I came across this You Tube surfing. It's a panel discussion held at L.A. Louver gallery in Los Angeles a few years ago, in remembrance of Ron Kitaj and as prelude to a small show of his late works - which look great incidentally! A few years ago I was disappointed with the late 'washy' approach, but maybe I'm mellowing or something but the drawing to the figures in these really seems to work now. Yay! Wish I could have gone!
But the reason I draw attention to the video is because of Derek Boshier's contribution. As a classmate at the RCA, his recollections are mainly from those days when apparently Ron was a bit obsessed with Quakers for some reason - knew a lot about them, possibly attended some of their meetings. Derek was not the only contemporary to notice this. His comments are really a gentle way of indicating Ron's uh... problem with identity, let's say. Kitaj's famous embrace of his Jewish roots in the seventies is the best known example, but this too turns out to be deeply problematic. Boshier later recounts how at some function in America where Kitaj was being honoured (probably in the 80s) he found himself seated next to Kitaj's mother. After exchanging introductions and explaining his acquaintance with Ron, they then sat through various talks about Kitaj and his fervent embrace of Judaism after which Kitaj's mother quietly turned to Boshier and confided that Ron was not Jewish. She was not Jewish, Ron's father was not Jewish and he was not raised as Jewish. She did not understand why Ron was saying he was.
The sound of gears grinding and wheels spinning throughout the rest of the panel at L.A. Louver is palpable and quite amusing. It looks like it would have been a fun night!