FW Exclusive: Judah Friedlander On His New 30 Rock Co-Star, the Appeal of Bad Art and the Story Behind the Slogan Hats


30 ROCK resident wisecracker JUDAH FRIEDLANDER doesn’t believe in the concept of bad art. But he does have rules about mixing art and relationships: “If a girl had an ANDREW WYETH painting of KARL ROVE on one side of her bed and a LEROY NEIMAN painting of GEORGE BUSH on the other side, I’d have to leave.”

Excellently put and quite possibly the reason New York Magazine picked him to host their Bad Art Auction featuring XIU XIU at Le Poisson Rouge on November 19. For your chance to win a pair of tickets to the event, email a recent Heard in the Crowd to tips [at] flavorpill [dot] com. The best four will receive a pair of tickets and the honor of having their words published on the blog.

After the jump, our in-depth interview where Friedlander reveals why Polish women love him, his idea of the perfect painting, and the meaning behind his bottomless supply of slogan hats.

Flavorwire: We’ve read that 30 ROCK is casting you an older Polish cleaning lady as a flame. Can you give us any details?

Judah Friedlander: Yeah, just that Polish chicks get turned on by me, especially the old ones, ’cause they know what to look for in a real man. The younger girls are hot, but they don’t always know what makes a real man a real man.

FW: What is the greatest piece of bad art that you own?

JF: When I finish the oil self portrait of me banging 50 chicks at once on top of the Empire State Building while Mayor Bloomberg is high-fiving me; that will be the best piece of art that I own. And for the record, I don’t call bad art “bad art”, I call it “amazing art”. Because by calling it “bad”, you’re basing your description of it on another institution’s criteria of what makes art good or bad (a museum’s or gallery’s or art critic’s opinion).

I’ve been collecting art for over 20 years. And I really think the bad art that I collect is amazing. It interests me. If art doesn’t interest me, I THEN think it’s bad. The art I collect; other people may call it bad, but I call it amazing. I like to do my own art too. I have a painting I did of a dog sitting down and behind him is a black velvet painting of humans playing poker. I’m pretty proud of that one too.

FW: Are your slogan hats a form of bad art?

JF: I’ve been making my own hats for about 15 years. And, yes some people may consider them a form of bad art. Sounds like you do. I think art is something you can find anywhere and everywhere — it doesn’t have to be a painting or a sculpture.

In this photo I’m holding art from my collection that I will be selling on the 19th. Some if not all the art that I’m going to auction off will be from my own collection. And I will be curating the auction as well as hosting. Yes, I take art very seriously.

I have a bad art gallery of some of my collection and favorite pieces here.