Making Bad Art / by Chris Hall

Paul Thek, Bread and Buttocks, 1979-1980

In August 1981, Paul Thek writes to Franz Deckwitz from New York: 
I am doing more newspaper ptgs, interesting, mind stopping, and super BRAT, but still I miss the good painting of Ponza, the eternal painting, while here in "civilization" I want only to do BAD painting, to shock and hurt them, I don't want to console them here etc etc but it hurts MY spirit ALWAYS to do the bad painting, so I miss Ponza and eternity.

With love I draw what I hate. Harold Town

Somehow over the years, I have become a more critical artist, loving to draw on the things I hate, and sometimes seeking to shock and produce Bad Painting.  I, too miss the eternal painting, on such themes as life, death, rebirth, all the things that make up the Great Mystery.  Is the creation of Bad Painting a critical response to the absurdities of modern life, or symptomatic of it?  I really don’t know anymore.  

Damn the city, damn “civilization.”  Philadelphia could sometimes be hard on the spirit.  New York would have killed it completely.  I hope Atlanta will be better.