Continuity And Focus

Greg Highlen circa 1971 in Bloomington, Indiana
Greg Highlen circa 1971 in Bloomington, Indiana

I am still buzzing over yesterday’s experience of reconnecting with an old friend. When I first met Greg he was living in the small studio that Indiana University gave to fine art majors. No dorm room, no apartment, an early piece of performance art and when I last saw him, sometime in the early seventies, he was sitting on a stoop in front of the apartment in the lower east side where he still lives.

Of course we had to run down the whereabouts of the Bloomington trailer denizens. He didn’t know Dave had passed on and that was a jolt. Greg had hired Dave to prepare the old drive-in screen that Greg repurposed as an installation. Greg loved the trailer and we all thought Greg was magical. Somehow I knew he would ride his bike back in to our life.

Greg is still a big idea, small footprint kinda guy. When the phone rang with his name on it it was as if he had crawled out of a cave. He has been living a self described, introspective, contemplative life devoted to art and he was excited to tell me he had recently come full circle in a long journey where he had set aside the production of tangible work. I had to hang up when someone knocked on our door. I told him I would call back to say goodbye but that would be silly.


4 Replies to “Continuity And Focus”

  1. i knew that was greg the second i saw that picture, where is he? NYC, i thought he would be a successful artist, way back when, i helped with the outdoor theatre installation, tell him i said hey. oh, i can tell that’s you driving the soap box, Paul, body language.

  2. I haven’t checked in in your blog in a long while. This caught my eye because I met this guy, with Dave. He was in the tiniest room, just big enough for a bed and not much else. I remember him marveling at the skill with which Dave would roll a joint…and considering the joint as a work of art, like he looked at everything. I was so blown away by his big approach to art installations….that whole concept was new to me, as a dumbass 17 yr old.

    Wasn’t he the one who also strung out rolls of poly sheeting into one of the quarries?

  3. I have been out of touch with Greg for about a decade or is it longer? I would very much like to reconnect with him. Can you send me contact information? We were housemates and artist collaborators together in the seventies. I used to visit with him on the lower east side but when he moved to upstate new york I lost touch. I could write a book about Greg and his art and what we accomplished together. His penchant for making installations in lonely and abandoned spaces is legendary. We had a lot in common with our approach to art and his influence on me has been great. I hope he would say the same about me. We decided early on to fly under the radar, but he has completely dropped off my screen. Help!

  4. Hi Paul
    I’m Greg’s sister. This is Christmas 2019
    Did you call him back? I have tried to contact him with no luck. He doesn’t answer his phone and I’m worried something has happen to him. Please contact me if you get this. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *