You had a kind of vision as a young man that changed your life and work. Can you tell me about that?
It was 1975. I had spent the year at the Boston Museum School doing some very bizarre performance works. The last one included going to the North Magnetic Pole and spending all of my money. I came back exhilarated and exhausted, not to mention slightly suicidal. I was pretty young, like 21. I’d been searching, and I just didn’t understand what my life was all about. So at one point I kind of asked, “If there is a God, then please give me a sign.”
Then, on the last day of art school, I was standing on a street corner, saying goodbye to my professor, when this woman drove by and invited us to a party later that night. My professor picked me up that evening and offered me a bottle of Kahlua and LSD, and since I felt like I had nothing to lose – I had never done psychedelics before – I tried it. I drank about half the bottle. And when we got to the front door of the lady giving the party, I told her what was in the bottle, and she drank the rest of it. I went into her apartment, sat on a couch and closed my eyes; inside of my head it seemed like everything was in a big, dark tunnel, but I was revolving around in a spiral toward the light. There was this beautiful, amazing kind of luminosity, a kind of light that I’d never imagined. It was the light of love, the light of redemption, in a weird way. I felt a kind of ecstatic joyfulness that was a real release from my depression, and I saw the experience as symbolically important in that I was in the dark, going toward the light.
This was a kind of spiritual awakening for you?
Exactly. It was like going through a spiritual rebirth canal. And it was like nothing I had experienced before. I called the girl (the party giver) the next day, and asked if we could get together and talk about the experience. She ended up being my wife, 33 years ago. So it was a definite turning point. I had met a sort of divine love in the flesh in the form of my wife, and this definitely opened me up to a new realm.