John Waters in the Walker Art Center galleries (via

Pope of Trash, filmmaker John Waters, who is known for his filthy classics like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble and Hairspray, has joined a biker gang. Surprisingly, it is a contemporary art biker gang.

From curating an exhibition Absentee Landlord at the Walker Art Center to having book signings at the Gagosian Shop and the Paula Cooper Gallery,  to writing an essay on art in his book Role Models, Waters has become an oddball staple in the art world.  Loving artists such as Mike Kelley, who Waters said made galleries look like “a coroner’s office displaying corpses of toys after an airplane crashed into Santa’s sleigh mid-flight on Christmas Eve,” Waters supports the contemporary artists whose art, much like Water’s films, angers the general public.

In an interview with Big Think, Waters speaks on how contemporary art’s purpose is to destroy what came before it. Among other interesting and hilarious comments made in this video, including a description of a work by Karin Sander that would literally kill the collector, I was fascinated by Waters’s assertion that being able to understand contemporary art is like joining a biker gang.

John Waters, “Contemporary Art Hates You,” 2009 (via

Maybe there should be a biker gang of contemporary art enthusiasts with Waters’s own Contemporary Art Hates You (2009) emblazoned on the back of a leather jacket. Another option could be a jacket covered with Waters’s favorite Cy Twombly’s “bad handwriting” art. Imagine roving bands of art lover-delinquents recreating scenes from Ryan Trecartin’s films in public places, terrorizing unsuspecting citizens.

How do you join this contemporary art biker gang, John? I want to sign up.

Emily Colucci is a recently graduated NYU interdisciplinary Master's student with a focus on art history and gender/sexuality studies. Her interests lie in graffiti, street art and New York-based art from...

One reply on “Joining A Contemporary Art Biker Gang With John Waters”

  1. Esotericism from commerce is really what John Waters is speaking about when he says that contemporary art hates society.  This biker gang syndrome ultimately reflects a dearth of quality in the art world and does not attest to an individual’s capacity to appreciate the arts.

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