Interlude Docs

Doc 113: Travis Diehl

My good friend Rasmus came across this clip several years ago and sent it to me. He had recognized that the station happened to be the local Fox News affiliate in my hometown, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Zach Wolf and I were in the same high school class. He played football and trombone and, indeed, was a known stoner. Watching it now, I still laugh out loud when he jabs a finger into the middle of what is plainly—as compressed as the image is—a big pot leaf-shaped sunset and says he was inspired by marijuana. What the fuck were they thinking, putting this painting, this guy, on the morning news? That in itself is funnier to me than when Zach springs the Kanye West quote and the reporter skitters back to banter about shaved ice and antiques on Elm Street. It so happens that 132 South Elm Street, on the downtown thoroughfare, is the address of the Woolworth’s lunch counter where the Civil Rights sit-ins began in 1960, led by four students from the same historically Black college where Zach apparently studied art. But let’s keep the politics out of it. As if this cheesy psychedelia laced with sawdust and nude models—the visual equivalent of tripping out on the tinny reverb of a cheap baking pan—isn’t political.

Travis Diehl is a writer, editor, and critic based in New York. His art criticism appears regularly in the New York Times. His poems appear in The Baffler and Forever.


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