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TitleNATIONAL LIFE STORIES ARTISTS' LIVES Paul Neagu Interviewed by Mel Gooding C466/27
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Page 225

Paul Neagu
C466/27/10 F4538B Page 222

© The British Library Board

F4538 Side B

.....discussing, Paul, the situation at the school in Rome as you found it.

Yes, I was saying that the people who were managing art there were just ordinary

local people with little awareness of the scene at large, in other words they didn't have

enough courage when it comes to European affairs. I knew a lot more than they did,

and yet I was just an artist. When I came through with a lot of suggestions, a lot of

lectures on very special subjects, like visual hermeneutics, and the producing of a

book and then making an exhibition of this or that kind, they weren't very happy

because I was ignoring the young and famous who they wanted to exhibit. In other

words their main concern, this was the main problem between me and them, the

contradictions were that they wanted to make the school better known in Italy, by

which they were exporting artists who already were very well known in the whole of

Europe more or less, like Gilbert and George, Howard Hodgkin, and Paolozzi,

because they were attracting people to their presentations. My points were, what's

the...what's so new about inviting Paolozzi to give a lecture to the Italian public? If

you want to make the school a solid, exciting place, then you start bringing things

which are not known about the British art scene, which were plenty back here. So,

we ended up by me having to leave simply because it came to an end, my advice was

remarked and registered in the proper paper way, and that was the end of it. Since

then I've been asked once or twice to contribute art work for auctions because they

want to improve the school, but it's nothing changing that form of management, in

fact the director has been changed and just this year I had two ex-students of mine

who went through there, partly because I supported them. So I continue to be part of

the, if you like the English scene, and yet I have a place which is very peripheral to

the central events. For instance, to give you a very sore point, I wouldn't mind if you

could take it, I will talk about a very personal relationship. In 1975 when I had my

first very strong exhibition at Oxford, the director of that museum happened to be a

gentleman called Nick Serota. We were very good friends almost, very much on the

same tune, supporting each other, and since then, of course my base was London and

Nick Serota became director of the Whitechapel, soon after, a few years at the

Whitechapel he moved to the Tate Gallery. These days if we happen to meet

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