My American Dream (Marlborough)
Blue Jesus, 1997 Oil on linen 60 × 40 inches
Blue Jesus, 1997
Oil on linen 60 × 40 inches

This is of the actor Jeffrey Hunter, from the 1961 movie King of Kings, but really it is just a talisman to the "real thing" a painting of Christ who in this instance resembles this person, but hopefully is so much more. Back in this time, we were going through a lot—Andrew and I lived on Christopher Street in the West Village in a tiny apartment with the bathtub in the kitchen, and fortunately I had a studio in the East Village on 8th between 1st and Avenue A, past Tompkins Square park, where I made this painting. I was going through a blue period, as I was feeling blue, and working with black and white imagery that suggested it (the earlier Frankenstein painting in the exhibition is from this same period, as a sort of Lazarus or abject person seeking redemption). This was a hopeful image for me, and I was first exploring making figurative work that broke into abstraction, and abstract works that came together in figurative ways, and I liked how it seams that the corporeal body of Christ seems also to break into a spiritual one—or Holy Ghost, if you will… Like my hero Michelangelo, I hope it is both sacred and profane, that it is a handsome picture of Him, but also a sincere and spiritual one. Although I’m not religious per se, I’m always holding my hand of the flame of different spiritualities, trying to gleam the truth and energy from each I explore, and I was definitely in the need and desire to seek whilst making this work. I’ll never forget the great comments I got walking this painting back home across town—when the UPS guys tell you it’s a good painting, its hopeful you got a good one! Jay wanted to put it above the stairs in my Jay Gorney solo show debut, however Andrew and I freaked out that it might misguide people about the rest of the show, or somehow make people read it in a wrong way. We lived with this work for years and years in our bedroom in our cabin home in California, and it always meant so much to us and the real feng-shui of our lives, and I’m so glad to finally be able to exhibit its good energy to the world.