Editor’s note: Earlier this fall, David Yezzi, The New Criterion’s poetry editor, interviewed the painter Philip Pearlstein at his apartment and studio in Manhattan’s Garment District.
DAVID YEZZI: Where do you find the objects that you include in your paintings?
PHILIP PEARLSTEIN: Everywhere. This bench that you’re sitting on is a primitive American, made by somebody probably in the 1930s, and obviously it took some skill, but it’s all truly folk art. And it’s documented. It may actually be much earlier. It’s just a slab of wood resting on two cross pieces, but the back and sides are made up of these crudely turned rods. Some dealer had it for sale, and I bought it to use in a painting.
DY: Do you collect objects for their own sake, or is it always with painting in...