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I owe Penck for Beefheart. In East Germany, there was a lively black market for LPs, and Beefheart’s records were the most expensive of all. Penck was a huge fan of Beefheart as a musician, and revealed to me one day that Beefheart was also a painter; so I got in touch with him. He had stopped playing music because he hated the music market, and although as a painter he was totally authentic, no one really took him seriously. The most unbelievable freaks -- rock fans -- came to his exhibitions; occasionally a few pictures would be sold.
However, I was not able to position him, and so far there has been only one museum exhibition of his work, in San Francisco. I visited him a few times in California. He lived in a wooden house, and I could always find him sitting on the veranda and looking out to sea. Once I asked him what he saw. He replied: “Seals. Seals. Sometimes it looks like a seal, but it’s a surfer. And then a shark gets him.”