Corey Armpriester interviews painter Bud Hopkins (b. 1931). Hopkins was a Cedar Tavern regular, Mark Rothko's lunch companion, and friend of Robert Motherwell. Hopkins is an abstract expressionist artist with works in "the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim Museum." He is also "a pioneer in the field of UFO research ... and has written books on the UFO phenomena...
Although better known in recent years for his parallel career as a UFO advocate and author, Budd Hopkins, who passed away this week at the age of 80, deserves to be remembered for his painting career that spanned more than 50 years.
Budd Hopkins, Aquarius III ,1971 Oil on canvas 80 x 68 inches, courtesy:Levis Fine Art
Hopkins came of age as an artist in the 1950's becoming friendly with Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline and other artists of the New York School. He began to exhibit energetic, athletic abstraction at Poindexter Gallery in 1956 and continued to paint and exhibit for the rest of his life.
As his painterly, gestural approach eventually gave way to more hard-edged style, Hopkins maintained that the emotional drive that intially attracted him to Abstract Expressionism remained at the core of his work.
Asked in a 2010 interview how he felt about "idea-centric art," Hopkins replied, "What's that going to do for me emotionally? That's why I think in a certain sense the 20th Century ended up being won by Duchamp rather than Picasso. It's all very clever, but for how long? Emotional expression is far more important." 1
In a separate statement, Hopkins noted, "My paintings and sculptures, at first glance, may appear to be purely aesthetic; closer up, they are not. They hold a feeling of tentativeness, combined with a sense of arrival." 2
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.