Mills Gallery

April 5-May 3, 2019

Opening reception April 5, 2019 6:30-9:30pm

Harold Garde, 95, renowned Abstract Expressionist, lives and works in Maine and New Smyrna Beach after many years in NYC. Boris Garbe invited me to visit on media day and, once there, suggested I interview Harold. Here’s that impromptu interview, edited for space.  

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LS: Burn This Down opens April 5th. What are we burning down?

HG: The idea that traditional learning in art depends on what’s already been done and established, both the system of art, the making of art; and the look of what you make. For the young people particularly or people young in heart, the idea is you build on tradition but don’t respect it, don’t limit yourself to it. You start, you take all those things, you understand what they are, you understand the system stinks, you understand you may be forced to go through the gallery [system] because you have to support yourself—but they’re not good things. They get in the way because you try to conform—and conformity is one of the terrible deaths of art. And society teaches us to conform!

LS: What do you find appealing about showing in this space?

HG: Attitude, more than anything else. I’m a pain in the ass: there’s too many visual distractions here. I’d have had to put a lot of limitations on myself in this space. But I love that you can see it from outside. I love the attitude that says “community.” If I were told that Baselitz was coming and you have five minutes, would you bring something for him to look at, I’d say sure. But if you have it on the corner of 42nd St. and Times Square in the window, thousands of people would walk by.


LS: What would be the perfect space for you?

HG: Remember, I was an architectural designer. I like some of the surfaces [here]. But the tile walls over there? Dreadful. And bad lighting. It’s not a place [designed to] put art first, so the art has to fight what’s here. But on the other hand is the reality. I love the attitude. Young people are getting involved, important people. It’s not intimidating because you see it from the outside, and that’s important. And art’s important! I’m delighted also with Boris, his energy; delighted with his feeling about his purpose. How could I be anything but supportive?

LS: What are you looking forward to on opening night?

HG: Oh, that a couple of people went through some difficulty, some trouble, to have the chance to [come]. Seeing people, meeting people . . . To be in a place—I used to love to walk down a Soho street—where art is primary.

Mills Gallery

1650 Mills Ave. N., Orlando


Linda Saracino, a writer/editor and artist based in metro Orlando, is the ArtScene Press editor.
Image 1: Black Hand Puppet, acrylic on canvas, 1999
Photo: Linda Saracino
Image 2: Interviewing Harold Garde
Photo: Carmen McGuinness
Image 3: Black Vase, acrylic on canvas, 2003
Photo: Linda Saracino
Image 4: (Harold Garde Burn This Down)  [ primary exhibit image ]
Photo: Courtesy Mills Gallery