“There are people who have said to me, ‘They’re not going to swallow you in the art world until you’re dead,’” the musician, poet, novelist and artist Billy Childish said. “The chance that it has been moved forward 20—or 30 years, hopefully—is something that I never expected.”
Mr. Childish, 51, was speaking on the phone from Chatham, England, where he was born and still lives, and he was discussing his upcoming painting show at the Lower East Side branch of the Lehmann Maupin gallery, which opens Nov. 4. He has had a handful of shows in Europe, but this exhibition will be his first at a commercial gallery in New York.
These days, many visual artists are multitaskers. They write, they make clothing, they work in multiple mediums; art’s expanded field has made experimentation and cross-disciplinary practice not just an attractive option, but de rigueur. Which makes Mr. Childish inadvertently prescient: he has been at it for years. Not that it’s been easy.
“Really creative people are not liked in literature, in art or in music,” he said. “They tend to be excluded, and the reason being that they’re not containable and they’re pains in the ass. I’m one of those people—uncontainable and a pain in the ass.”