William S. Burroughs & Philip Taaffe
Drawing Dialogue, 2019
When William S. Burroughs first received Philip Taaffe in February 1987, he was 73 years old and had lost none of his elegant dress habits or passion for drugs, while the second was a promising 31-year-old painter in the flower of age and halo of recent glory. On the occasion of their meeting in Lawrence, Kansas, where Burroughs had been established since 1982, the two artists produce together a series of collaborative drawings and various shots on pots of paints and plywood. This project reminds Burroughs of the joy he had felt five years ago in making his first "shotgun paintings". A few months after their meeting, the late Pat Hearn Gallery publishes a booklet on the collaboration between Burroughs and Taaffe and shows - presumably in the discretion of its showroom - the twenty or so works made in common, most of which have remained in the hands of Burroughs, then the Estate. In pursuit of the critical work initiated by the Semiose Gallery around Burroughs' painted work - notably the publication of Pleased to Meet You, William S. Burroughs, published in 2016 - a beautiful book that reproduces works made by 4 hands and documents the different aspects of this meeting, notably with the facsimile of the booklet published at the time. It includes an essay by Brice Matthieussent, an interview with James Grauerholz (friend and secretary of Burroughs, now Literary Executor William S. Burroughs Estate), testimonials by Tony Oursler and Philip Taaffe and excerpts from the conversation recorded between both artists on February 1, 1987.