Conrad Atkinson was at UC Davis.

PETER GOULDS:  You're right, you're absolutely right.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I was thinking—there was somebody there, I always thought it was odd he ended up at UC Davis for years, so it was Conrad Atkinson.

PETER GOULDS:  That's exactly right. And then it was either Toronto or Vancouver. My memory has it be Toronto. They were the only places where you could find—and what they had, and why they had it, was probably, although I never—I can't verify this, but it may be because companies like Sony, Panasonic, and Akai, all of these companies would give universities equipment just to try and see what they would do with it. Because there was no standardized tape width: quarter-inch, half-inch, three-quarters, one-inch, two-inches, all these bandwidths were legitimate at that time. There was no standardization, no one form had taken over. So therefore, at Dickson Art Center, you had all that equipment in this tiny space. Now it's—I'm thrilled to see, it's become the whole fourth floor of that new building. But it started in this tiny little microscopic way.

So the most you could do is really treat the camera like a drawing instrument. So what you do is assign these drawing projects, but the camera was the tool you were using for drawing. And then you come back and study the raw material and see what can be learned from that. It was interesting. It's very primitive, very basic, but it was really rather good, and wide open. And it would attract people across campus. Not just in the art department. Obviously filmmakers, but also scientists, all kinds of people would sign up to use the workshop. So your group was fascinating. Then they saddled me with a lecture course.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  This is when you arrived at UCLA?

PETER GOULDS:  Upon arrival. I signed up—what I thought I signed up for was the video workshop, which only met twice a week, and I always looked forward to, and then of course all hours under the sun. That was fun. A graphic design course, which was loosely communication design, a technical course that I was comfortable, relatively speaking, at 24 years of age, putting instructions together about both these things. But then they gave me this other course. And they said, "What everyone has to do is like an induction." I said, "What do you mean?" They said "It's called Art 30A."

[They laugh.]

I said, "Oh, well, what's that?" "It's a lecture course." "A lecture course, what do you mean? How often does it meet?" "It meets five days a week." Five days a week. You know, five lectures, 10 weeks, quarter system, 50 lectures, 50-minute lectures, 10-minute discussion. I said, "I'm not qualified to do that. What's the course description?" "Oh, the course description, introduction to art and design." "Introduction to art and design?" I said, "A, I'm not qualified. B, I've never given a lecture, I wouldn't know how to put one together." "Oh, just do it," they said. "Just do it. It's a sort of cross-campus offering we have to make, and we all do it once." So I said, "Listen, I've got these 25 books I brought with me on structuralism in 20th century art. They have to do with linguistics, and they have to do with films I want to make on 20th century artists and structuralism in 20th century art. I'm prepared to talk about my understanding of these 25 books." "Fine," they said.

[They laugh.]

So I did. And I had a T.A., who had never properly told me that he's supposed to take half the classes for me, of course, but anyway, that's okay.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And where is he now? [Laughs.]

PETER GOULDS:  I saw him the other day. And—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Is he an artist?

PETER GOULDS:  He's now a retired teacher, but he was about 10 years at least older than me. And I was lucky, he was a very kind man. Morris Zaslavsky is his name. He went on to become the head of the art department at [CSU] Northridge for quite a few years. Anyway, so on day one I had 19 students, but on day two that shrunk to 12. [Laughs.] But on day three, there were these other ones there, and I asked Morris, "Well, who are these?" Maybe five or six others. "Well, they're auditing." So I ended up having anywhere from, on a given day, 25 to 45 people in the room, 12 of whom were getting credits, the rest were auditing. And they came from art history, they came from—in fact, Serge Guilbaut and Tom Crow were two of my auditors, which I love to remind them. [Laughs.] I'm teasing. They were two of my auditors, because the discourse was fabulous. It was very challenging. I could barely keep up, you know. I spent endless hours in the slide room, I mean, I got to know the art historians before I knew anyone else. And so I did, I gave 50 lectures. And I have to tell you, it was challenging, it was engaging, I loved it. And, I loved it more than anything else I was doing. So I asked them, "Would you mind, I've done all this work, if I gave this course again?" Oh, they were thrilled. "If this idiot wants to do this, fine, let him do it." But I had about 80 sign up that time. They gave me a bigger room. And I ended up at Dickson after three years, and 360 signed up for it. It was a pretty popular course.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But it must have been so fresh to have this information. I mean, you were—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, I was using films, I was using—I was very freewheeling about it all. I would project films in the class, and we'd discuss it. And they made suggestions, "Well, why don't we see—" "Oh yeah, let's do that," and they would make suggestions, and I would go out and get other materials, and it was a fluid, constantly changing resource for me. And while UCLA's salaries were modest, to say the least, there was a tax treaty, which meant that for two of the three years, I didn't pay tax. And the research grants were extraordinary, they were so generous. They often exceeded my salary, like by far. Like by far. Now you couldn't go out and have a party with the money, you know. But you could buy equipment, you could have a secretary. I did. You could use the interlibrary exchange all over the world, I did. Books from Paris, from everywhere, you know. And I ended up teaching there three years, not one. And then I started the gallery in the summer of '75. So here we are, at the start of your interview. [Laughs.] Sorry about that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  No, it's an amazing story. And—

PETER GOULDS:  Too long, sorry.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  It's not too long, and the details are—the period, and also, introducing these ideas at that time. And I think both your description of being in New York on your first visit, and being here, that there was so much more cross-pollination and access that people weren't slotted into these—you know, you did just wander into parties. You saw somebody and they said, "There's this performance at this loft." You went to—

PETER GOULDS:  It was a different time.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —and it's a completely different time.

PETER GOULDS:  Yes, a curious time. I've often thought about this. I mean, the main voices of that time were Marshall McLuhan—I mean, there were many voices, but in the arena that was occupying my thoughts—Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, perhaps John Berger. And all of these people, in their different ways, were encouraging bridges between things. Connections were always what you looked for. That was the turn-on. And that was really my childhood. I was always making connections between things that were seemingly incongruous because, in a certain sense, that's how my father brought me up. I hadn't thought about it, actually, until this minute. But actually, that kind of intuitive looking to make bridges was really what he fostered in a curious way. And so I guess that's always what I've looked for. And that was the climate.

Art education was still being formed into an academic pursuit. That's what the Coldstream committee meetings were all about in 1968, remember. So in the middle of my education they were meeting at the Roundhouse to discuss the future of art education. I mean, it was in the air. And by the time I was teaching—which, obviously, one ran into the other, the people in front of me who were more or less my age, or four years, five years younger at the most, or older, they were looking not for what I had learned, or what I had been exposed to, rather. They were looking for vocational training. They were looking for skills to get a job. They really were. This didactic range of thought and discussion only operated at the graduate level or in the senior classes. Which is why that silly little 30A course was so heavily populated by those people, because that is what they had been briefed about, too. And it wasn't actually there in the system for them. And here was this goofball coming along, who probably didn't have any more knowledge than they had, but was prepared to put it out for discussion. And try and learn himself while they were learning in real time themselves. Do you see? That's how it was. It was different.

And I tried, after years—it was such a rich period for me, on a personal, selfish level. It was such a rich period at UCLA, I was so enthralled every day, that when I started the gallery, it seemed a perfect natural thing to do. It incorporated all the interests I had, in a way, and it was loosely educational. If I had any skill, it was as an information designer, and that's what we do here, basically. And it wasn't such a big leap to go from film education and information design aspirations to this. It was as though someone had hired me to start some harebrained project and I had to problem solve my way through it. It was a design project really. It was an information design project.

But I took a job to supplement my income, but also to see if—what other art schools were like. I took a job at CalArts for a—now, I can't remember now if it was for a whole year or for a term, to be perfectly honest. I'd have to go back and check my diary to figure that out. But it was in the complementary studies area. So they were attracted to this 30A phenomenon of mine. But it was a different bunch of kids. They didn't have that graduate edge, you see. They didn't have that senior—they had hardcore vocational people.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  In what year?

PETER GOULDS:  This was in—I can tell you exactly, this was in '76. And—at least the people that were attracted to whatever it was I was offering, that's what I had in front of me. I couldn't relate to them. They couldn't really relate to me. It was a different experience, and I only did it—that's why I can't remember if I did it a whole year, or I did it one term. But whatever it was, I got it over with quickly, and I realized I was a fish out of water here. This wasn't going to—and it didn't matter if it was supplementing income, I could find another way to supplement income. So I stopped.

I went back to teach once more at UCLA in a workshop environment to see if I missed it. And that was in about '78, about '78. I did one term and I didn't enjoy it as much. My head was then way caught up with what I was doing here. And it became an intrusion on my time, and it wasn't fair for anyone. So I—I did it one term and that's the last time I taught. Or put myself in a teaching environment. I don't really ever consider I taught anything.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Put yourself in a teaching—

[They laugh.]

So, I was thinking that there's a great story about Iowa, that Hans Breder wanted to develop an intermedia program, you know, in the early '70s. And so, he proposed it and was surprised that it received support from older faculty and administration. And it went through, and they were going to be doing, you know, these crossover disciplines and having film and video. And he asked somebody, and they said, "Oh, we thought it was a really good plan because we have foundation and we have advanced classes. We don't have anything intermediate." And they thought that he was just talking about intermediate—


[They laugh.]

He had a very different idea. Now, how interesting—that's very interesting. Yeah, maybe that's why I got hired at UCLA. They thought I'd be some intermediate guy.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So they hadn't quite followed what was going to happen. So, when you started the gallery, well, two things: one is that, in one of the articles it mentions that you were working with a Duchamp project, or you were, and I was wondering timing-wise, was it at the time that Richard Hamilton was reconstructing? Was he at Newcastle, The Large Glass?

PETER GOULDS:  The Large Glass? Newcastle? Richard Hamilton—Richard Hamilton was at Newcastle School of Art while I was still a student, and I certainly was inspired by his typographic interpretations of the Green Box, of course. But no more so than I was also impressed by Stefan Themerson and Gaberbocchus Books, who were publishing independent, hand-set type in London. And they were the parents, unrelated, but coincidentally, to Jasia Reichardt, who was the head of the ICA at the time. And they were Czechoslovakian exiles, I think, who lived in London. And they published fantastically independent books. Poetry mostly, literature like Sweeney Todd, and they did one which was very impressive to me, which was [Kurt] Schwitters' life on a timeline. So they looked at the life—now a very common technique, but at the time not so common—in relation to what else was going on at the time. What were the cultural forces, literary forces, political forces at the same time as this was happening and that was happening? Now a fairly old-hat idea, but at the time it wasn't. And they did it in this marvelous typographic fashion. They juxtaposed and used different weights of type. And it was this visual poem, rather like Mallarmé's "Un Coup de Dés," or something like that.

And of course, once you get into that area of typography and interpretive work, if you will, you naturally get interested in philology and other uses of language, because it's all part of the same phenomenon, really. And once you do that—and even if your French isn't very good, you find yourself inevitably with French Symbolist literature, because that's really the source of it all—Mercure de France, the publication, and all of those things. And the theater of the time, and the theater of the absurd, and Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry, and Raymond Roussel. And so it all becomes logically about the formation of one aspect of the 20th century from a visual arts standpoint. And that side of the brain leads us to, of course, Duchamp, and Picabia, and the other side perhaps leads us to Picasso, depending which hemisphere you prefer. And that's really where the Duchamp thing came from, it came from all that.

And it wasn't per se that I was so obsessed with him, although I did—I mean, once you get into that hermetic world of literary ideas, then it's a fascinating one. And of course, with the interests I had vicariously in theater, and then all this—it was a potpourri education that I put together for myself. And it led to the notion—at that time, rather novel I will say, of structuralism in 20th century art. It was in the air. It was really not being discussed much, but it was becoming more a part of theater discourse, it was becoming—and even in movement, you know, we had Merce Cunningham and Yvonne Rainer dealing with these things. And then you could start extending that into Jean Luc Godard, Pierrot le Fou, and Fritz Lang, and, you know, you can go on and on, and pretty soon it's Hegel versus Kant and you know, it's endless stuff. And Courbet and Corot, and Realism. And so it becomes art and life, and the life becomes as much of the art as the art itself. And so that Duchamp's life is as interesting as what he makes. And so, these larger-than-life characters, that reminds me a little bit of the jazz musicians, you know, I was obsessed with in their lifestyles as much is interested in their music. In fact, maybe more so than their music.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Who were you obsessed with?

PETER GOULDS:  Well, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis, all those characters were in my—Ornette Coleman, and—it's endless, all those people. But when you get into their lives and how they lived. When you go to Paris and you're on the same streets as they were on, the same hotel still exists, and you stand outside. And so the interest in Duchamp was as much as it was in these other areas too. But because I was in a quasi-academic environment, I used the classroom as an outlet for all of this. Never made films. I did, but earlier, but I never made films once I hit UCLA. I don't think I used the camera again, except for experiments. I did all sorts of little experiments with pursuing my wife endlessly over these Santa Monica mountains with a handheld camera. I have hours of tape of her. Funny enough, now, we live in Topanga Canyon, so that got into our being. I have endless hours of her in front of louvered windows in our apartment because every single window is a louvered window, you see.

So when it came time to start the gallery—and you imagine this strange fellow hired me to start a gallery. Then I had to have a pseudonym for it, because my ego was such I couldn't put my name on something that might fail. I had to have a pseudonym. So we were pondering this problem, my wife and I. She said, "Why don't you call it That Wretched L.A. Louver?" It was one of the many objects I had made that were littering the house that were props for these potential films. And this was a miniature Los Angeles window the same size as Duchamp's Fresh Widow. But, unlike Duchamp's window, which was made, as you know, of panes of leather, the action of cleaning was one of polishing, you made it shine. My window was mirrored, so when you had it closed you saw your reflection. But when you ratchet the coffee grinder to open the window, then you journey through the artistic looking glass, you see.

Which is more or less the first sentence of André Breton's analysis of Duchamp's Green Box. He invites us in 1931. The article is called "The Lighthouse of the Bride," and he invites us on a journey. He says Duchamp invites us on a journey through the artistic looking glass. So, the baseboard of my window, however, reads not "Rrose Sélavy, 1920," Duchamp's first use of his female pseudonym. But mine reads, "La," feminine gender, "Louver," L-O-U-V-E-R, which is how the Americans spell this louvered window. Then it reads, "Eros, it is the mirror." The center of creativity being Eros, the Rose, being Rose, a common name [at the time –PG]. So it's not life, it's the mirror.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And so your wife, Liz—

PETER GOULDS:  The gallery became that.



SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Her suggestion was That Wretched

[They laugh.]

That Wretched L.A. Louver? [Laughs.]

PETER GOULDS:  And now we're stuck with it, 32 years later.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So did you meet her in art school, is that—

PETER GOULDS:  We met in 1965 at Walthamstow School of Art.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And she was in the design program? Was she—

PETER GOULDS:  She was 16 and I was 17, and she was very clear she was going to be a textile designer. Which is what she became. Printed textile designer. A very good one, very—freelance. We were in a circle of friends, we weren't boyfriend, girlfriend at that time, we were just in a whole circle going around all joined at the hip. And a couple of years later we became an item, and we've been that ever since. And—so she joined me when I came out to teach. I came out on August the 28th, '72, to take up the teaching post. And Liz joined me, I think, at Thanksgiving, so in November. It was only to be for a year, you see, so she came.

And my secretary was a woman called Edith Bach at UCLA. And her husband was the vice president of a textile company, coincidentally. So when Liz, my then-girlfriend, was coming out, my secretary naturally asked, "What does Liz do?" "Well, she's a textile designer." "She should meet my husband's boss." So she did. And that boss was a man called Werner Scharff, who became her first freelance printed textile client. And he had a company called Lanz of Salzburg.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, L-A-N-Z. It's now where all the galleries are on Wilshire.

PETER GOULDS:  That's right. And they used to produce, among other things, women's nightwear. So Liz did all those designs for the images of those nightwear garments.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  With the—I know them well.

PETER GOULDS:  [Laughs.] You probably had one or two. So that was one of her clients, and then she went on to develop four or five, at least, others—Cole swimwear, and men's shirts, and sheets, and she was doing very well. In fact, in truth, when I resolved not to continue teaching, I proposed to Liz. That was three years then that she had been freelancing—nearly three years, two and a half, and they don't earn a great deal of money, freelance textile designers, it's a terribly exploited realm of work. Unless you produce the goods, unless you manufacture the goods, you don't have any real control over the financial life, anyway. So I—and I saw the frustration this was causing, and I actually suggested to her, I said, "Listen, I'm not going to begin"—we were now married, January at '75, I said, "I'm not going to continue teaching, and I'm pondering what the next step should be. And I'm willing," I said, "for us just to take the little bit of money we had saved," which we saved together, $15,000, we saved. I said, "The only way we can start out is if we start a business, so why don't we start a textile manufacturing business?" So L.A. Louver Gallery could have been L.A. Louver Textiles.


PETER GOULDS:  [Laughs.] And she turned it down. She didn't want to do that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  She didn't want to go into the manufacturing—

PETER GOULDS:  She didn't want to go into manufacturing. She said no, that really wasn't—she saw the headache, the type of people, and the frustrations that go along with that. And she didn't want that. So I said, "Fine, well then, I'll start something else," and I started the gallery.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And did you start the gallery, you—at this location?

PETER GOULDS:  Yes. On this street. Next door.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Because you always—that's what I thought, is that it started here.

PETER GOULDS:  My first lease was signed with Werner Scharff, who owned property as well next door, at 55 North Venice Boulevard, in September of '75. Then I opened—I remodeled it a little bit, as much as I could afford, and I opened to the public in January of '76.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And what was Venice like then?

PETER GOULDS:  Well, as a neighborhood—first of all, we lived in—we moved into Venice in '73, so we liked it. It was very comfortable for us. It was rather dangerous, gang-ridden. Which, by the way, it still is, but not as extensive as it was then. In a way it was less dangerous, to some extent, at that moment, because the gangs would fight among themselves. There were enough of them to keep themselves pretty busy. So, if you got injured, or caught up in it, generally it was the by-product of being around a war going on between the Mexican group and the black group. But it was an area also full, not just of gangs, but a bohemian side of LA life. It had writers and musicians and there was literally no one on the beach still, in '75. Even in the height of the summer, because it was known to be polluted from oil rigs from the marina, still—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Like, when you see films like Cisco Pike or, when you see the oil rigs, or you see, even the skateboarding film, the Dogtown and Z-Boys film, or if you see photographs of Billy Al Bengston and the people who served when the—


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —Ken Price—when it was collapsed. You know, the collapsed pier, right?

PETER GOULDS:  So it was an area that—you know, it changed very quickly, like in an 18-month period, it went from deserted, to suddenly there was a huge number of people down here. Principally, through rollerblading.


PETER GOULDS:  I mean, it sounds strange, I know. But rollerblading got going, and they came down here, and they started rollerblading and bicycling, and that's really what, you know—it was around '76 it changed. But directly opposite, which became the West Beach Cafe—it was originally called the Venture Inn, and you certainly never ventured in, because it was a Hells Angels biker bar. And what went on in there was nobody's business. Mostly gang-banging their girlfriends, from what I deduce. Pretty frightening place. All black inside. I did go in once to help a carpenter out, who ended up in the dumpster at the back of the building instead. But, yeah, that would be the—you'd come to work, if you were working at the weekend installing a show—the entire street would be full of Harley-Davidsons. From top to bottom, side by side. I'm not exaggerating, two dozen bicycles piled up. We had a huge—I think our fourth exhibition. Jake Zeitlin of Zeitlin & Ver Brugge bookshop. I particularly wanted him to see the show because it was of Kate Steinitz, who was a great scholar of Leonardo. And she had run the Elmer Belt Library of da Vinci study at UCLA, and I had met her while I was there.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Well, the Elmer Belt, that collection is—isn't it one of the—the Leonardo collection from the Elmer Belt—it's enormous, isn't it?

PETER GOULDS:  It's one of the great collections of all time. And he was an anatomist, Elmer Belt, and she came out in 1939, '40—'40, I think, from New York, where one daughter was living. She was responsible for the world refugee exhibit in Brooklyn [New Americans, New York World's Fair, 1940]. She brought it there. Then she came out to visit another daughter because she had a gall bladder problem, tremendous pain. And she came to see an anatomist, who was Elmer Belt. And while she was waiting in his, what we would call in England his surgery, but in the waiting room, she—that's where he had his library. And he had set about—as a young student of anatomy, he found a bibliography by an Italian scholar called Verga. Prepared or compiled in the 19th century. And he set—and there were already over 3,000 titles then. And he was setting about to collect the first editions of every one of them. So he was on his way in that waiting room.

And he kept her waiting, as the story goes, or legend goes, and so she got engrossed in the library. And by the time he came out—he was with Jake Zeitlin, who at that time, was selling out of his suitcase. So he was in with the doctor with his suitcase, and he lost track of time, and blah blah blah, and his patient was waiting. Well, they never did—she said, "They never did treat me that day," they got talking about art instead, and then she came back for another appointment. She then wrote him a letter and she said, "I'm offering to be your runner on the east coast for books." And he took her up, and through Jake Zeitlin, she was the runner. For two—a couple of years. Then she wrote him a letter and she says, "You can't leave this library languishing in your waiting room, you know? It needs a curator. I'm offering to be your curator." And so, he said fine, and brings her out to the West Coast, and she becomes his librarian.

Then after a couple years, she says to him, "You can't possibly have this library in the waiting room. It's got to be in the University, at UCLA." And he says, "Okay." So she arranges for it to go to UCLA, and she's the librarian. Now at UCLA, she says, "You can't have a library of da Vinci study and not have someone teaching da Vinci," you know? "My runner in Italy is Carlo Pedretti," that was her runner. And so she—I can't—he didn't even have a degree. So he comes here to teach at UCLA without a degree. So, he needs a degree, because he can't get his tenure. He got his PhD at Northridge, I don't know if everyone knows that. Cal State Northridge is where Carlo Pedretti, the number two scholar in the world, second only to Kenneth Clark, does his degree. And the number three scholar in the world is Kate Steinitz. Well, our fourth exhibition was a memorial to Kate, here at the gallery. We did the following: we did a show with Lili Lakich. You know, militant lesbian doing neon sculpture—was our first show. No one would show her because of her extreme positions.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Was she also—did she start the Neon—what was it called—

PETER GOULDS:  The Museum of Neon Art.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —the Neon Museum—Museum of Neon Art?

PETER GOULDS:  She was the founding person. But she had a huge collection of neon as well as her own art, which was considerable at that time. Then we did a show with Don Suggs and Vida Hackman, who was a printmaker, Vida, and Don was just—I don't think that he'd been teaching yet at UCLA, but he was a UCLA graduate. Then we did a video exhibition, naturally, because that was my world. John Sturgeon was a part of that show, we had four artists. And my fourth exhibition, to show we had historical interests, was Kate Steinitz. That's how I developed credibility, with these four shows. This meant the art world then would at least listen to me and we could begin to work towards representing artists, and so on and so forth.

So Kate was the fourth show, and naturally, I wanted Jake to see the show. I mean, you know—but Jake was a busy man, you know, he worked every day except Sunday. So I said, "I'll open up for you on Sunday." So he came down with a chauffeur-driven car to Venice. And it was about this time of the year, in fact, April, if I'm not mistaken, beautiful day like this, three in the afternoon and I am thrilled walking Jake Zeitlin through this exhibition. And all hell breaks loose on the street. Actually, I closed the door to try and, you know, protect him from the noise. Helicopters, police sirens, chaos on the street. Shouting, incredible sounds on the street, such that curious Jake would not stay in the gallery. He proceeded to go outside. Well, outside were these men pummeling each other with billiard cues right there in the middle of the street. Like you've never seen in your life. He—you could not imagine that human beings could survive such brutality. And the cops blocked the end of the street, and they blocked this end of the street, and they just let them fight it out. They weren't going to go in there—


PETER GOULDS:  —they weren't going to go in there and mix it up with these men. And when there wasn't anyone standing, they went in and cleaned it up. Ambulances came, and this was Jake Zeitlin. And after that he got into the car, he said, "This is a very colorful neighborhood you've moved into."

[They laugh.]

And the chauffeured car drove off.

Well, I called the landlord, my landlord, and I said, "If you don't buy that property across the road this week and shut it down, I'm vacating the neighborhood, because I can't build my business here." And true enough, he'd had enough, too. By the end of the week, he owned the building. And within a month, the Hells Angels were shut down. And he turned it into the Casablanca Restaurant, first of all. With the marvelous Claude Senouf running it, from Morocco, who squandered a quarter-million dollars of his father's money on Dom Pérignon for anyone who came in. And then it became the West Beach Cafe, where Bruce Marder was the busboy down at the local diner on the street. And Werner gave him a chance. And he went from busboy to owning the West Beach Cafe. And—[laughs]—the rest is history.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I think the contrast between—and what did you have in your Kate Steinitz show? I'm trying to visualize the curator of the gallery with what was going on in the street.

PETER GOULDS:  All these Dada manuscripts, and Schwitters, and you can imagine what was in those showcases. And out on the street was this mayhem, you know. Yeah, it was a colorful time. But the whole thing was colorful. I mean my business plan called for no sales for two years. How do you survive? I mean, business plan, such as I understood business.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I was interested—in one of the articles you mentioned that you put together inventory, that you bought all these Hockney prints—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, what happened was I—you're quite right, the business plan called for no sales, so—I think that first year we grossed $29,000. And I was quite startled. And—the second year we grossed over eighty thousand, and the third year we grossed over a quarter-million dollars. And I didn't take any income at all, so we decided—and we got our green card, which is why we started the business, remember, it was an experiment? I started this business and it's something I never would have dreamt of doing in England. I was far too militant to start something to—which, on the surface, was to service the bourgeoisie. I wasn't about to do that in the U.K. But here, it was different. In America, with its different attitude to freedoms, and to spirited adventure, and experimentation, somehow the largesse of all this was different. It had a different connotation and it was much more intellectually orientated. And—so I could excuse myself this business experiment, and still hold my head up.

And so we got our green card, we were starting to employ people, and so we set about to not take salary, but buy inventory. And so—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Were you living nearby? At that time you were living in—you were living in Venice?

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, yes, we lived in Venice from 1973. And so this would be in '77, '78. And I didn't take my first paycheck from the business until 1981. I just kept putting money back into the business, and buying things and building up inventory.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And do you think that's unusual, that you were building inventory from living artists?

PETER GOULDS:  No, in point of fact—I think in all truth, if one had resources, it's the ideal way to proceed. Very few dealers in the past didn't do that. The expectations, of course, that accompanied the responsibilities of being an art dealer in the past were different, too. The postwar years in America changed the concept of art dealing. And the expectations on the part of artists in relation to their dealers was naturally refashioned. It became more linked to, in a certain sense, a Madison Avenue style of promotion and technique. Less to do with discourse, even when I started in '75, which was still the last vestige of that civil point of discourse. It's all changed now. It's a different world now.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  It's really changed.

PETER GOULDS:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.] I wouldn't enter it today. No.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  When you did enter it, it seemed to be an extension of what you were doing—

PETER GOULDS:  Precisely. Very much so. It never seemed unnatural, in any way, shape, or form. And the way I practice it today does not feel unnatural—I mean, it still feels—if I went and made a film tomorrow, it would not be unnatural, it would be expected of—I would expect it of myself. There are things, really—although we've moved forward, and we've had all sorts of business experiences, and we've made decisions of a different kind, I'm still pursuing, in a way, the idealism of how I started. I haven't left that. But if I was starting today, looking at the art world today, I could not enter and do what I've done today, now, the way I did then. And the way I'm able to defend my position today and am supported is because over these 32 years, I found like minds. And because our ambitions do not, I believe—[knocks]—touch wood—they do not exceed what I think is real. In other words, we're not pursuing the holy buck in this establishment. We want to survive, yes, we're not sacrificial lambs, no. And we want, you know, our artists to succeed if we succeed, therefore it's a mutual package.

But today I could not enter the business and orchestrate the matrix that I have and survive. No. I survive from the accrued feature of time. My expectations financially have mirrored that time. And my web is now international. I'm still here. I haven't gone further than one building over.


PETER GOULDS:  I've traveled 60 feet in 32 years. But, my reach now, you know, is international. And so you find like minds. I might—I have a letter in front of me today from a marvelous man in Sydney, you know, who's written me, you know—we have this email exchange, it goes on pretty much once a month. That's his reply to my letter that precedes, and they're all lengthy letters, you know. And we go on talking to each other, and half the letters he's talking about recycling daddy longlegs and spiders that have tumbled down before him in this exotic place he has a second home. And so finding—you know, so he is a rich, important—I don't mean financially rich—intellectually rich, important part of my life. And I have this matrix around the world like this, like we all do in time. And so I can continue in the face of otherwise. When I look at my profession at large it is now otherwise, and I can carry on surviving because of people like Geoff and others like him who give me the encouragement to continue. Starting cold today, I couldn't do this.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  As you tell your story, and as it unfolds as a narrative in a way that we don't really look at our own stories, I don't think we, you know—that things surface and you realize, "Oh, I'm pursuing my theme," you know, that there are these—there's—to look at it in that way, describing going to the natural history museums, and the business of looking, and being curious, and finding the overlaps and intersections, and then—there's something in the British education system that kind of, you know, isn't really something to be addressed in this interview, but was—is the kind of unnerving thought that at 13, your course is going to be set. And what—how disastrous that can really be, because what do you actually know? You don't know anything at 13. I mean, you might have the tiniest inkling of a something. And so, you also introduce this idea of the fortunate happenstance of the teacher, and the way these things—the way these things spark, and the level of curiosity that propelled you, and also the good timing of the educational system at that time addressing a kind of expanded idea of how information can be presented and exchanged. And the vibrancy of that period where there was really a kind of focused hope that this was going to be a way of bringing in a lot of different things.

And I loved it when you are talking about lecturing at UCLA, because now people are very blasé at interlibrary loan and pulling all of these things. But at that time, it was—you really had to have the institution to have these things. And, you know, your good fortune of being there that—I loved that you were, kind of, reading a half an hour ahead of the people you were talking to. I mean, maybe you weren't, but that was my understanding of it. Which also, again, fuels the kind of vitality and curiosity of a particular period. And what an arts education can do. I mean, this is a whole other topic, but even the—when you mentioned working in the theater, how an arts education is this great preparation for life, because you have to solve problems, you have to work collaboratively, you have to look for creative solutions, you have to—and, you know, I could sort of get on the soapbox about that, but those are the things that really teach you how to work in ways that these kind of narrow, agenda-driven, you know, not to—you know, education that you learn how to do one thing.

PETER GOULDS:  Well, we're lucky, insofar as the history of art is still a, relatively speaking, young subject of study. You know, its history is less than 150 years. So—even much less. So terms even are still—you know, Heinrich—we still use terms from the nineteen—we're using Heinrich Wölfflin terms to discuss formalism. You know, there haven't been new terms.


PETER GOULDS:  And so, even on the most quasi-scientific side—inverted commas—of the visual arts education that you're reflecting upon, is open-ended, if you choose to have it be so. And of course, the way art history was trying to be taught then, through [Otto Karl] Werckmeister and through Marxist structure, was to bring structure, in fact, into the study. Which was sort of almost slightly antithetical to its nature, which suggests the devolution of structure, or dismantling, anyway, of it. To find out—if things are no more linked by this causality or that, then you're free to invent your own reality of what's right and wrong, or what's mixed and matched.

So—which is the basis, of course, of a lot of what was happening at the turn of the century, when non-Euclidean geometry says that parallels do eventually coincide, or collide. So, if that universal reality, which for 3000 years had held universal truth together to be one way is suddenly dismantled, why—pretty much everything must have been up for grabs. And I think art education has its roots in that spirit of uncertainty, of—and, you're right, your analysis, your synopsis was very clear. And hearing myself respond to you and ramble on, I'm making connections I hadn't thought of.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But it doesn't present itself, because we don't, kind of, look in that kind of—

PETER GOULDS:  No, no we don't do that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —overview. I think what I'm going to do—


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —is, I'll stop this, and then I thought—

[END OF TRACK AAA_goulds08_4130.]

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —thing that they have here. So we had, oh—I guess I have to say this: This is Susan Morgan interviewing Peter Goulds at the L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice, California on July 28th. It's July 28th, this is disc number two. I think we had gotten—you're in Venice—you had—the gallery was up and running. You had, I thought, negotiated amazingly with the landlord that he had to buy—after the kind of biker riot in the street—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh—[laughs]—we got into all of that, too. Gosh, yes.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But, that was such an amazing story, and I think for me, also—

PETER GOULDS:  And we got that far. Is that as far as we got?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah. And, well also the change. I mean, you had said that the really, kind of, I guess you'd call the demographic change in Venice occurred when roller-skating. And I thought, why hasn't there been an urban study that lets people know that, because that was really interesting to me. So—

PETER GOULDS:  So what have we got—how far did we go about the history of the gallery as such?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  At the beginning, we had the history of the gallery—

PETER GOULDS:  The sociology of the name of it seems to be what I addressed, rather.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Well, we talked about how, you know, you had given Liz the option of starting her own textile—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, right, god, I went and told you that, too. Jesus—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —company and she said, no, a gallery. And you explained the louver name which—

PETER GOULDS:  We got into that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —which I think is interesting to people, and I think that they also like the play of thinking that it's the Louvre—

PETER GOULDS:  If we got into that, then—therefore, did I get into French Symbolist literature, and structuralism and 20th century art, and all of that? And the idea of making artist profiles—but I didn't do that, I made a gallery.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah. And so we had gotten—because it's been a while since we talked—

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah, I know.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —and it was also really covering a lot of territory that was all really interesting in the way that, I think, in your telling it how things unfolded, and you kind of came to realize, "Oh, that's what prompted the next thing," which when you're not framing it as a narrative, they are isolated incidents and you don't really feel how one thing leads—exactly one thing leads to another. Not that—not that we're being that exacting, but—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, that's the point of an oral history.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  The Rashomon effect of oral history.

PETER GOULDS:  The Rashomon effect.

[They laugh.]

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Because then I can interview Liz, and she'll tell a different story entirely. "That's not what happened."

PETER GOULDS:  "Oh, no. What's he talking about?"

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So what I was—and I think that the shows that you started with, and you had said that you have moved how many—it wasn't very many. I think it was measured in feet or yards, how much you've moved on North Venice Boulevard over a long period of time. And so I think, maybe a good starting place is when you—I think, to me this is an unusual situation because it's a custom-built gallery to the specifications of your interests and needs, and the needs and interests of your artists, and that's—


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I think it's very unusual.

PETER GOULDS:  Well, there are a few steps between here and there. How far did we go in the technology of shows and things like that, not that we were being literal about that, but just conceptually? Had I talked a little bit about the first exhibitions? Did I talk a little bit about Lili Lakich? I talked a little bit about the—[inaudible]—shows—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  About Schwitters, doing the—

PETER GOULDS:  Kate Steinitz—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN: —Kate—we got to Kate Steinitz, yeah.

PETER GOULDS:  —talked about that. And we talked about the video, the show I did, and so on and so forth.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  What was the video show, I don't think we got to—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, the hardest part of starting the gallery for me—it wasn't that it was so hard, because I didn't really think it would—I didn't really think the gallery would have much of a long life. So—but I was surprised at the beginning, but I shouldn't have been, about how difficult it was to get certain—to get artists that I was interested in to work with me. I don't think we really talked about that at all.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You didn't. You talked about buying Hockney prints.

PETER GOULDS:  So I got into all of that. Gosh. I don't quite know what we got into and what I didn't.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But the video, we didn't talk about.

PETER GOULDS:  I had to pull on the strengths I had, and the strengths I had, without going all over it again, were that we were willing to take chances, and that we were comfortable in artists'—I was comfortable in visiting artists' studios. Lili Lakich was an artist who was getting a fair amount of attention within the community but not really getting shows, because people, I think, were afraid of the material she was using. And also her—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And what were the materials that she was—

PETER GOULDS:  She uses neon.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Neon. And she—we did—and she eventually did the Neon Museum.

PETER GOULDS:  Neon Museum. And I came from a video background, therefore putting a video show together was a strength. I'm sure I must have—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  We did, yeah. And we talked about the teaching—you know, that period where—because we did talk about video and the introduction of the Portapak and how that really—

PETER GOULDS:  So we must have talked about all that, surely.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —formed the kind of freedom and access that people had to making that kind of work. And also the ambitions of what television could be, of thinking that it was going to be a teaching tool, and art material, a really—that it just wasn't the television set in your living room anymore. It was this way of accessing information. Being introduced to—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, then, if I got as far as talking about the Hockney and my involvement with David Hockney and the prints, and buying the prints and making that show, we got quite a way into the programming. Now at that point in time, we were still working out of the space on Venice Boulevard. But it became clear to me when we did a show called This Knot of Life. Did I talk a little bit about that? About British figurative painting? No?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  We talked a little bit about British figurative painting. And so, who are you working with then? It was—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, this is difficult to do now. We have to—should have played the tape of it, found out where we were.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  That's okay. I think we did get to that, in that we were—also it set the tone that your interests were wide-ranging and that you weren't—you didn't have simply a video agenda or a representative, figurative painting, you know, that you were involved in a lot of different types of art-making.


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You're making a face, though. So, that's not a fair—

PETER GOULDS:  No, no, that's fine. It's just that I'm trying to pick up where we left off, and it's a bit awkward to work that out.

Okay, well let's start at this point. If I had a long-range ambition or hope for the gallery's life, it was that I might be able to create an environment where artists working locally could be seen in an international context. I have to say that I had a larger ambition beyond the experience of starting a business and learning on the job. That would have been what I thought perhaps I could bring to the table that wasn't here already. In other words, with Nick Wilder, LA had the opportunity for a broader-based American art experience building on from the narrow-focused one that Irving Blum took Ferus to become. Ferus started as a local artist collective, in effect. It came through Irving's involvement with a more commercial place, with connections to Pop art, and a narrow gallery vision, Leo Castelli's effectively. But Nick was to diversify that spectrum, and brought other East Coast and other areas of interest disconnected to that '50s history. And there's no doubt that Nick's contribution was the more creative of the two.

The artists' collective part of the Ferus was a very great one. And the development of it into a commercial enterprise, if Irving hadn't done it, someone else would have done it. So I don't really see that as much of a contribution, whereas—although bless his heart, he created more commerce here, and so that ultimately helps us all. But Nick carried on with commerce, but he brought a different kind of curiosity and intellectual rigor. He was academically trained, he was articulate in this way, but he only really had his gallery for about 15 years. So, his impact was brief but profound.

So, I'm starting, as I've subsequently learned, at the tail end of a recession. I didn't actually know what the word recession meant. But, I was told that's what I was doing. But what I've learned in the fullness of time, is if you're starting something new, it's better to start it in a recession, because expectations are at their lowest. So, anything new brought to the table in a recession is going to be more than is otherwise there, and therefore you can build on that. And my thought was if I can make a go of this, bringing out from an international perspective here, could be a contribution of sorts.

And we got our green cards in '77, in the summer of '77, and we made our first trips, and we got connected to—we actually went to Basel Art Fair, I think, in all honesty, other than as a participant for the last six years—in other words, since 2002, we've been in six successive Basel Art Fairs—in all honesty, and don't tell the exhibitions committee this at Basel, but I don't think I ever went to Basel Art Fair other than in 1977.

[They laugh.]

I went to this one in 1977 and then—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And then 30 years later you decided to go again. [Laughs.]

PETER GOULDS: —that we should be a participant. But anyway, obviously I didn't have a very good impression of art fairs, but I saw that it was a way, without a doubt, to meet colleagues, and create collegiate relationships. It's more like the convention side of art fairs are quite useful. And at that art fair, I met a number of people, and I met Petersburg Press and the man who ran it was Paul Cornwall-Jones, and we established a liaison. From that I did the exhibition of Jasper Johns, a collaboration with Samuel Beckett with Foirades/Fizzles, which I think we talked a bit about. And candidly, from there, also, was able to make my foray into that print project with David Hockney, because obviously the print world opened up and I had access not only to Paul Cornwall-Jones, but to other publishers, and to collectors of that subject with Hockney, and so on. But when I actually got to meet David, which was as you know from the last report, happenstance. That is, he came to town at a time when I was planning to do a show, so we came together. And in the follow-up to that, in January of '79, I went to see them after Christmas. The show was obviously over by then, the print show. And I propositioned him to become involved, if I didn't already talk about this before, I apologize if I did, but I got involved in a project I had been harboring called This Knot, K-N-O-T, of Life. And this show was stimulated by a show called The Human Clay which was put together by R. B. Kitaj, Ron Kitaj, at the Hayward [Gallery, London U.K. ]. I think that was in '77 and I happened to see it on that trip, when we were liberated and able to travel again. We did things like go to Basel Art Fair, we also went to the Hayward, and we saw the show.

About 70 artists in a salon exhibition celebrating figurative art was alive and well in London. And then Kitaj went on to argue in his thesis, that this was indeed a School of London. And that's where the term "School of London" was first employed, and it was—[inaudible]. I thought a more focused exhibition would be what was needed and could be beneficial, and would even make a stronger point. That was my subject, This Knot of Life, and I went to David and said that I had this idea stimulated by Kitaj and the title being This Knot of Life. It would focus on ten British figurative painters. Did I mention this before?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I think what happened, I think we—because this was the end of our—

PETER GOULDS:  This was the cutting-off point.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —off point.

PETER GOULDS:  You ran out of time then.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And I think that we had—

PETER GOULDS:  Just started this, maybe?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —just started this, and we had really focused on your background and now are moving out more into the gallery. And you really became—and the title This Knot of Life comes from—

PETER GOULDS:  Actually, the title comes from my own invention, but it was stimulated by—the exhibition called The Human Clay. And Kitaj very sweetly—well, let's start with David. So I went to see David and I said, "I have this idea of ten British figurative artists," and I listed them, and he said, "That would be a marvelous show." I said, "I'd have to do it in two parts because the gallery is too small to do it in one part, we could do it in sequence." He said, "You'll never pull it off." And I said, "Why?" He said, "Because the politics of that show are too great." He knew all the people, of course, I didn't. And I said, "But you're considering this exhibition from the standpoint of London. I'm showing it in Los Angeles. I don't think we'll encounter politics by bringing the art out of England." So he said, "Okay." Well, anyway, I said, "It's paintings. I'll need to have three paintings." He agreed to help. "Could you introduce me to Kitaj?" He did—luckily Kitaj was in New York in February of that year for some reason or other. So I went, met him, he supported it. He gave me five pastels, actually, because he wasn't painting at that time. He was doing these elaborate pastel drawings. Anyway, the long and short of the story was I then went on to London for three weeks, and I put the show together. It was done in the autumn of '79. Kitaj adapted his Human Clay essay for my brief catalogue. The ten artists, if I can remember them all, were William Coldstream, Kossoff, Auerbach, Hockney, Kitaj, Bacon, Peter Blake, Howard Hodgkin, Euan Uglow—and the tenth one I couldn't get exactly what I wanted, so I illustrated a watercolor in my introduction catalog and acknowledged him as the tenth one—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Was Lucian Freud.

PETER GOULDS:  Michael Andrews. Freud was in it, did I mention Freud?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  No, but Lucian Freud was in it too, wasn't he?

PETER GOULDS:  Freud was in it. And then the eleventh one was Michael Andrews, that's right. So the ten were those, that's right, and then the eleventh was Michael Andrews. And that really—although from an international point of view, I had a number of exhibitions involving graphic works—that was really the beginning of my opening up my network breadth more widely for an international program to emerge. I learned through time that this coincided with other moves going on in New York where German artists were starting to be seen in New York for the first time. Xavier Fourcade was one of the first to show Baselitz—[inaudible]. There were attempts being made by a number of Berlin people. Reinhard Onnasch tried to open a gallery in New York.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I didn't know that.

PETER GOULDS:  There were one or two other people related to the DAAD [Berlin Artists-in-Residence] program that tried. So, there were forays to expand an interest in, in this case, German painting. And it started also, I think, in the '80s—Cucchi, Clemente, and Chia, the three C's, were starting to be shown. And somehow this was just all in the air and so it became a very—not an easier thing to do, but a natural thing to do. And it's part of my brief, so we did. And we did it through individual exhibitions ultimately, but we also did a series of exhibitions I called American European. And I think in the end there were like maybe four of these, rambling, didactic—[and eclectic –PG]. I mean, huge, elaborate, complicated to do—when I look at them I get exhausted at the thought of how I even did that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And how did you do that? And who were you, I mean, because—

PETER GOULDS:  They were just huge. If you look at our exhibition—you know, you could put this in yourself. And we'll give you a list of all the shows we've ever done.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I've looked at the—

PETER GOULDS:  They were just exhausting shows to do, and we didn't have things called registrars at that time.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Well, that was what I was thinking—how many people worked in the gallery at that—?

PETER GOULDS:  Well, because, I think, with that type of programming, the ambition of that—I've always had, since 1987, a team of between nine and 11 people.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, really? Because it's—

PETER GOULDS:  I've never had less than that in 20 years. But the reason I made that an emphasis is because of these elaborate, organic kinds of shows.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I noticed you have team shirts.

[They laugh.]

PETER GOULDS:  That was a joke someone did.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  That was great.

PETER GOULDS:  It was a birthday party. Someone put that together.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I thought that was very good. It's a kind of a bowling shirt with your name on it.

PETER GOULDS:  With the logo—same logo design. Anyway, so, to answer your question, when we were doing that before, we just cobbled it together. I mean, I didn't have an archive, I didn't have a library archive until 1979. One particular employee said, "You can't keep slides in a drawer for much longer."

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Good thing. [Laughs.]

PETER GOULDS:  And so, this business just evolved through the people I had worked with, in truth. I brought skills here. Over the years, I've changed those skills. My trouble has always been—if I've had any trouble—I'm sure I have lots of them. The biggest trouble has been—I never saw it as a handicap, but looking back, I can realize now that it would have been useful—I never took any business courses. Art students generally—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, you never took any business course—

PETER GOULDS: —courses of any kind. Art students generally don't. I didn't work in a gallery, I don't know that that would have necessarily helped.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But you had been entrepreneurial since you were washing cars, and—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, yes, but that's one story. But then, the nuts and bolts of how you do these things would have been helpful to know. My son's high school business course that he took last year in 12th grade is more business training then I've ever had, you know, and he refers to the things that they talked about in that high school, 17, 18-year-old group of kids, that is far more practical information than I have ever had to this day. Other than learning on the job. So that would have helped me a lot, because we now live in this so-called global economy. And I think a lot of the galleries that are reaching in a way that I don't find myself doing in quite the same way now. Because they have created this matrix of—they have a staff that isn't just internal within an organization. In other words, I say to you, "I've always had nine or 11 people for the last 21 years." That's full-time, by the way. And usually two or three part-times through that whole period, even during the recession of '90 to '95, where I never fired anyone during that time. But if they left, I didn't replace them. I don't think we went below eight people then. This always includes myself.

But, you know, a really successful business today needs people reaching out beyond the gallery. You need consultants working for you, actually in Europe. If your interests go to China—mine don't, in China. Your interests go here, there, or wherever. In these other locales—joking aside, we went to the Basel Art Fair six years ago because we wanted to, practically speaking, meet the next generation of curators and museum directors in Europe. Who had principally, unilaterally been changed in all their various institution positions since those that I met in the '80s. How did I meet them in the '80s? Mainly through the Chicago Art Fair, which we did—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, you did?

PETER GOULDS:  —actually every single year. We did those from 1980 through '90.

Of those 11 art fairs I did, in truth, in—because that fair was singularly the most important fair at that time. Basel was not. Basel was rather moribund during that time, in truth. But people would come to Chicago, and I met basically the majority of the people that I subsequently went on to do business with in museums and so on around the world, through that fair. All through an introduction made at that fair and subsequently a trip to that location where I met perhaps, then, other people in that particular community. And in the '90s we, by and large, didn't do any fairs at all. None. I didn't do any fairs other than the Chicago Art Fair at all prior to that. I think we did a FIAC as an experiment and they more or less paid for us to do it. Shipping aside, everything else was free. And that was a nice time in Paris, but worthless otherwise.

I think we've done three Art Dealers Association art fairs, all of which have been wholly unsatisfactory. It's supposed to be, you know, a way for the business to self-regulate itself. This art—in an unregulated business, the Art Dealers Association is supposed to set up strictures that enable us to regulate ourselves. Well, all it is is a New York club that just reinforces their own self-satisfaction. We've never been successful at those fairs. I have barely expanded our collegiate relationships because it's always such a competitive environment anyway. When you put these competitive people in an even more competitive environment you just create frenzy and competition, it's ridiculous. And in truth, if anything, we have lost artists to New York dealers by being there. You know, they come over graciously and sit down and talk with you about this artist, you educate them about this artist, and they take two or three years to see your point of view that they should be exhibiting this artist, and then they steal them. They showed them, which is fine, but instead of embracing you as part of the stricture, you know, they discovered this artist, and you are worthless, and off they go with John McCracken, or, you know, whoever it might be up ahead.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  That's not very collegial.

PETER GOULDS:  No. So, I mean, right now we survive with Ken Price and Matthew Marks, but rest assured, the knife will come out on that eventually. We're doing a show with Ken Price in October, and I love him to death, and I think he's terrific and I'm very proud of all the work we do to help him build up his career and this and that. He's doing it—because this won't be published right now, I can say what I think—he's doing it because he feels a need to demonstrate his respect, appreciation, and loyalty to us. The minute the show is over, we'll be dead meat, I guarantee it. Because he's at an age now where he doesn't want to be producing for lots of galleries anyway. He doesn't have to do more than one show every three or four years in order to maintain his place.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Is he in New Mexico now?

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah. He's now in New Mexico full-time, he has no other connection here at all, other than family, he comes here with family. And Matthew Marks is, you know, he'll—I have a great photograph of Matthew sitting at a desk in the Art Dealers Association Art Fair in 1998, where he's coming to me to learn more about Ken Price, and that's where the photograph is taken, it's a great photograph. And of course, you know, 10 years later, he's forgotten that conversation probably, or chosen to. And he would have preferred Ken not to do the show. And that's what we deal with.

So then, when Sam Keller came to us in '97, and said, "I need you to do the Basel Art Fair," they wanted to really revive it. They had this very emerging fair organizer to do it. And I said to him, "Well, we're only two years out of this recession, were just getting adjusted to our new building, just in these two years. But definitely up ahead, there will be a time when we apply. When we apply, when you see our application, know that we're in this for the long haul. And you can count on us for five to 10 years, even if it's not a successful fair for us financially, we will be there." Sure enough, we applied, and to his credit we got in on the first application, which is not normally the case.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Why is that? How does that work, the application process?

PETER GOULDS:  Well there are several hundred people who apply—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  That want to have space at—yeah.

PETER GOULDS:  —and there are only two-hundred, and whatever it is, eighty places for over a thousand applicants. So the review process is pretty rigorous. And there's politics in that too, of course.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And so it's carried it in its own way, isn't it, in a business—

PETER GOULDS:  It is, and it's adjudicated and this and that. And they have, you know, very high standards. But they are standards that are adhering to this particular format. And your particular approach might not suit always that format. So the Art Dealers Association Art Fair, we don't choose to do. We've done three of them. It isn't that we won't do them, but we need to do them when we think we have something to say there.

But the Basel Art Fair, the intent was to try and meet new people, new curators, new directors, and definitely the six fairs have given us that opportunity, without a doubt. We haven't done enough follow-up into those communities yet to—there will come a point when we cease to do that fair some time up ahead. When we do, we will have more time to visit the places and the people who we've met. But, this international program then, really got underway when we first went to the Basel Art Fair.


PETER GOULDS:  In '77 as visitors. Also, through specific associations I then made with individual artists. David Hockney being one, but Kienholz was a very important factor in expanding my network of museum relationships, without a doubt. Visiting Ed and Nancy—we started in '81, but visiting them annually, if not bi-annually, in Berlin—we were there for six months in Berlin, and then again up in Idaho once every summer, and invariably at some museum event in the course of the year at least once somewhere. Now that really expanded my matrix of gallery, museum affiliations considerably. Particularly in museum affiliations, because their studio in [Berlin –PG] was a constant conduit for international visitors—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  The Kienholz studio?

PETER GOULDS:  Well, Berlin, in general—of course, when the wall was up, was that anyway, because the DAAD program brought diverse people to town. And somehow this sort of odd island, this clandestine island, in the middle of seemingly nothingness, was attractive to art world people, I guess, like Taos in a way, or like minds, whatever it is. And if people went to Berlin, they inevitably looked up the Kienholzs. And so I made very good friends during that period. And also Berlin, if you'll remember, had Zeitgeist, the exhibition, in '83. This was a very important show for bringing international people together. And a colleague gave me a very sound piece of advice.

Female Speaker: Excuse me, but Matt Strauss is on the phone.

PETER GOULDS:  Oh. Can we pause this for one sec?


[Audio break.]

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  The people that you've met, and the artists, curators through—you have mentioned the art fairs, and then the Kienholz studio became another—

PETER GOULDS:  And we got talking a little bit also, about the Zeitgeist didn't we?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, it was that—who was the curator of Zeitgeist? Was it—

PETER GOULDS:  The curators of Zeitgeist at the onset—

[Side conversation.]

PETER GOULDS:  So, the curators of Zeitgeist, at that time, at the beginning, because it went on over a long period of time, were Nick Serota, Christos Joachimides, and Norman Rosenthal.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Norman Rosenthal was the first person that I thought, then I thought it was Nick Serota—

PETER GOULDS:  But the two who primarily did it—and Nick kind of stepped back at some point, although he was there for all the opening festivities, he wasn't really in the foreground. I think the two that really took over and dominated the event were Norman and Christos. And because they went on together to form this liaison and did subsequently two or three other shows. The Art of Our Time, whatever it was called. There were two or three other shows done subsequently. One certainly at Royal Academy [of Arts], if not two. [. . . –PG] [A New Spirit in Painting, 1981.] But Zeitgeist was very important—and I know what I was saying, a friend of mine, a colleague, in Berlin said, "When you come for Zeitgeist—you should come for Zeitgeist, because you will meet a lot of people—[inaudible]—but don't just come for the opening night, or the opening events, come four or five days ahead of time. And watch the artists installing, and hang out." That was really good advice. And I did. I went for five days in front of it, and I only stayed for I think two days after it, if that. And I did just that. And actually when I look back on it now, I could have used that time a bit more profitably. But I—and nonetheless, I got to meet a lot of people. I had a lot of very interesting experiences that whole time. It didn't make or break the business, but it did convince me that what I was setting out to do was possible.

And so, to answer your question, how did I go about doing those big shows? I expanded my network of contacts, I traveled like a maniac, and I was able to do so largely because my wife, at that time, she was able to travel a great deal with me. And so we had fun traveling. We didn't have children. We had fun traveling and we were able to put in that experience, and we did. So when I made requests for work—and also not many people were doing that sort of thing, so the demands and the requests were being felt, the pressure on dealers and artists to make work available for these type of eclectic digressions, if you will, weren't so great. People were willing. So you want to borrow a de Kooning painting, no problem. If you wanted to borrow an emerging artist, fine. And no one was going to question whether you juxtaposed this with that or this—they trusted you were doing something interesting. Things were a little bit more open and easier, less burdened by the whys and wherefores of—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Right, that's—

PETER GOULDS:  —economic prowess. This is the changing world we're in. And so here we are in a situation where we seem to have more—better communications. We seem to have more access to information. There are more artists, more art schools, more museums, more galleries, more public opportunities for work and seeing it, blah blah blah. And yet we have more restrictions on availability of work, difficulties to do things. It's a less interesting time, to be perfectly honest.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And the art fair has exploded—

PETER GOULDS:  The art fair has exploded into a whole, you know, commercial raison d'être of themselves, paralleling the changing environment of the auction house. This has all paralleled the period of time I've been in business, do you see?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]  

PETER GOULDS:  So you can start off with this, you know, innocent, rather naïve premise that the art of your region should be seen in relation to international art. And indeed, it should, because all art should measure up, wherever you put it. Now, in this international world we live in, ironically—it might be attributed to make it possible, is ironically the least interesting. And auction houses are competing with galleries, the retail business. Art fairs are suggesting that these are more interesting places to visit than art galleries, as if going to an art fair gives them anywhere near the same experience. It doesn't. Things have become, in the art world—become event-driven. And—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  "Event-driven," I think, is a good phrase. Because now there are these whole sections of magazines and the online magazines that are dedicated to the party pictures, and the review of the event, and nothing—

PETER GOULDS:  Serious writing on the subject has been marginalized to an almost nonexistent place. And yet, ironically, there are more books being published. There are more magazines, actually. People say there aren't enough magazines, there are actually more magazines today than any other time since I've been in business, no question. People complain there's not enough news in the newspaper, well that's true, we only have one newspaper, we used to have two. We never had more than two, anyway. And—but two—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  We scarcely have one now.

PETER GOULDS:  Two is better than one. But in truth, the amount of ink on the page, if you compare 2008—isn't that the year we're in?


PETER GOULDS:  —to 1978, there's no comparison. The amount of ink on the page is far greater today, even in the LA Times that we complain about, than there ever was in 1978. 1978, maybe every gallery in town got a little blurb, two or three sentences on the show they were presenting at that moment. But there weren't the number of galleries there are today. And certainly you never saw four or five or six paragraphs. Not every show gets attention as a result, granted, and that's too bad, no question. And we often, in the course of the year, will have one or two shows not reviewed. The current one we're involved in now doesn't look like it's going to get reviewed. And this is something we live with. But let's face it, on the other hand, the caliber of serious writing—and I don't mean newspaper journalists, because that has been, truthfully, all it is, it's not serious writing. It's just journalism. Serious writing today is absent in spite of the volume of pages available for it to be otherwise. Serious writers and curators in the past were writers anyway. Serious writers on art, and the subject in the past, often were curators. And today this is all disenfranchised, this is not linked anymore, this is just increasingly icing on the cake rather than the cake itself. There's no discourse—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  It's—I was—when you said that, you know, I was thinking of times in the past when articles really kind of ignited debate, that everybody had read, you know, about the Primitivism show and there were, you know—and I was thinking, you know, I know that I'm out of the loop but I don't feel that there's that kind of—where something happens and it really, you know, in the simplest terms, gets people talking. People have a strong reaction, it widens, you know, the discourse, or outrage, or attitude. It's not all party—it wasn't all party pictures.

PETER GOULDS:  Well, it's a changing thing. And it's an ironic thing because again, at a moment when there are more vehicles for that expression to take place, when there is more opportunity for the critical edge of things to have an even stronger hold, it has virtually no influence whatsoever. So, this is a diabolical thing, and I think the wrong values are being emphasized now. Well, that's talking about now, and that's not what we're here for—what we're here to talk about.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So let's get back to when you moved down the street and decided to take on the—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, This Knot of Life showed me that our space was inadequate, of course. And we were five years in business by then, and so I negotiated to try to find another space in town. In fact, I drove back and forth negotiating a space that, in the end, was taken over by, oh, what's his name? Jan Turner on Melrose took a space that I had for six months been negotiating. But the drive—luckily the landlord was a difficult person, and the drive in and out of town to negotiate with him over this showed me what my life would be like. Driving in and out of town—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You didn't want to?

PETER GOULDS:  —and I decided that I would rather overcome problems of having more than one space in the same neighborhood than the dilemma of driving in and out of town. So I rented a second space on Market Street and it became the principal showing space for many years thereafter, from 1980, when Larry Bell inaugurated that space. It used to be his old studio, coincidentally, and now it's his studio again.


PETER GOULDS:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]


PETER GOULDS:  It was his space. I used it in between. He had left it and gone to New Mexico and I took it over until [Tony] Bill bought the building and took the space—[here he was going to –PG]—put a swimming pool in there or something. And I said, "Why not put a gallery in there?" So he became my landlord, I then had two landlords. And anyway, as time went on I ended up with three or four landlords, since we had six spaces in the neighborhood which we were using for different purposes. And from 1984 until we moved into this building in 1994, so '84 to '94, I worked out of six spaces. And we rented them all. And what actually then happened, to come to your question, was in 1985, I finally was able to buy the vacant lot next door to this building, to the building next door I started in. It was half of the lot size that we now occupy. The landlord had never bought it, and I never understood why, even though it was next door. Because he assumed no one would have a use for it. You can't build on half a lot. So I figured, well, if you buy the lot then someone's going to want to buy it from you, at least. You can't do anything with it, right? So I bought it figuring, well, now, he'll at least have to buy this from me—


PETER GOULDS:  —but then I was able to buy the building next to it, which again he didn't bother to buy because he thought, "Well, there is no way to expand that," but then he didn't think anyone would do that either.

So, I ended up with a vacant lot and an apartment building by '87. Then I retained Fred Fisher, and on this site which is now 66 feet by 80-something feet deep, I was going to build the building I'm now in. But I never studied the parking restrictions, or the limitations and so on. Again, this is all part of my ignorance, blind stupidity. It was only afterwards that I discovered, for every 250 square feet you construct, you have to provide a parking stall. So on a footprint the size of which I've just given you, you do the mathematics on what the height limitations are for an 8,000 square-foot building, you have to have 33 parking stalls. So I did a study of what I could put underground, subterranean. Because of liquefaction and what have you here, I could only put in 14 parking stalls underground, so one and a half times, you know, we wouldn't be able to build it to the maximum. So I went to the landlord of my old space who I knew owned the spaces across the road, and I discovered through this whole process of due diligence finally—that he was actually constantly being cited for under-parking his restaurant that he had, and at another apartment building, what have you. So I went to him and I said, "Listen, would you like to overcome your parking problems on the back of my project? I need more parking, you've got the lot across the road," he could only put 30 spaces, 30 car stalls there. "Why don't we—why don't you build a parking structure across the road, and then create a covenant with me where I have the 33 spaces I need?" So he laughed. He said, "If you can pull that off," he said, "I'll write you a check for half the amount you have and we'll be partners in the real estate." So I said fine. So I wrote up a letter of agreement, two paragraphs, and went about it.

So it took three years to get. Fred Fisher did the study, we moved forward as though we were going to be able to do this. He studied the ergonomics of the six spaces we were renting and figured those out in relation to what we were practicing. So the ergonomics were tied to our practice. And so this building is actually a consolidation, not an expansion. He brought to this building the function of all those six spaces into one facility. So, if we had natural light in one space and not in the other, or ambient light, or if we were using a certain amount of square footage for preparatory work, how much was really efficiently being used and how much was not? How much were using the offices versus wasted space in the hallways. So, he took 7,200 square feet that were inefficient, hallways—plus the landlord's measuring from the exterior to the exterior—and he provided us with eight—7,960 efficient interior square feet. Plus the front courtyard, which is technically a loading dock. That's not part of the same measurement, therefore. And the sky room because it doesn't have a roof or a ceiling, it's not officially part of square footage, so that's additional. And this is the result.

The landlord—I went to him after three years and I said, "Well, here's our letter of agreement, here's your permit to build your parking structure, you can now build 125 parking stalls. And this is what I expect to date, buying the land, dah dah dah, it's about 600-and-something thousand dollars." And he got out his checkbook and he wrote me a check for half the amount and we became partners in the real estate. So this is a real estate partnership that rents the space which I am 50 percent—my wife and I are 50 percent owners. He and his wife—he subsequently died, she is now the other owner. And the real estate entity leases the space to the gallery. And we—he broke ground in 1990, on the parking—or '91, I can't remember—'91, because he broke ground on the parking structure. And once it was built, it took about 18 months, a year, and cost him about 1.5 million to build. A lot of engineering goes into parking structures.

We were able to break ground. I get—it took three years to get permission to build, so 1993—and I was lucky I had the partnership with him, because '93 was the depths of the recession. You could not get construction loans to save your life. And even he, who was in real estate—by the way, at the time of his death, to give you an idea, he owned 75 buildings, so he was very much in real estate. Even he had a hard time getting loans during that period. And we had to together hire—there are people who specialize in getting you loans. We had to hire someone to go out, and it took him three or four banks before we finally got a bank to do it. That was Sumitomo Bank. We broke ground in April of '93. To give you an idea of how real estate changed, by the time we got to move into the building in December '94, $1,240,000 later, cheaper than a parking structure, we—the bank had already decided it did not want to continue with any real estate loans it had. So we no sooner moved in, the two additional constructions, with two two-year extensions to our construction loan in place. We were told, "Terribly sorry, the loan we gave you of one million five-hundred thousand was based on a potential value of the building of being one million nine-hundred-and-something," we actually spent two million four-hundred [thousand] to do it. And we accepted that it was worth less, that's fine. "Well, we're terribly sorry, we have bad news for you. The building is now worth less. It's worth one million six-hundred-and-something thousand, so if you don't give us a check for $300,000 in the next six months, we're taking your building." That's when I learned that bankers are second only to the criminal class.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Or equal—they are the same.

[They laugh.]

PETER GOULDS:  So, in short, we had to find $600,000 between us, which we did. And, you know, this is the depths of the recession market, plus I closed a business in New York, remember, which we'll get to. And I had $1,800,000 worth of debt beyond the construction of this gallery. So, this was no small thing to accomplish. But, having said that, now, of course, we owe very little on this building, in fact less than a million dollars. Our monthly payment is now $9,000 including tax and insurance. And we're fortunate, but it was hard at the time, so—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And when did you—

PETER GOULDS:  —be careful what you wish for.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And when did you open the—you had the gallery in New York—

PETER GOULDS:  I started the gallery—so by '87 I owned the property and we started this venture. By the way, the reason it took three years to get a permit for the garage was not because of the garage. It's because this building, there was a moratorium on development in Venice at that time, and anything that was registered at that moment to be residential, had to remain residential. Because this was a mixed-use street, there—any empty spaces were considered residential. Remember, one of the spaces—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, and yours was an apartment building—

PETER GOULDS:  —and there was an apartment building to boot. So we had to, A, get a zone change. It took three years to get the zone change back to commercial, and then we had to place, within a one-mile radius of the beach, so we only got 180 degrees to go, not 360 degrees here. You had to locate the number of housing units you were removing into the area and provide equivalent housing to that with which you were replacing.

[END OF TRACK AAA_goulds08_4131.]

PETER GOULDS:  So not to digress from an art conversation, but one—half a block down the road we bought a vacant lot one time to move the building onto. Only to find in less than six months they changed the zone requirements, and the setbacks were different. We couldn't fit the building onto that site. So we had to end up selling the vacant lot. Now we made $100,000, luckily, on that transaction, so we weren't too upset. But I went back to my partner and I said, "Listen, you're in real estate, I'm not. I know we made money on this vacant lot, but I don't want this headache again. If you can make money in the real estate business, good luck to you, it's not my world. So why don't you buy—give me a check for what you think the value of the shell of the building is, then I am out of the ownership of the building with you. You just have the responsibility of moving it, paying all the costs to move it. And then when you place it wherever you have to place it within a mile of the beach, it's then your inventory. It can be one of your gazillion buildings. It doesn't have to be my headache, or my profit, or my loss or whatever it is, I'm not in your business." And so he agreed. He gave me $35,000 credit for the shell of the building. Which doesn't seem like a lot, but actually the cost of moving it is considerable. And then—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And you are cut loose from that—

PETER GOULDS: —yeah, cut loose from that. Another headache, so that was the end of that. And he did that, he got the permit to do it, and then we were able to break ground and move forward. That's how it was. Now in 1987—I get some of my ideas lying on the beach on the north shore of Kauai, and I phoned Kimberly [Davis] from there and I said, "We're going to open a gallery in New York." She'd been with me two years, and she said, okay, fine. So we went about doing it. I think she and I went on a trip to Florida, I think it was the only time before last year I was in Florida.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And where did she come from, Kimberly?

PETER GOULDS:  Kimberly came—well, we hired her—well, she's from Detroit, to answer your question. And her education was Pratt, and she was part of the Whitney program. And she worked professionally for a private consultant in—

[END OF TRACK AAA_goulds08_4132.]

PETER GOULDS:  —when Bernie [Jacobson] didn't treat her properly one moment in time, she left him. She left him and I was free to hire her, which I did. We've been together now for 23 years, thankfully. So, she and I traveled. We went to Florida, met a few clients out there. I never did go back to Florida again, actually, until last year. And then—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And was that for Art Basel in Miami?

PETER GOULDS:  No, I've never been to that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You've never been?

PETER GOULDS:  No, I went to visit an artist there—in fact, Enrique Martinez Celaya, who we'll be showing in November, had a studio there. He still has a studio there. And I went to see him and spend time with him on the way to the Basel fair in Switzerland. Might have been two years ago, actually. And so then we went to New York and looked at a variety of spaces, we hired a real estate person. In fact, we hired Mera Rubell, who went on to begin the Rubell Collection. [Inaudible.] And we went through New York, and we discovered the bakery building, which was, at that time, still owned by Ed Broida, who was trying to make it a museum—[inaudible]—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah, I remember that.

PETER GOULDS: —and that whole thing. And it didn't happen. And that was bought by another chap called Rick Talmadge. Richard Talmadge, a nice guy. And he converted it into the building it became, at Prince and Wooster. We were the first tenants. And it was finished, and we moved in and opened it in October of '89. And we ran it for three seasons there.

I hired an Englishman, Sean Kelly, who I was advised to pay attention to by a mutual friend, Edward Lucie-Smith, whose friendship I later questioned because Sean ended up betraying me. But no, it was good advice. His ambition was larger than my understanding of his intent. And so, he used us to get a green card, and he used us to matrix his network, and he didn't do anything criminal or untoward, it was very straightforward, ran it very well. But he ran it well to his own interests. So then, he didn't handle his departure too well, because we had, I think, candidly, had been so fair with him that he was ashamed of what he was doing, I think. And he—I might as well say this for the record.

He—first, we noticed we were having problems with him through the course of that year, '82. The communications weren't so good, we weren't getting responses. When we were, we were getting a good degree of hostility for no reason. And so I called him out for a meeting, and he came out here. And he told me that he was having great difficulty, and that it was causing marital problems, and he might have to leave to go back to England because of this. So, I then—actually, I had a strange feeling, because I felt relieved that we hadn't done anything untoward to create this. Then I felt guilty that suddenly I was causing him to have marital problems. You know, you go through this whole strange state of mind. But I remember the first sensation was on the PCH in a traffic jam when he blurted this all out, and I felt immediate relief—so. And after he said goodbye, and I remember even having a conversation with his wife where he implied the conversations had gone well. So I think she was privy to the whole thing.

Communication still—and we arrived at a period of severance and a transition period, and we came to an accord. And even after that, Kimberly and I still noticed difficulties, awkwardness. And we had done a very large project earlier that year in Amsterdam with a man called Eduardo Lipschutz-Villa, who later disappeared in Peru. But anyway, he had an Institute of Contemporary Art in Amsterdam. Very good programming, by the way. He was a very bright, very interesting person. And his principal allegiance was to Pieter Laurens Mol, an artist, a very good artist, I mean, an amazingly good artist, actually, in Amsterdam. But whose misfortune—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  It's M-O-L—I remember—


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah, M-O-L—yeah, Pieter, I remember Pieter—

PETER GOULDS:  Very, very good artist, really good, until this day I still think extremely good. But Pieter's unfortunate experience was that his brother became exceedingly wealthy. And his brother had a paternal view of his brother like van Gogh, Theo and Vincent. Not unlike that, in so far as Theo and Vincent were both art dealers, of course, and Theo went on to continuing the practice and then the wife became the successful one, and he killed himself. But somehow, Pieter Laurens Mol's brother, whose name I've forgotten for a second, had this protective view of Pieter. And as a result bought him a fabulous house, he never wants for anything, unfortunately. So, as a result, his ambitions have muted—are muted. But he was the backer of this ICA. And through this experience of the Wallace Berman shows called Beyond the Revolution [Support the Revolution, ICA/Amsterdam, 1982]—great show, great book was produced. Christopher Knight even wrote a nice piece for it. For which he was paid.


PETER GOULDS:  He took money.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  From a gallery—

PETER GOULDS:  From a commercial gallery.

[They laugh.]

Bless his heart. Anyway, he—the book was great, terrific document. And out of this, Eduardo learned that we were being betrayed. And one evening, I got a phone call in early September from him saying, "I can't sleep at night anymore with the knowledge that—I have to share with you. And this is that your friend—"


PETER GOULDS:  "—Sean Kelly is opening a gallery. He's not going back to England. He's formed a partnership with one of your ex-clients, Willem Peppler."

[They laugh.]

"And he—his first show is going to be dah, dah, dah, and he's been trying to persuade Pieter Laurens Mol to cancel your show." In LA, it was scheduled for October. He blurted it all out and said, "There you are, I told you." It was eight o'clock in the morning for him, midnight for me, so he clearly had had a troubled night. And do you know, it's the last conversation that I had with him to this day. I thanked him, left it at that, Pieter Mol came here. I picked Pieter Mol up at the airport, I took him to the hotel, the Shangri-La he was staying at. I said, "Before you go to bed tonight, I have to talk to you. I've got ask you some questions." So he had me to his room. I sat him down, "Is it true, did he try to do this?" All—everything Eduardo had told me was 100 percent correct. And then Pieter said, "What we do now?" I said, "What we do, is we carry on with our show, and we open the show. And then I will have to go to New York and fire Sean, and you mustn't tell him that I've had this conversation." And he honored that.

So we open the show, which was very successful. It's the last show I did with him. The outcome of that was that I went to New York. I met with Sean. He said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "I've come to speak to you," and I fired him. In front of others, and went over the whole thing. He couldn't deny it. As he left he said, "What we do now?" I said, "Well, you get up and you pack your bag and give me your keys and you leave." So as he went out of the door, he said, "Well, your ass is hanging out, and I intend to kick it," as he left the room. And so I said, "Fine." And so, he left, and we did get a letter from a lawyer later saying that I owed him $40,000 in back pay. This was part of the, you know, long-range payoff and I said, let's just write a letter back pointing out that if he pursues this course we will put an injunction on his house in Bath, we will shut down his accounts, and we'll have a real fight.

So we never heard again, of course. There was one inflammatory article in a local newspaper in New York, but we had such a good reputation, there was nothing to talk about. It was his bad news, not our bad news. And anyway—but Eduardo was fired from his job at the ICA, by the brother. And that's the history of that chapter.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And then you said to me—

PETER GOULDS:  I carried on on my own, in New York. My health was not doing too well during this time. It turned out I had a secreting appendix. It was wearing down my—so I was getting one horrible chest infection after another. And the traveling didn't help. It just wore me down further. And in fact, my appendix burst later that year.


PETER GOULDS:  Yeah. But I made a decision, I had to make a decision while this was all going on. This was in October of '92. And I think it was my father's—my father-in-law was dying during '93, towards the end, he was 88, entering the last chapter of his life. So Liz and Oliver would go back very regularly and I would generally join them, not generally, I would always join them. There was one moment where I went to her in February and I said to them, "You know, Liz, for this gallery in New York to make it, we have to move there and leave Kimberly to run this here. It's the only way this is going to work. We can't find people in midstream. We have to do that or shut the business down and start again, you know, with a whole new structure. It's one or the other." And bless her heart, she said, "Whatever you feel we need to do, we'll do." So I said, "Well, thank you for that," and that was that part of my responsibility addressed. Then the next thing was, was I going to break ground on this building are not? However, I'm six years into this—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I—when you're describing that all of these things are happening simultaneously—trying to picture your focus, and the energy, and attention required by—

PETER GOULDS:  Each part—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —each part—

PETER GOULDS: —plus a new child. But anyway—plus the programming of both spaces and everything else that goes along with this. We were by now really full-blown, and we were going flat out. Two spaces—to mention not just two spaces, but we had two spaces here, we have that there, you know? There was one moment in '89 where we did, just in LA, 19 shows in one year, because we had two spaces.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You had Market Street then, I—

PETER GOULDS:  And sometimes we would do two, all the time. In that year, '89—not including New York, where we would have shows from September to December, forget that. In here alone, including Mark di Suvero on the beach, is one show, that would be the 19th show. We did 19 shows in one year while Liz was pregnant and we were in the middle of all this. So anyway, so '92, not to go on about it, he—this deed was unveiled, I took the action necessary, we moved forward, we did hire a replacement staff, and we commuted. Kimberly went, or I went, and this and that. Kimberly had a new baby, too.

So then I had to make this decision. I realized I had to make this decision about breaking ground independently of anything else going on. It had to be, was I going to do this anyway, regardless? And I thought—I had to think that through first, I said, "No. Break the ground, go ahead with the building, the money's been spent, from here on out it's the bank's money, and if we don't make it, we'll deal with that problem down the road." So that decision made, we broke ground.

Now we come to Memorial Day weekend. So that April we break ground first, then Memorial Day weekend comes. Liz is away, with her father being ill and I didn't go with her on that trip. Or rather, I had been with her and I came back and had Memorial Day weekend to myself. And I decided to stay at home and think this through.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And you were living in Topanga?

PETER GOULDS:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.] So I stayed at home. For three days, I didn't venture out. Then on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, I called two friends. I said, "This is the conclusion I've come to," and I laid out to these two friends what I thought my options were. And each of them concluded that we should close the gallery in New York. And with that decision in place—that's right. Liz didn't come here, she stayed there, I joined her. I said, "Okay," and I made a plan to go through New York, close the business, wrap it up, and go on and join Liz in Europe. Which is what we did.

I called them ahead of time, I had dinner with the staff first and told them what was going on. The next day I made arrangements, and we paid their salaries through the whole summer because I knew it would be hard to find work. So whoever was on staff that day got a full payout through the whole summer, till the middle of September. And then I told them I wanted it all wrapped up by June—July 1. And part of their duty was to help arrange to send work back, or work back to us, or whatever, and to wrap up the furniture, all the things in New York. Then I went to the landlord and I paid him $100,000 to get out of my lease. I was bound for another 15 years. So—or 16 actually, so I paid him $100,000 to get out of my lease. Some said, you should have kept the lease, you could have sold it, and this and that, and I said, "You know what, I'm not in that business."

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You didn't really need another real estate project—[laughs]—did you?

PETER GOULDS:  And I'm not in that business, it's not my world, you know? I mean, I don't know what business I'm in, but I'm not in that one.


PETER GOULDS:  And so—and then I called all the artists, of course, individually, and told them what I had to decide. What had happened—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Who were you working with then? Do you remember the artists that—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh yeah, we have a list. I can give you lists. I mean, it was a—a major gallery.


PETER GOULDS:  A major gallery, we were very concerned. And then I went to Europe and joined Liz. Much relieved. So we lost $600,000 on that exercise—$500,000 that was capitalized in the business that we never retrieved, and $100,000, which I had to pay the landlord, that makes $600,000. But, we never lost money there. We—and that was literally all. That was all it cost. There were no other losses. And we honored every bill we had there. Sometimes it took 18 months to pay everything off, but we did. So we never went belly up, or anything. And so, we kept our financial records in order, and carried on. Finished building this.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Had Fred Fisher designed a gallery before?

PETER GOULDS:  When I started with him in '87, no.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I don't think he—

PETER GOULDS:  But he was later then, very quickly thereafter, hired by Eli Broad to do the Broad building. Then I think a whole bunch of other people hired him. I think he did Bergamot Station somewhere in there, Ruth Bloom somewhere in there, a couple of other places along the way. So that was that era. Then we finish this. As I already mentioned to you, I nearly croaked with an emergency appendectomy. In fact, when I opened this building—when I opened this building, I had a drain in my side for three months because they thought I was going to die during the peritonitis. The first three days, they weren't sure I would—I would make it.

It was quite a year, because—1994 was when the appendix burst, I was getting ill in '93, not knowing why. In April of '94, Walter Hobbs had an aneurysm. He was a curator of the Kienholz retrospective. So it was not inconsequential. But luckily Ed and he had prepared a list of about 120 works that could be a basis of the retrospective, later edited by Nancy to 80 works. And in June of '94, Kienholz had a heart attack and died. And on October 31st, Halloween, I started to notice I had a little discomfort in my stomach, and on November 1st, my appendix burst, and I nearly died. So Nancy and I went on to do the retrospective.

And—yeah. In '94, when Ed died, we had two containers on a ship sailing the high seas to Korea because we had a show going on at the Sonje museum [Artsonje Center, Seoul]. And I notified them, "Well, I'm afraid one of the artists has died. Can we postpone the show?" And they said, "No." And they said at first they would postpone it, finally, three days. And I said, "Well, I don't think anyone will be able to come and make the speech for you." Ed and Nancy had been commissioned by them to go and make a speech. So, we buried Ed. It happened on a Friday, June 10th. We buried him on the Monday in Idaho. We were just up there. And a week and a half later, the studio assistants and I had to fly to Korea, where Nancy couldn't go—but they never paid for my trip or my hotel bill, and they own the hotel. And I had to make the speech, for which Nancy, I think, and Ed, were being paid $3,000—I didn't get anything. And my appendix could easily have burst there, and I would have been dead, for sure.

As it was, they closed the airport. There was a huge strike, I remember. We had to drive to the southern part of Korea to get a connecting flight back. The chap drove against oncoming traffic at unbelievable speeds, and we did make it to the airport. And I had to say to the poor girl sitting next to me, as I was completely saturated with perspiration, mainly from the infection unbeknownst to me, that I didn't have a disease and she shouldn't worry. She wasn't going to catch anything. [Laughs.]

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Should we—you have a—don't you have to meet someone now?

PETER GOULDS:  No, they're coming here at two.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, okay. This story keeps topping up from—

PETER GOULDS:  [Laughs.] One level of madness to another. Well, that's how it was. I mean, we have—we're now doing our website and I haven't counted them up lately, but when we started redesigning this website, 18 months or two years ago, I did count up the number of shows. And then, not now and not including, retrospectives at the Whitney and the shows at the Sonje museum, or last year, the show that we did at The National Gallery with Leon Kossoff, but literally dozens and hundreds of shows that we had done in museums and other galleries all over the world, just in here. There were then 470 shows we had presented. That's up to two years ago. Not including these other affiliated exhibitions for which we have all kinds of administrative responsibility.

So when I have this operation, this Thursday, which I am, they're removing my thyroid. This Thursday, because I have cancer in my thyroid. I've lived two lifetimes in one body, so I'm being retrofitted accordingly.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  That's an unbelievable saga of—and so you go this Friday to—

PETER GOULDS:  Thursday.


PETER GOULDS:  Seven a.m., they cut my throat.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You'll be fine.

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah, I will. I'm not finished yet, so they can't get rid of me. I haven't finished yet, this—[inaudible]—still works at the LA Times!

[They laugh.]

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So, you finally did get into this building. What did you open with in this building?

PETER GOULDS:  We opened with Richard Deacon—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

PETER GOULDS:  —which was a show I had been desirous to do since 1984, when I first really experienced his work firsthand at the Chicago Museum of Art—Contemporary Art. And they made an exhibition of several British sculptors at that time—Tony Cragg, Bill Woodrow, Anish Kapoor, David Nash, and Richard Deacon. And I was representing David Nash at that time. But when I saw them altogether, I knew there was only really one. I still think that. So Richard and I came together, and he was the inaugural exhibition of this new space.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Because this gallery, I—when you were saying, you know, working with Mark di Suvero, the project on the beach, I mean, for a sculptor, this gallery, you know—I mean it's a beautiful gallery for paintings and drawings as well, but for a sculptor, I think you offer more than—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, the space was custom-built, as you pointed out at the beginning. The architect studied our needs, and we did it thoroughly not just from an employee administrative point of view, but from an artist's point of view. And we put in certain things that we knew we needed. We had learned—because we had two spaces, they were divergent, one had natural light, and one had semi-artificial light with some ambient light. The ambient light is very helpful. A wholly artificial space is not that good, so even a little bit of ambient light helps. So he took all that into account. We had two different kinds of proportions and scale. And we learned that—and in the old space, there were two sort of evenly-shaped rooms, so in a weird way, we had three different ideas of space to consider. Because of the proportions of the three rooms, the room downstairs in the old space, the two rooms on Market Street. And we had ideas to think about. And I came to realize the ceiling heights, which were different in both spaces, too. Little things like 13 feet was not quite right, 12 was too small, 14 was perfect. Because at 14 feet, if you put the lighting tracks in the right relationship to the wall on the ceiling, the lighting tracks disappear into the proportion of that extra foot. They don't actually ever get into your sight line. We found that 29 feet is a very ideal width. Little things, you know, getting these proportions correct, even though it doesn't look like that when you go downstairs, that was very carefully thought through, very, very carefully thought through indeed.

And then all of the ceilings are reinforced, so—you know, Peter Shelton often likes to hang heavy things. They are all reinforced, so you can hang tremendous weights off them and therefore the floors—not on the ground floor, of course, it's concrete, but the floors on the second floor are all reinforced for forklift. From the freight elevator you can forklift out down passageways where the floors are reinforced to take the weight. Stuff like that was thought through, carefully. The drainage in the sky room was thought through carefully, things like that were thought through carefully.

But in truth, it was always thought of as a painting gallery. The viewing distances, noted proportions, were first and foremost in my mind. But the practicalities of sculpture is such that, if you don't consider them, you're dead. For example, I never told an artist this, because I don't want it to happen, but there are no reinforcements, believe it or not, in the wall between the south wall and the entrance into the sky room, into the gallery. There's no reinforcement in that wall in case we ever have to open that wall up.


PETER GOULDS:  There's no structural reinforcement. There's actually a steel girder in there doing that, there's no down—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So it's framed. It's framed but then there aren't supports—

PETER GOULDS:  —yeah, so that you can actually break that wall if you ever had to bring something in. I've never told an artist that. Because if we do, they'll find a way of using it. But if it ever came up that I wanted to show something, that you couldn't turn a corner on—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You could just take those out, yeah?

PETER GOULDS:  —or couldn't get through the big doors, you could do that. I mean, that's how carefully it was thought through. The big front gates that, obviously, are designed so they can open. Things like that.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But I think that's a successful collaboration with an architect, is to really—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, that was the purpose of this.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN: —I think so, yeah.

PETER GOULDS:  No, Fred was—Fred was simply fantastic. Still—he still is. He's a marvelous man, and collaborative. And also, who would put up with six years of permitting? I mean, it requires the patience of Job, and Fred has that. So, we had lots of—I interviewed James Stirling. I went to the—I went to the, what's it called, the Aspen Design Conference—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Oh, you did?

PETER GOULDS:  —in 1986, to meet James Stirling, because I thought maybe he could be the architect. He had never worked on a small building, and I admired his style and way of working. So I went, and I listened to a couple of speeches he made, and I was all the more convinced, yes, he's the one. Then I went to speak to him, and to my astonishment—I thought he would just dismiss this kid who had a small little 8,000 square-foot project. He said he would love to do a small building, so he was all on board. And then Eric Moss wanted to do it, a whole bunch of people wanted to do it. But when I started to think about Eric Moss in front of a committee—and then I thought, James Stirling would have to hire someone locally—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Right, it wouldn't be—

PETER GOULDS:  And thank god I didn't, because he had a heart attack and died not long after that. And in the end I realized that Fred would listen to me, he would be client-orientated, and he would be patient. And he was all those things. As a result, he got the Long Beach museum project out of this, he got the Huntington out of this, he got P.S. 1 out of this, he got Otis out of this. You know, so, he got quite a few projects as a result of his success here. I like him.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  He did a fantastic job at P.S. 1.

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, I think every one of these projects has been a success, you know, in one way or another, you know. And he did it—it was on time and under budget. I mean, what more can you want?

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And I think that starting here, the thoroughness of addressing all these issues, what better training ground—[laughs]—could he have had to do—I mean, you know—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, also, I'm a very particular person, and so I am very pernickety, you know, and I know what I want. And also, luckily, I was working next to the site. My office, remember, was on the third floor of that building. So—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  So you were—

PETER GOULDS:  It was one day—in fact I was with Fred recently in Rome, and we spent a half a day together. He's now at the Roman—American Academy of Rome, and I reminded him of one day in which I was looking out of my window, quite literally down on the project, and they were framing, beginning to frame the second floor. So instead of looking at a model, or a plan, I was now actually watching human beings, in scale, on the second floor, the way they would be when they were moving around the building normally. And I made this observation, from my third-floor space, about what was going on down there, and I realized, we had made a mistake. So I called Fred up—


PETER GOULDS: —oh, yeah. I called Fred up, I said, "Fred, we made a mistake." Luckily, he was in town. I said, "You need to come over here right away." And he did, and he looked out of the window, and he saw it as well. [Laughs.] And we changed it. And the beauty of this building, for me, remains to this day—even though I don't like the lighting on the third floor, I never have, and the stairwell lighting—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You don't like the recessed lighting, or you don't like the way the natural light is—

PETER GOULDS:  We could have done better with the recessed lighting than we did. But anyway—and the stairwell from the ground floor to the first floor—well, the ground floor to the second floor, I mean, I never liked the lighting there. We have never changed a thing in here. Yes, we've modified desks, we've adapted space to accommodate people working, but other than that, we've never changed a thing. I have no desire to. So, it really is as perfect as it can be, from a utilitarian point of view. It gives the artist lots of flexibility. And I've heard any number of people say—not to me actually, to one another, artists, which is the highest compliment to me—that they've noticed that artists stretch when they do exhibitions here. They really push to make something special here. Not that they don't do that in every gallery, probably they do. But I don't think so. There's something about this space that gets people to step up.

And, I think we've had some very, you know—if I—for example, when I go over certain artists, some of their—artists I've worked with a long time, like David Hockney, for example. Some—if I look at the shows he's done with us, some of his most important shows have been done here. He noticed that recently, he said to me, "By the way—" And I think if I went through different artists, for different reasons. Like, di Suvero always gives us a tremendous exhibition, we've done three. Why? And he's used to, you know, spaces. It's not as if, as a sculptor, he doesn't get great spaces to work in, otherwise why does he bother to go there? They're all good spaces. It has to do with this space in this community. And because there are so many artists living and working here, another reason why artists step up may not have anything to do with our space. It's our location and our history in our space that makes them want to step up. And I see it with new artists too, Gajin Fujita, and I think it showed him how to prepare for exhibitions by having a space like this. When we did a show in London recently he handled it in a professional way—now part of his ethos, you know. He understands what he needs to do. We're doing a show next year with Ben Jackel, another young artist from our Rogue Wave program. I was in the studio last week, and the show is going to be absolutely out of this world, and it will be his debut show. But you know, he's—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And where is he now? He's—where's his studio?

PETER GOULDS:  He's in the Crenshaw district. He just graduated out of UCLA. Like Gajin, we took him on straight out of college, in a sense. He's been a studio assistant for Charles Ray for a number of years. And—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You have an age range?

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah. Well, he's only about 27, I think, 28.


PETER GOULDS:  And then, Bill Brice of course, who just died, was at the other end of the spectrum. Charles Garabedian is 84.



SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Does he still have his drawing—I remember he used to have a model—a group that—

PETER GOULDS:  He doesn't do that—I haven't heard him mention that lately, no.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But he did that for years, didn't he? He had a—

PETER GOULDS:  Yeah, yeah. A group of guys got together, and drew from the model. Oh, yeah. No, I haven't heard him mention that for quite a few years now. But he's in the studio every day. And we do have an age range, and an international group, and now we're planning our fourth, and I think final chapter, of Rogue Wave. We're doing it in '09. In fact, Chris and I have our first meeting tomorrow on the subject—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Uh-huh. [Affirmative.]

PETER GOULDS:  —and we're doing the research for it now. And we'll publish a catalog as we did after '05. We did one catalog for '01-'05 together, at the same time as '05, then we did one in '07. We'll do one in '09. We'll make one catalog for next year. And we formed a partnership, in inverted commas, with—a loose relationship anyway, with a private individual in Italy. And we're going to do a version of Rogue Wave next year in the industrial beach town of Massa, in Tuscany. Well, this man lives in this brand-new rather nice space he's created with all these odd idiosyncratic corners and quirks. He will be the guest host for a—I haven't even thought of it, L.A. Louver Picks: Rogue Wave, and we're going to do a version of Rogue Wave for him, from '01, and '05, '07, and '09.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And who initiated Rogue Wave?

PETER GOULDS:  We did. I did.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  You did? And you've done catalogs for each one, haven't you?

PETER GOULDS:  No, we did one catalog, which was a summary of '01-'05. And we're going to do one for '07-'08.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Because who wrote for the—who wrote for the catalog?


SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Why did I think there was more than one? Anyway—

PETER GOULDS:  Having said I initiated Rogue Wave, it actually came about as a response to—after the recession in '95, we opened this building, as you know, a weekend in January of '95. Between '90—in the '90s generally, you will remember, there were lots of alternative exhibitions all over town. Very, very healthy, verdant period, I thought, because artists were having great difficulty getting galleries, naturally, during the recession. They didn't stop showing their work, of course. Artists always find ways to get their work seen. And then there were spaces all over town, warehouses for a day or for a week, or in shopfronts, and people's apartments. And Chris Pate, our preparator here, who is a very good painter himself, was prone to put these shows on. He did about four or five of them. I went to them all. I went to as many as I could all over town actually, I loved them.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Well, the initiative of them, I think, also felt more like the '70s, that people—

PETER GOULDS:  Yes, it did. What brought us to the subject—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  —you know, weren't, you know hooked up to a kind of retail experience about art. They were making work, and how could you engage with your community, and have it be seen? And so, whether it was in a motel room for a night, or a—remember there were—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, I loved it. I thought it was really, you know, that—I came to this not with a businessman's point of view, I came to this out of a love of the subject. And out of a way of finding a vehicle for myself to be involved.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Yeah, so there was a much more—and, you know, I know you're talking about your lack of business training, but I think the era was a much more improvisational responsive era. And I know now—you know, younger art dealers had their way of thinking, you know, it's a "man with a plan", you know, like, they've got it spelled out of what—and so I think what you're describing, to get back to Chris Pate in the '90s in Los Angeles, there were people—I think, also because of the strength of the art schools, that they were used to making work and showing. They weren't lonely in the studio, they had communities. And so, why give that up once you get out of school?

PETER GOULDS:  And so, this was very stimulating for them. I remember turning to Chris in '99, for the sake of the date, and saying to Chris, "Why don't you do something like this at the gallery? It doesn't always have to be in a—" "Oh, I didn't think you'd be interested." I said, "No, to the contrary, let's do it."

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  In somebody's garage? [Laughs.]

PETER GOULDS:  "Let's do it." So, he set about doing it, and I became his collaborator. That's how it really got started. And we thought we would do one exhibition. That was really it, 2001. So that was the first Rogue Wave. The name—to come to a name, Chris was an active surfer at that time, and I asked him about surfing terms, and we rattled off a number, and I latched on to "rogue wave"—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  It's a—yeah.

PETER GOULDS:  —what did the term mean? He said, "It's the wave that you—that you're fearful of that might knock you off your board. It's not the one you ride, it's the one behind that might just give you the spin, and you come off." And I loved it. So, that became the program. I did actually say to Chris after '05, "Why don't we start a gallery called Rogue Wave, and you could be the director?" I asked him to do it. And he thought about it but he declined. He's an artist, he's a practicing artist, and that's what he wanted to focus on, so I said, fine. So I've gone ahead and I'm making my own plans for Rogue Wave now. We have trademarked the name in all visual arts fields, worldwide.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But I think—you know, to my thinking, if it was isolated as simply Rogue Wave it would be less interesting than having it within the context of all this divergent work, work that has various histories. And so having it, that—it's more dynamic. If it was just—that's my theory.

PETER GOULDS:  No, that's good of you. And you're right. And so that, initially, I was—this is all pre-Culver City, by the way. I entered into negotiations with Culver City about four years ago to have them collaborate on this. Because they have an arts, you know, community to partner to, a development agency. And I couldn't make ground with them certainly, and I didn't. Again, I'm grateful, now to Sean Kelly. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful now he did what he did. Because it saved me from a lifestyle I wouldn't have done well in. And so it was with that because you are right, the observation you've instinctively made is the correct one.

We are, after this Rogue Wave '09, which will just be announced like any other show, are going to announce the formation of Rogue Wave as an entity, after that. I mean, I'm telling you now because you're documenting this, but it's something confidential. Otherwise, I wouldn't. We will be announcing the formation of Rogue Wave. It will start in January of 2010, but it will be Rogue Wave at L.A. Louver and there will be parallel programs that will go on at the same time. But they're not—it's going to be different, it's not going to be this group. What you'll see next summer will be a continuation of what you—not what you've seen, but the format of what you'd experienced in summer programs. Whereby, we'll make a selection of 10, 11, 12, whatever it is, number of artists that will be shown. With this catalog getting circulated, and the website designed, and so on. And the idea of Rogue Wave was never to go out looking for artists so—Gajin came to us through the first one. And Ben Jackel has come to us through the next one. Now Eduardo [Sarabia] is a project. We're not representing him, that's just a one-time project. And we're going to do one or two more that come from Rogue Wave like that. We might do one with Dan Ho next year.

But after next summer's group show exercise, then our choices of Rogue Wave are going to be a little different. And Rogue Wave will take on a different form. It's going to become international, it's not going to be group shows, it's going to be individual artists and they will be emerging artists, but in my mind, right now, it could change. So this is a bit of a prelude that might not manifest itself to be the conclusion. But I'm trying to find a way as an art dealer now approaching 60 to think about, well, how do you go on without just repeating yourself? Or just dying on the vine by attrition, because your artists are getting as old as you are, or older. Or—and how do you stay engaged with the next generation? Now, you can do it in a variety of ways, you can do it in the way I have been, through these group shows. They certainly have facilitated us healthily for a decade now, almost.

It gets me out into the studios. You know, we may show as we did last time, 11 artists, but we went to 35 studios. We looked at the works of over 160 artists for that show. We have a library just devoted to this. So this is good for the mind, this is good for the dialogue, this is good for the spirit. And certainly, picking up even two artists out of that, especially two like Gajin and Ben Jackel can be, here is a bonus we may not always have found. But I'm rather more thinking the reality is that when you go to a studio, whether you like it or not, and you're 60, or approaching it, and the truth is, you know, you talk to a 20-year-old and you're 60, and whether you like it or not, you're into a parental peer group, you know, mentoring kind of role. Even if you don't want that, that's where you get put. And fair enough. So, if you notice, I've got a group of young people working around that, and it's not by accident.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  [Laughs.] But I think—

PETER GOULDS:  So, I'm looking to another generation who have that ability to communicate, and then I'm thinking, you know, you can't create an artificial situation, so you have to either be prepared to let go of all that, which one part of me is almost ready to do. And then another part of me says, "Well, you know, you can't buck the odds. What is going on now, what is the current situation?"

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.] Yeah.

PETER GOULDS:  My assessment of the current situation is that we've entered a time where art, you know—it's an ironic time, maybe all times are, but in my education in the '60s, we were told to look for bridges between things. The Marshall McLuhans, the Buckminster Fullers, even the Reyner Banhams of the world, were suggesting—that's why he found LA so interesting, because of its connectedness. Its ability to transcend distances and time, and in essence, space. Others have broader ideas of time, but they were always essentially—and even John Berger, Ways of Seeing, is about that. But, then we went into a period of vocational study. By the time I was a teacher, which was not long after I was a student, by the time 1972 rolled around, I was a teacher. People were looking—and I was only 24, people were looking for vocational studies. They were looking for skills to get a job. They were looking for how they could write up their resumes or make their portfolios. And I was employed at 24, and I didn't even know how to do those things myself. And this is what the skill—this is—these are the skills they wanted imparted to them. And of course, bless his heart, John Baldessari was telling everyone they don't need to draw anymore. When of course, he studied drawing, and when of course he goes—he's gone back to painting now, which involves drawing. And I remember being on a Paul Vangelisti interview on the radio. We used to have those radio programs in the '80s. And John Baldessari and I were debating the virtues of drawing, I remember. And—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  Rico Lebrun was his teacher—was John's—

PETER GOULDS:  Oh, I know, I know, I know. And so anyway, John was doing all of that, and gaining ground and of course, John was becoming John. And that was fine. But what he did, and he and of course his predecessors like, you know, Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, and Joseph Kosuth, and so on, were all postulating a theory. And theory dominated such that, the next 20 years, drawing was almost relegated out of the art school system. I mean, the only reason that Otis has a second life now is because it never actually did that. Drawing remained a very important part of its central foundation courses. And even when they got over their near bankruptcy, they did—they were able to do so, because the applied artist departments, that are now creative, all required drawing as an essential thing. And now every kid applying for art school today is looking for drawing. I mean, it's one of the few places where drawing can still be taught.

So the irony is today, in my view, is that we have another generation who are about to emerge who can draw, but this notion of networking, and bridges, and so on, is very much a part of today's generation, people under 33 years of age, and even younger, my son, 18. This is what they do automatically. Without even thinking, they're looking to connect to this, looking to connect to that. However superficial that may be, that's what they're doing. Rigorous study is over, in-depth studies by serious writers has evaporated. And the vehicles for it are diminishing in the face of vehicles expanding, more of this and that. And then we look and we see studio practice, not just the Jeff Koons and the Damien Hirsts of the world, who is a post-Warhol kind of character. You know, studio assistants are predominantly part of the working process, applications of one form or another need to be happening. So consequently, you know, an artist like Murakami would even have a shop in a museum show because of the applications of their forms. So I'm thinking of a Rogue Wave whereby a series of choices are made about artists where the transference of their ideas to other forms is a natural part of what they will do next. Don't fight—don't buck—don't fight the buck, trend. How can you integrate your thoughts into it? So that will be the Rogue Wave we launch in January '10.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I think in Los Angeles, particularly to my—there's a strand that's—of work that incorporates a lot of the handmade, a lot of, you know, traditional scale, linked to new technologies. And not—they're not separated. They're not that you go in the one—you know—no, you know—the human touch is lost—there's, you know—there's this acceptance that both of these things, you know, exist in the world and have value and can be incorporated with one another. And I think that's—I suppose it's happening other places as well, but I still think there is that atmosphere in Los Angeles of that type of work being made and these, you know—back to these kind of offbeat exhibition spaces and—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, that I'm not so sure of. But when there's a recession, that will happen again. But I am sure about the first part of your response—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  I guess they're not really offbeat, these kind of, you know, Center for Land Use Interpretation and Machine Project, and you know—Tom calls them all sort of the, you know—there's a Museum of Jurassic Technology, and then kind of all these, like, little—

PETER GOULDS:  Satellites?


PETER GOULDS:  Well, I don't know about all that. All I'm thinking for my own part is to say, you know, by then I'll be approaching 62, and this gives me, you know, prospectively 20 more years of vitality. I don't want to keep looking backwards. Right now I'm redesigning this website. By the end of the year, I keep saying—I keep putting it off, so I have a reason I keep putting it off, but anyway—sometime in the next six months to a year, we're going to launch a revised website. In it, your access to different things will be quicker and easier and blah, blah, blah. The navigation will be clean and crisp, and all of those good things. But you also have the whole history of the gallery posted. Not every review, of course, and not every—but every listing. You'll be able to matrix into our history in one fell swoop, because I want to close the door on it. I want to move on from there.

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  And you probably want to eat lunch now.

PETER GOULDS:  It's okay, it's okay—

SUSAN FORD MORGAN:  But I think that the through-line to all of this, to what you're saying, is the kind of engagement that's essential to what you do and how you operate as—you know. And, it's funny because it comes out in different things, when you said, you know, going to Zeitgeist earlier, you know, because it's being involved in the process and the thinking of the art-making and exhibition, rather than only at the level of the resolved presentation—

PETER GOULDS:  Well, for me, one of the great, great—

[END OF TRACK AAA_goulds08_4133.]

PETER GOULDS: —great, great, great, great, experiences I've ever had, and I've had many—I mean, really a lot, more than certainly even two lifetimes—but one of the great experiences I've ever had was in those five days of the Zeitgeist, the prelude to Zeitgeist. I had the privilege of watching Joseph Beuys install the rotunda area of the Zeitgeist. This whole central rotunda area was his. And every day, I went—not all day, but for an hour or so—and I watched him make this piece with his students. And in the evening he was often at dinner, sometimes even at my table, because we all ate together—at the Paris Bar—and—you know, or he'd be nearby. And not that he is necessarily one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, although I happen to think he is, but just watching him work, because there was no beginning, middle, and end. He just went through the process of the piece being rearranged until there was no more time. And when there was no more time, he stopped. But had they allowed him, he would have carried on for the length of the whole Zeitgeist. In other words, the rearranging, and the moving, reassembling, and putting this over here and putting that over there, and doing this over here and doing this over there, was the piece. So I saw the piece. No one—only people that saw the piece were the people that happened to be able to go in during those five days. What you saw at the end, was the relic, it wasn't the piece. The piece was the doing, the piece was the process. And of course, that there made total sense to his statement.

[END OF TRACK AAA_goulds08_4134.]


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Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Peter Goulds, 2008 Mar.24-July 28. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.