Fresh off a panel talk with Quentin Tarantino during the award-season push for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, actors Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio took to the airwaves of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast and started talking about … art. Maron, a comedian and actor whose discursive chat show has hosted guests ranging from Robin Williams to Barack Obama, introduced the topic by way of mentioning his now-ex-girlfriend: artist Sarah Cain.
“The last time I saw you was at that Art Basel thing, right—on the Paramount lot?” Maron says to Pitt, in reference not to Art Basel but instead to a different art fair: Frieze Los Angeles.
After Maron divulges that he and Cain (a painter represented by Vielmetter Los Angeles, Galerie Lelong & Co. in New York, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco) are no longer a couple, Pitt hits him up with a question: “What did you think of her art?”
“I liked it,” Maron says. “I liked it a lot. There’s something about abstraction that either it’s going to work or it’s not. I mean, you’re an abstract guy, right? You like abstract art?”
“I like a lot of art. So does my man here,” Pitt says, nodding to DiCaprio.
DiCaprio chimes in with some colorful talk of learning about art from his father, whom he calls “a Zelig of the counter hippie culture.” “He was a comic-book distributor around Los Angeles, and he used to take me in his station wagon, called the Pus Mobile. It was a broken-down, yellow, messed-up station wagon … Basically every weekend of my life was trucking around to comic-book stores and head shops, selling Duran Duran posters and The Fabulous [Furry] Freak Brothers and Cherry Poptart. … I grew up going to the Doo Dah Parade and hanging out with all these underground artists.”
Talk turns to artists of the sort that DiCaprio, a former ARTnews Top 200 Collector, buys: R. Crumb and Robert Williams.
Of works by Crumb, the actor says, “I picked up a couple, luckily. He is the man from the underground art scene that has hit the marketplace and actually become … you know.”
Maron says of Williams (who appeared on his show back in 2015, with the designation that he “on Marc’s Mount Olympus of Mind-Blowers”): “And Robert Williams is very bitter about it all.”
“I collect Robert Williams, too,” DiCaprio says. “That man is a god to me. You will hear nothing but wonderful things.”
Maron: “He’s great. But that’s one of the weird chips on his shoulder: that, you know, he never got established art success.”
DiCaprio: “Well, he was with Tony Shafrazi in New York for a while. But the whole L.A. underground art scene trying to make it in New York is a very tough transition.”
The art talk not yet extinguished, Maron asks Pitt about artist Thomas Houseago and inquires as to whether he has any of his large sculptures in his home. “Indeed I do,” Pitt says. “And like ’em.”
Queried about what kind of art he gravitates to for his collection, Pitt demurs. “Oh, I wouldn’t know how to describe that,” he says, adding that the word “collection” bothers him.
“You’re not buying it as an investment,” Maron suggests.
“No, no, never,” Pitt says. “Just certain things that move me and I like to be around each day, and that might inspire my kids or something. Some of Thomas’s stuff could scare them as well.”
The attention paid to art at the top winds down when the conversation turns more toward movies, but not before Maron asks Pitt if he’s maintained his recent activity as a sculptor in his own right.
“I have been, on my own,” he says. “What we do is such a collaborative sport … And to do something that is just you on your own and very solitary, I find very meditative.”
Listen to the entire WTF with Marc Maron episode here.