January 12, 2020

I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going

Today there was an article in the NYT about McDermott & McGough, a couple of artists and lovers who collaborated on paintings, photographs, films and sculpture. The article describes their breakup, but I found much more interesting, how they were able to live n a fantasy world, anchored in the past while living in the middle of the New York of the 1980s. I mean… what a feat!

Half of the Victorian-inspired art duo McDermott & McGough, Mr. McGough has written a memoir about his partnership with Mr. McDermott, “I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going,” in which he recounts their bizarre journey as time-traveling artists known as much for their retro lifestyle as for their pseudo-historical art.

They dressed in Edwardian clothes, drove a 1913 Model-T Ford and eschewed modern conveniences. As lovers, they shared an apartment on Avenue C that lacked a telephone, television or electric lights.

And it wasn’t just appearances. They even renounced the technologies necessary to keep them connected to one another. Talk about dedication.

As the more doctrinaire of the two, Mr. McDermott never joined the digital age. He has no smartphone or email, Mr. McGough said, and it’s not clear if he has even heard of Facebook and Twitter.

Contacting him is not quite as antiquated as sending a messenger on horseback, but close. Mr. McGough has to first send a text message to a man named James, a friend of Mr. McDermott’s in Ireland. If James happens to be in Mr. McDermott’s presence, he passes on the message, at which point Mr. McDermott may or may not agree to speak.

They Were Victorian Dandies Who Made Art. Now One Is Broke.

January 12, 2020


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