PRINT March 2003

’80s AGAIN

Peter Doig

I was in college in the early ’80s, and what affected me most was “A New Spirit in Painting” at the Royal Academy in London. Everyone was in it: Bacon, Warhol, Freud, and Guston. The Italians were there; also Polke and Richter. It was the first time I’d seen many of these painters. And to see them all at once? It was almost too much. It was exciting, but also incredibly confusing, since anything and everything seemed possible. Then there was a huge reaction against the show. It was a good time to be a young painter—and a bad time. You went from having almost nothing to look at in London to having painting in abundance, and a license to explore—and then suddenly the rug was pulled out from under you.

As told to Tim Griffin