Ralph Gardner visited with James Frey for the Wall Street Journal as part of the press call for the auction house’s Divine Comedy exhibition:
“Art influences me much more than writing does,” he explained. “I can imagine Warhol sitting there,” he continued, of “Repent and Sin No More,” a 1985 silkscreen of just those words against a black canvas (and one more example of Warhol’s genius escaping me) “and having a conversation with somebody, and talking about sex and drugs, and somebody says, “Repent and sin no more.’ ”
” ‘Should I repent and sin no more?’ ” Mr. Frey went on. “My answer is no. I’m very pro sin.”
While I am too—finding virtue, or what masquerades under its name these days, greatly overrated—I can’t say we bonded until we arrived in front of Richard Prince’s “School Nurse,” who looks nothing like my school nurse. Mr. Frey said he has a Prince nurse in his own collection, and while he resisted describing the subject matter on the record, he said the Sotheby’s piece, of a vixen with blood streaming from her operating mask, is tame by comparison.
“That has to stay in my office at home,” he reported. “We have a 5-year-old daughter who sees it all the time and asks what is it. ‘It’s art. It’s like paintings of beautiful women that are 500 years old.’ ” I doubt she bought the explanation. Neither did my daughters when I told them that the Pop Art painting over our mantelpiece of a love goddess—whose face is obscured by a black cloud, but whose breasts are rendered with great elan—was a color-field painting. Like Mr. Frey, my wife informed me when we moved into our new apartment that it was going to reside in my home office. Twenty years later, it still has pride of place in our living room. A member of the family.
A Divine Intervention (Wall Street Journal)