WHEN I READ MY THOUGHTS I AM BOTH PLEASED AND DISAPPOINTED WITH WHAT I SEE HUNGRY 100,000 WORDS SOME THOUGHTS BETWEEN AUGUST 2013 (2012) AND NOW: AN ARTIST TRYING TO BUILD A HOUSE INSIDE OF A TORNADO, 2016
Director/Editor: Charles Atlas. Choreography: Michael Clark. Dancers: Gaby Agis, Leslie Bryant, Michael Clark, Matthew Hawkins, Julie Hood, Ellen van Schuylenburch. Music: Glenn Branca, The Fall, Bruce Gilbert, Jeffrey Hinton. Camera: John Simmons. Producer: Jolyon Wimhurst.
Kayla Fanelli: Hi Water, you seem to be an international man of mystery. Can you tell me more about your art background and the evolution of the gallery?
Water McBeer: My background is not your typical background for such a prestigious dealer. I had a humble beginning raised by my teenage parents in a hippie commune in northern California, hence the name Water. My three siblings are named Wind, Fire, and Dirt. At the ripe age of 15, I inherited my distant uncle’s massive art collection. I had never met the man, but he died alone and senile with over 2.3 billion dollars worth of art and signed it all over to me in his will. So, I left my family behind to fend for themselves and pursued a life as a powerful art dealer.
KF: You started Water McBeer Gallery in San Francisco. What made you move to New York?
WM: San Francisco is a small bubble tucked away from the spotlight of New York or Los Angeles. I was looking to burst that bubble and expand so that my gallery may shine bright in the sea of art darkness that is LA and NYC.
KF: Is it easier to get rich as a dealer on the east coast or west coast? Any tips for opening a gallery?
WM: All you need to run a gallery is a website and a wifi connection. The world is your global village, there is no need to be anywhere. A galleries physical existence is obsolete in cyberspace and prosperity is at your fingertips, if you can just reach out and grab it.
KF: You've shown some incredible artists in the past, everyone from Carol Bove and Ajay Kurian to Eric Shaw and Cosmo DeBrie, can you tell me more about your experience representing talent?
WM: Listen Kayla, I know what I like and I’ve been alive for 53 years. I know what people like and I know what my collectors like. I can sniff the hot new talent from miles away like a steaming casserole. When I pick up the scent of a fresh new artist, my mouth starts watering and my lips start quivering. I sink my teeth in and don’t let go.
KF: You once said, "I love my artists as much as I love my Maserati." That's a lot of love, but people have called you a fake, how does that make you feel?
WM: It hurts, Kayla. I put my heart and soul into supporting my artists and furthering their careers. These cowards want to tell me that I’m not what I say I am, but I don’t let it get me down. It only fuels the fire that is Water McBeer. Running a gallery is a lot like owning a Maserati. It's a finely tuned machine that takes a lot of love and care to keep running at maximum performance and these jokers in their Toyota Corollas get jealous when I roll by in my Masi. They say hurtful things about me, that I am trying to compensate for the size of my genitals, but I can assure you if you’ve seen the size of my gallery that everything is just fine down there.
KF: You've been known to use a naturalistic selection process for building up your roster, are you still using the same business model?
WM: I've learned everything I know about selecting artists from the mating rituals of the rhinoceros. When a female rhinoceros is ready to mate, she will spray urine on dung piles to alert males that she is in estrus and ready. Males come and urinate on the female’s urine to ward off potential competition. The alpha male will then dominate his competitors and copulation will take place. As a Gallerist, I use a similar process of natural selection. When it comes to artists, I simply choose the most superior mate and dominate my competition.
KF: What can we expect to see in the future?
WM: You can expect to see the whole gallery structure downsized to the bare essentials. With the experience of art being condensed into .jpegs you can expect to see more and more galleries eliminating physical space all together.
KF: I saw on the gallery's Instagram you'll be participating at NADA again this year, what are your thoughts on the art fair?
WM: Very happy to be participating again and will have a strong presence at the fair this year with works by Annie Pearlman, Cosmo DeBrie, Elizabeth Ferry, Matthew Palladino, Last Renaissance, and Jamian Juliano-Villani.
KF: How was Art Basel Miami Beach for you this past year? Do you think the art world is in a slump?
WM: To be honest, I didn't go to the fair. I was too busy sipping pina coladas poolside at the Fontainebleau, while my lovely assistant Hilde was working the fair. My time is valuable and I can’t be bothered with the Art Basel sheep herds. I could care less, if the art world is in a slump or not. It has no effect on me, Water McBeer is untouchable.
KF: Who do you think is the smartest person in the art world right now?
WM: That is a dumb question, I am.
KF: Sorry… I know you've spent some quality time with Bill Clinton, you've even beaten him in a game of golf. President Barack Obama has been known to show up at some of your openings. Do you have close relations with any of the candidates in the upcoming election? Trump, Cruz, Clinton, or Sanders? Do you think Trump will make America great again?
WM: I am big supporter of Trump and believe he is what this country needs to be great again. I am a supporter of greatness and deeply respect Trump’s business model. He’s been a supportive collector of mine since the beginning and he also has beautiful hands.
KF: What other celebrities do you hang out with? Does Leonardo DiCaprio collect any of your artists?
WM: I have a complicated relationship with Leo, he’s rubbed me the wrong way in the past and after dumping Cosmo DeBrie’s glassware on the secondary market for pennies, he’s been cut off from collecting any of my artists.
KF: Instagram seems to be an important channel for self-broadcasting in the art world. What's your relationship to the platform? Do you think it's shaped your identity over the years?
WM: Instagram has been a great platform for me to share my personal life and gallery life in a rapid way to permeate the imagination of my followers and really show them my true self. It's a great way to keep people in the know about what’s happening with the gallery. I can also show a little bit of my fun side and how I like to live my life.
KF: You seem like you know how to live the life, in your opinion, what's the secret to happiness?
WM: It's no secret, Kayla. I have a large sexual appetite and feeding it is the key to my happiness. If I’m not making love, I’m taking great pleasure in the misfortune of others.