Allen Jones: “There’s nothing you can do”
Mr. Jones, what made you venture away from painting in favor of sculpture?
I was living in New York at the Chelsea Hotel, and the French artist Arman, who was also staying there, was working with resins and plastics and doing funny things, and it was intriguing. I suddenly saw there was the possibility of making the color, which is, in a way, imprisoned on the canvas surface, free. I loved the idea that the color could dance free of the wall.
You grew up in London — how did you end up in New York in the sixties?
I wanted to go and experience the New York art scene firsthand. It’s not that it was a case of American art being better than European efforts… But European artists had never abandoned the idea of an illusionistic space in a picture, whereas the avant-garde in New York at that time, they were as flat as a pancake, as I liked to say. Whether or not you were a figurative artist like Roy Lichtenstein or an abstract artist like Ellsworth Kelly, in formal terms the pictures were the same. The way that we’re supposed to read history is that America suddenly was free of its European past and had established its own identity and tradition.
Diane Lane: “I try not to draw attention to myself”
Ms. Lane, would you ever consider leaving the United States and living somewhere else?
I think it’s hard to leave what you grew up knowing and identifying with. Honestly, I think it would be harder to leave it now when I feel like every person needs to do what they can to support the health of our country. It’s easy to run away when somebody is weak and sick and failing. It’s like, “It’s been great and thanks for all the good times.” This country needs every person to care and show up and vote and petition and express their vision for rather than letting it get taken over by the loudest voices. It’s an interesting time of history, so I feel like I have to stay, even though I sometimes feel like a hostage. But I speak French and I love Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland… The scale of Europe is so interesting. It’s definitely humbling to travel.
Humbling in what ways?
Well, I like to go on trips that are off the beaten path, that are not these five-star experiences, so that you get a sense of the non-touristic side. I went down to Somaliland recently, which is in Eastern Africa, and I became aware of this woman who leads a hospital. The trip was tied in with a documentary I took part in, where the journalist Nicholas Kristof and his wife travelled to see the experiences that women face globally, starting in China. It is amazing how women are the backbone of most cultures.