1. Tell us about the last time you went to an art exhibition, installation, or museum. How often do you go to see art? Do you seek it out, or have it forced upon you?
I love art museums and I go every chance I get. They're one of the first things I look for when I visit other cities. Last summer I went to the Hirshhorn three times to see the Anselm Kiefer show there. I had a nice time at the Art Institute of Chicago in November. And I was at the Freer Gallery, one of the Smithsonian's Asian art museums, just a couple of weeks ago for an Iranian film festival.
2. Which periods or styles of art do you particularly like? Why?
It's easier to name my favorite artists: Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer, tied for the top spot; Thomas Gainsborough; Edouard Manet; 19th- and early 20th-century Americans like John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Charles Sheeler and Andrew Wyeth; an African-American guy, currently active, named Joseph Norman; environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy. I like drawings and all sorts of prints: engravings, etchings, lithographs. I find it easier to appreciate black-and-white or monochromatic work than something highly colorful. I guess line and form mean more to me than color, or maybe I just feel that color is too much to process on top of everything else in a painting. A high concept can be fabulous, but I have a lot of respect for realism and quality of technical execution too. I definitely prefer 2D work to sculpture, but I like a good installation too.
3. Which periods or styles of art do you particularly dislike? Why?
I like to think that I can respect and understand works from every school of art, but I have a hard time enjoying purely conceptual art, the kind that is made with no regard at all for visual impact (not that I can think of an example off the top of my head). I'm not crazy about Salvador Dali. I respect Paul Cézanne's work more than I enjoy it. I find Roy Lichtenstein highly overrated.
4. Do you make art yourself? Which kinds of art?
No, not really. I've taken some drawing classes and I have an idea for a series of self-portraits I want to do, but so far they remain unexecuted.
5. What role does art play in your life in general?
Art museums are where I go to contemplate and recharge. During my long hiatus from the Catholic Church, visiting an art museum was the closest I came to a religious experience.