PRINT September 1996


CHRISTOPHER MÜNCH MAKES MOVIES out of a fear of missing the action, which is another way of saying he makes movies about mortality. In his 1992 feature debut The Hours and Times, a fictionalized reconstruction of a 1963 weekend John Lennon (Ian Hart) and Beatle manager Brian Epstein (David Angus) spent holed up in a Barcelona hotel room, Münch imagines a horny pas de deux in which Lennon’s light-as-a-feather ride atop the cresting zeitgeist (the last moment of calm before full-blown Beatlemania) makes the fab lad a ready object of fascination for the worldly and ruminative Epstein, his every mortal anxiety in tow. Münch works the charged situation into an affecting evocation of the melancholy of unconsummated desire, but it’s the Beatle conceit that makes the old story new. By the closing sequence, in which Lennon tenders a nonplussed “okay” to Epstein’s solicited promise that they meet on the same park bench exactly a decade later, it’s clear that it’s the specter of fame of a particular late-century verity and pitch—the life-is-short/pop-is-long redemption embodied in Lennon’s burgeoning celebrity—that haunts the quotidian “hours” Epstein suffers enthralled by the pop-historical mop top (and only partially witting cock tease). As spare as it was resonant (the action’s restricted largely to one suite during a single weekend), Münch’s directorial effort was happily in sync with his bare-bones budget, lifting the film above the flood of well-meaning but forgettable indies and earning him a loyal following among cannier film observers.
In Münch’s new feature, Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day, life’s dependable finitude is once again the esthetic lodestone, but here the house-bound existentialism of Hours gives way to elegy. Shot in a ravishing black and white that recalls the photographs of Ansel Adams and O. Winston Link and that earned cameraman Rob Sweeney the cinematography award at last year’s Sundance, Color ostensibly recounts the counterheroic coming of age of second-generation Chinese-American John Lee (Peter Alexander) via his quest to save the foundering Yosemite Valley railroad line. Lee (whose family came to America to build the transcontinental railroad and prospered as merchants) raises the money to buy the railroad, but his out-of-step endeavor (akin to throwing ’90s venture capital after the typewriter) is doomed from the start. As in Hours, it’s the futility of the gesture—the aborted nature of the central narratives—that opens the local action onto the larger poetry, but in Color Münch trades in Epstein’s personal anxiety over the fleeting nature of his earthly stint for Lee’s perplexity before the passage of an entire way of life. As the railroad becomes the film’s symbolic core of mourning, the Ozymandias effect drives Color’s abiding nostalgia, not only in terms of Lee’s quixotic effort but also in a series of relationships (two intimacies with women, one near intimacy with a man) that become palpable for him only as they evaporate. If the Epstein-Lennon dynamic is refigured here in the overwrought but unrequited attentions that the introverted railroad man Skeeter (played by R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe) directs toward the curiously opaque Lee, the film’s overarching romance ultimately revolves around Lee’s relationship to the railroad and his mis-scheduled appointment with destiny, echoed in the sustained visual counterpoint between the white-elephant enormity of the languishing trains and the permanence of the magisterial western landscape (recalling the lyricism of Terence Malick’s farm machinery against the parched Texas panhandle in his 1978 Days of Heaven, a film Münch counts among his favorites).
With its quirky subject matter and self-consciously poetic use of language, Color’s appeal may seem less epiphanic than that of Hours, but for those poised to test the first feature’s extraordinary promise, the more ambitious Color will secure Münch’s status as an auteur of particular and decisive vision. As Color makes the festival rounds in anticipation of an early-winter release, I sat down with Münch to ask him about these two movies, which have moved me as much as any others in contemporary cinema.
Jack Bankowsky

JACK BANKOWSKY: I just read a review of Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day, and I have the feeling that the writer was a bit mystified as to what to make of it. The Hours and Times may have ended up being more accessible because of the John Lennon–Brian Epstein connection, which is something most people can plug into. But to my mind, the films share a lot in terms of thematics and ideas, although the ostensible subject matter of the new film is quirkier.

CHRISTOPHER MÜNCH: Well, I think both came out of a concern for certain types of characters. Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day was difficult to write in the sense that there’s not much of a plot to it; the story emerges from a progression of interactions between the characters. The sister, for instance, was somebody who gave me a strong compass bearing on the protagonist, who was more amorphous and much less concrete for me at the outset. The whole set of relations—the sister, the parents, the family situation in general—was really fertile and out of that came his story, even though I knew, obviously, that I wanted to make a film about this particular railroad and about Yosemite. Similarly, The Hours and Times arose out of a concern for the specific interaction between Epstein and Lennon, which was so tense and heated and was also very fertile for producing a lot of drama out of a minimal set of elements.

JB: How did you get the idea of making a movie about that railroad?

CM: As a child, I had an emotional connection to the Yosemite Valley Railroad similar to John Lee’s. I had read a book about it, and it always stuck in my mind, though I didn’t really visit Yosemite until I was an adult. I wasn’t a railroad enthusiast the way some kids or many adults are, but I did read model-railroading magazines and so forth.

But it was also a question of being concerned with a certain type of individual, a somewhat opaque and emotionally unyielding person, who’s groping his way into adulthood by throwing himself headlong into a romantic but ill-fated undertaking as a way of keeping some of the more pressing issues in his emotional life at bay.

JB: It seems like there are similarities between the Epstein character in The Hours and Times and Skeeter in Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day. Although they’re very different as worldly figures—one’s a sophisticated dandy and the other’s a quiet railroad person—they seem to be in a similar emotional and sexual situation.

CM: Yes, there’s a similar intensity to their longing for another person. It’s probably no coincidence that they were both the characters with whom I identified most strongly.

JB: You identified with the Epstein and Skeeter characters more than—

CM: Yes, definitely more than with the objects of their fascination.

JB: You said you were interested in trains as a kid, but I believe I also remember seeing someplace that Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day was based on an actual story you read.

CM: Yes. There was a guy who, at the age of 18, single-handedly tried to rescue the Yosemite Valley Railroad. He attempted to make the necessary securities transactions that would have allowed him to float a bond issue to purchase the road, which was for sale at a rock-bottom price. He was really ahead of his time. There wasn’t as much concern about short lines disappearing as there later came to be in the early to mid ’50s. At the time of his story, everyone wanted to cut up locomotives, because they were more valuable as scrap iron.

JB: You started with a news item, not fiction.

CM: Right, although the character in my film—his family background and ancestry, his strange relationship to the world—has nothing to do with this real-life person.

JB: What about the titles, both of which I love? Where did they come from?

CM: The Hours and Times comes from a sonnet of Shakespeare’s, the 57th: “Being your slave, what should I do but tend / Upon the hours and times of your desire?” Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day is probably a more idiosyncratic choice. It comes from an Octavio Paz poem that I admire a lot—Piedra del sol. It has no particular connection to the railroad story, but at the most abstract level certain feelings in the works may coincide.

JB: With The Hours and Times, you did virtually everything—producing, directing—yourself, including the cinematography. How did you divide up the work in the new film?

CM: I wouldn’t have been able to do it all myself. Andrea Sperling produced the film with me, and she’s a really talented young woman from California who’s done quite a lot of work. Her willingness to stick with the project made the film happen. I don’t think my own patience—even though I do have a lot of patience—would have been sufficient to carry it through the nearly constant uncertainty over knowing where the next dollar would come from. The photographer, Rob Sweeney, is somebody I met in L.A. about ten years ago; he was camera assistant on a film I made called In Laura’s Garden. When he heard I was making a film in Yosemite, he got in touch with me and said: I don’t know if you’re looking for a cinematographer, but I’d like to offer my services. I’m willing to defer my salary, I own considerable equipment that I can bring to the production, and I’ve worked in Yosemite before.

Rob had been working as a fairly successful camera assistant, a focus-puller, for a number of top cinematographers, and he was ready to be shooting his own films. He had matured, I think, in a way that a lot of younger DPs don’t—with all the pressure to do high-visibility work in commercials, music videos, and so forth. The maturity I’m talking about had to do with his inner understanding of light, which came from having watched other people work, and from having had a long time just to think about things in his own way. His work for me and in the couple of other features he’s done concurrently or since then has a distinctive style without being flashy. I tend to be more of a classicist in my photographic tastes.

JB: The Hours and Times was shot in something like eight days, and then you edited it for two years?

CM: Something like that.

JB: What about Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day?

CM: The principal photography took about seven weeks, and it was divided into two sections. Then we did a bit of second-unit work to mop things up. There are always things you don’t foresee needing—or at least I don’t, because I’m not as meticulous about storyboards and shot lists as a lot of other directors. It’s also simply not practical to shoot inserts and second-unit material while you have the whole company there waiting around.

JB: How long was the film in the works after you shot it?

CM: I spent about a year, or maybe a little more, editing it. I think nowadays there’s a tendency toward unrealistic postproduction schedules, partly due to the fact that computer technologies make it seem as though everything can go so much easier and faster. But a film really needs time to find its voice—or rather for the editor to find the film’s inner rhythm and get a sense of how things are working in relation to that. You can’t rush it. In any production, unfortunately, there’s an enormous financial impetus to finish the film as quickly as possible, since the interest is accumulating so rapidly.

JB: So all in all it wasn’t such a long and arduous project.

CM: The shooting, no. The time I spent writing it and trying to set it up as a somewhat larger picture took much longer. The initial approach that I thought would work was to write something decent and then cast it with name actors that would help me to get financing. That’s a route a lot of filmmakers take. But it didn’t really work out ultimately—so that’s when we realized that we’d have to approach it more on the level we were accustomed to, as a production where most things don’t get paid for. You know, you have a little bit of money, and you try to make it go as far as possible.

JB: Would you be making these same films if you had a more unlimited budget?

CM: Well, it’s interesting. As far as my already completed work is concerned, the absence of a certain level of financial comfort has necessitated some simplification, I think, and some esthetic choices that ended up being appropriate to the story. With Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day, I don’t really know how I would have done it differently if I’d had more money. I think there would have been a chance to work in a more meticulous way in terms of the wardrobe and art direction. But as far as really fundamental differences, I don’t know. There’s probably a lot of truth to the adage that you can make any film for any amount of money. I think it’s just a question of whether your story has enough elements—“the package,” as they call the actors who are attached to it—and whether it all adds up as financially viable in the end. If it is, you can obtain a certain level of financing for the work, and if it doesn’t, you can’t.

JB: Did you approach Keanu Reeves? You mentioned someplace that at one point you were thinking of him.

CM: Yes, there was a time when he was interested in doing it, but that didn’t come to pass.

JB: Who’s the actor you finally settled on?

CM: Peter Alexander. I met him through an ad in Backstage. He was actually the last person I met while I was in New York looking to fill the part. He had an easygoing, sort of comfortable quality, which is the antithesis, in a way, of his character in the film, who was originally written as more awkward. But that changed as Peter became involved and as we rehearsed. You try and work with an actor the way he is; you use it to your advantage. Peter hadn’t done very much work before, but he was really a wonderful collaborator. He had a tremendous interest in the process of making the film that enabled him to help us in a lot of situations where we had no crew—like in the second-unit photography.

JB: How did Michael Stipe come about?

CM: I asked him if he would do it. Although Michael is nothing like the character he plays, I suppose something about the way I imagined him to be (before I knew him) inspired something about the character, who was originally supposed to be younger. When I finally got down to casting, I thought: Well, why don’t I just make the character older so I could ask Michael to play it? He has a remarkable presence, and visually he’s quite interesting to watch. He wears a lot of himself on his face, which I thought was appropriate for a character whom I had a strong emotional connection to. I admired him on a number of levels. He was very flattered—but at the same time it took him about a year to agree to do it. (Laughs) I think he’s committed to doing things well, in his life and in his career.

JB: Had he acted before?

CM: A number of years ago he appeared in a film of Robert Longo’s called Arena Brains. But that wasn’t a dramatic role in the way this was. As an actor, Michael is a “natural,” and on a technical level he is very astute, as far as being able to hit his marks and deliver lines. He’s had friends who were quite good actors, and because he felt the need to kind of live up to that yardstick, he was not terribly secure about what he was doing, though we tried to be reassuring. He knew my admiration was sincere.

JB: But you knew him personally before the film?

CM: Yes.

JB: What filmmakers and films do you admire?

CM: Among peers working now I very much like Todd Haynes. I also like Carl Franklin’s work, and Allison Anders’. Her Grace of My Heart, with Illeana Douglas, is amazing. She’s one of my longest-term director friends, as is Gregg Araki, who’s always doing interesting work. Lodge Kerrigan is immensely talented. But the people who influenced me the most were people like Antonioni and Bergman, Satyajit Ray, Agnès Varda, and Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick.

JB: The way you used the trains reminded me of the figure of the farm equipment against the landscape in Malick’s Days of Heaven.

CM: Yes, that’s probably one of the films I most admire. It’s interesting that you made that connection.

JB: I came to that film through my interest in your work. I read that you recommend it.

CM: Unfortunately, it doesn’t play well on tape, but at least you were able to see it. The motion picture academy in Hollywood does a series of screenings in which they show films that have received or were nominated for Oscars. I tried to get them to show Days of Heaven in its original road-show form, which very few filmmakers I know have had a chance to see. The prints that turn up nowadays are all 35-millimeter prints with a mono sound track—they just don’t sound very good. But the road-show version of that film, for the few people who were lucky enough to have seen it in ’78 or ’79, is really remarkable. To hear the complexity of the sound track in the way it was originally mixed is phenomenal. But, unfortunately, none of the 70-millimeter prints seem to exist any longer, at least according to Paramount.

JB: That reminds me of the way you began Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day with the sound of waterfalls. Didn’t the sound begin before the actual image?

CM: Yes, yes.

JB: I think you’ve mentioned Barry Lyndon in connection with Kubrick as a film you particularly admire.

CM: Yes, I admire it very much, as well as his other films. Many historical films that have the budget to do so wind up with a rather overwrought art direction that overpowers the story, but Barry Lyndon had superb, finely detailed art direction and photography, combined with a perfect mixture of lyricism and classical narrative construction. The acting is incredibly well realized; it’s a remarkable, underappreciated piece of work. Kubrick really took a different direction after that. I daresay there may have been levels as an artist on which he closed down.

JB: Where did the little poem at the end of Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day come from?

CM: You mean “Some we loved, the loveliest and the best . . .”?

JB: Yes. How did the rest go?

CM: “That time and fate of all their vintage prest, / Have drunk their cup a round or two before, / And one by one crept silently to rest.” That’s from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Actually, in earlier versions of the script there were more references to The Rubaiyat. There’s still one at the beginning, where Skeeter says: “We came like water, and like the wind we’ll go.” In an earlier version, after Peter learns of the marriage of his ex-fiancée, Angela, he’s standing at Glacier Point, and he remembers to himself another passage: “With them the seed of wisdom did I sow, / And with my own hand labored it to grow: / And this was all the harvest that I reaped— / ‘I came like water, and like wind I go.’” There was that reference, and the one at the very end of the film, which came in and out with various cuts of the movie but finally wound up staying in. Although it’s kind of cryptic, the poem did seem to evoke something of the nature of Peter’s passage as a person.

JB: In both films you seemed almost obsessed with mortality, though, I guess, who isn’t? But it was interesting how, near the beginning of The Hours and Times, John Lennon asks Brian Epstein how he wants to be remembered. And then, near the end of the film, Epstein says, “What never was has ended.” The Hours and Times seemed to be about a protracted wait for something that never occurred, and then suddenly it’s all over. That feeling of an almost wistful relationship to the fleeting nature of experience seems very strong in both movies. It’s as if in The Hours and Times it comes out of Epstein’s relationship to Lennon as a pop celebrity who has something of a protagonist-of-history quality about him, and Epstein as a worldly figure who is somewhat more self-conscious about his passage through the moment. Does that lead you to say anything about this kind of theme being played out in both movies?

CM: Well, like most people, I’ve been touched by a number of rather moving interactions—human interactions—in life that have had a wistful sort of nostalgic quality. Even while they were unfolding, there was a real tenuousness, or perhaps moreover a connection to something that was larger than the situation at hand, yet out of reach in a way—one was allowed only to touch some piece of it at a particular moment, and yet this piece was so precious and beautiful that it evoked a strong sense of melancholy.

JB: Without somehow being morose.

CM: Yes. For me, the idea of death evokes that same sort of beautiful melancholy. It’s a yardstick by which one measures things and how one is doing. I mean, if things aren’t working out, I don’t feel inclined to stick around, but if things are working—one doesn’t want to be just marking time, I guess. (Laughs) You don’t want to have regrets at the end of life. It’s very easy to write off painful but somehow very significant emotional connections. By that I mean a friendship or partnership that isn’t perfectly realized, or is more in the realm of something not actualized. And yet, to carry that further, and to pursue and understand it as fully as possible, really provides a great deal of richness, and pain, and hopefully an understanding that comes out of it. (Laughs)

JB: Is Brian Epstein a depressing figure for you?

CM: No, not at all. What’s remarkable about Brian Epstein is that he led his life at such a remarkable pitch and crammed so much living into such a few short years. It wasn’t a lifestyle that could be sustained very easily—his excesses and the way he did things. But I’d like to intersect with the world at the level of generosity that Epstein did, rather than focusing on attaining popular success. Of course, I wouldn’t mind material success, but first and foremost you have to live with your work the rest of your life, so you want it to be something you can be proud of. Really, the only criterion for my selecting a subject for a movie is: Is it something that I would like to see as a film, a film nobody else is going to do in quite the same way? And that’s really important, because it clarifies your priorities and intentions in undertaking a project.

So, in answer to your question, there are certain ways in which I can strongly identify with Epstein’s almost esthetic appreciation of beauty, both in his human interaction and in observing the lives of other people he was connected to.

JB: Well, one did get the feeling from the movie that he had a kind of anxiety—or sadness—about the ephemeral quality of things that John Lennon didn’t share.

CM: Well, for Epstein the emotional reality of their relationship was very different than for Lennon. For Epstein action takes place in the movie in an almost heightened moment where something has to give. It can’t go on like that much longer. And indeed, I think their friendship (outside the film) did evolve in other ways so that it wasn’t quite as angst-ridden for Epstein. I think Lennon also came to a greater understanding of himself through his friendship with Epstein.

JB: Do you think that the railroad as a kind of antiquated technology is a metaphor for film as a medium?

CM: No, I really never drew that connection to film, although more than one person has. But more than anything American railroads are full of ambiguity—the role they played in opening up the country and building the nation, and all the awfulness that was perpetuated in their name. At the same time, the decline of American railroads is a very moving thing.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Michael Flanagan, who published a book called Stations: An Imagined Journey, based on a series of railroad paintings he had made. He had a show of magnificent railroad images around which he constructed an imaginary story of a rather eccentric guy chronicling the decline of this fictitious railroad in the Shenandoah Valley. I recently went on a road trip looking for some of the places he painted. His book captures something exact and poignant about the loss of these things. It’s very beautiful.

JB: Do you have a hotel fetish as well as a train fetish?

CM: (Laughs) No, not really.

JB: The Ahwahnee was a great location. I made a note to myself to check out the hotel and find out whether there were too many tourists there. (Laughs)

CM: The Ahwahnee’s wonderful. One eerie aspect of the place is that it evokes another Kubrick film, The Shining, for which he built a magnificent, fictitious hotel called the Overlook. For the design of the Overlook he drew on a number of hotels, among them the Ahwahnee and the Timberline Lodge, at the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon.

JB: That must have made the Ahwahnee seem a bit creepy.

CM: (Laughs) Yes. One of the actors who came up to work with me was really freaked out by it. Plus, we were working sometimes in the big public areas at three in the morning, when everyone else was gone.

JB: How do you go about writing your films? In Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day, the narrative is almost nonexistent. It’s almost as if you’re layering figures in a poetic sense. There’s obviously a story that pulls it along in terms of the relationships between the characters, but a lot of the dialogue seems to come off as a way to put a kind of idea or figure into play, rather than a device—

CM: To advance the narrative—right.

JB: When, for instance, the characters talk about the arrowheads, in the first reel, as they’re wandering in the meadow in front of the hotel—that doesn’t really go anywhere in terms of the story. You put an idea about time on the table that you then animate in a lot of other ways during the movie. How do you actually write the screenplays? Do you sit down and write a movie like this in a linear way?

CM: Well, Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day was very hard to write—and, as I told you, my main tool for arriving at a sense of what the film should be was just having a sense of characters in relationship to the protagonist. But in various drafts of the script, a lot of the ideas were explored in more depth. I explored the relationship with Angela, the pianist, in much more depth in one version, and the relationship with the sister in another, and the interaction with the mother and father. Skeeter’s background was a little more established. But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself what type of film it is you’re making. I couldn’t put everything in. I really wanted to make a train movie, but one that was still colored by these things that didn’t have anything to do with the railroad.

It’s useful to explore those ideas as you might in writing a piece of fiction, and then discard them while retaining a sense of them. One criticism of the film has been that the relationships are not clear enough, that I didn’t explore the theme of John’s incestuous relationship with his sister or Angela’s self-destructiveness. In one of the earlier versions she kills herself. Or people will say I didn’t explore John’s relationship with Skeeter. But, for me, these things are addressed in just the right way; it’s still a film about a railroad, and that’s what I wanted to make. As far as the actual process of reaching some sort of balance was concerned, Caveh Zahedi, who helped me rework and polish the script, was very useful in resurrecting material that had fallen by the wayside and in clarifying other aspects.

JB: Who is Zahedi?

CM: Caveh Zahedi directed a film called A Little Stiff, and one called I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Anymore. He’s not a professional Hollywood script doctor, but he has a keen analytic sense that I lack and was able to help me see where things needed to be clarified.

The Hours and Times, on the other hand, was a complete gift, from beginning to end. It just seemed to write itself. So that was nice. (Laughs)

The script of Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day was really crafted—whether it’s any good or not is a different question, but I considered it an exercise in craftsmanship. The editing of the film was also an exercise in craft, and in reinventing something many times along the way. The style of acting in the film only became completely apparent to me after I began editing it, because when we were filming it I thought we were aiming for a certain naturalistic style. But then, when I saw it, there was a different type of stylization to the acting, which I think had something to do with its flatness, or how understated it is in a lot of places.

JB: The quality of the acting seemed particular in a way, and it took a while for it to become entirely convincing for me.

CM: Well, it’s not entirely consistent, either, because the cast was a disparate group of performers, some of whom had never acted. Diana Larkin, the young woman who plays the sister, had never acted (although in some ways she “steals the show”), and Michael Stipe hadn’t done a major dramatic role like this. And Peter’s experience was limited. So it was an interesting mix of people who came together almost by chance.

JB: In the first movie, the acting seemed in a way more finessed.

CM: It was very concentrated—it was more an actor’s piece. The film wouldn’t have amounted to much had they not been so talented.

JB: When you talk about Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day as being, on the one hand, about emotional situations you could choose to develop to a greater or lesser degree, and, on the other, about the idea that you wanted to tell a story about a train, or the passage of that mode of transportation, I come back to my example of the arrowhead exchange. Maybe that’s part of telling a story about the train, in a bigger sense. But there are so many snippets of dialogue, especially since the language is so pared down, that seem to open up a kind of meditative space—a thematic about the passage of time, and a kind of anxiety about temporal limits. It seems like these snippets are almost what drives the construction of the screenplay, as much as the characters’ experience. I guess they’re not really separable.

CM: I suppose that’s all part of an attitude or a feeling that I have about trains. I spend most of my time in Los Angeles, where things change constantly. The only reward for living there is having a sense of what it used to be, and how beautiful it once was. It’s really too bad that it’s gotten so out of hand. And my protagonist had a connection to Los Angeles at a particular point in time when it was a much nicer place. One of the rewards of the film was being able to explore that world to some extent.

JB: What are you working on now?

CM: The film I’m going to make next concerns a woman in her late 50s longing to reconnect with a daughter she had put up for adoption many years earlier. The style of the film is something of a departure for me, but it also contains themes that seem to recur in my work. I’m looking forward to it.

JB: What about future projects? Is there anything you’ve always had in the back of your mind and haven’t been able to get to yet?

CM: There’s a script that I’d like to do which is inspired by the eccentric British stone carver and type designer Eric Gill, who has long fascinated me. Also, I very much admire James Baldwin’s great novel Giovanni’s Room, which has had a long history of failed attempts at being made into a movie. I’d love to work on either project.

Jack Bankowsky is editor of Artforum.