Skip to main content

Full text of "Photographist oral history transcript, 1996 : Robert F. Heinecken"

See other formats


Robert F. Heinecken 

Interviewed by Stephen K. Lehmer 


Completed under the auspices 

of the 

Oral History Program 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Copyright © 1998 
The Regents of the University of California 


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, 
United States Code) governs the making of photocopies 
or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under 
certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and 
archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other 
reproduction. One of these specified conditions is 
that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used 
for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, 
or research. If a user makes a request for, or later 
uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in 
excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for 
copyright infringement. This institution reserves the 
right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its 
judgement, fulfillment of the order would involve 
violation of copyright law. 




This manuscript is hereby made available for research 
purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
including the right to publication, are reserved to the 
University Library of the University of California, 
Los Angeles. No part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication without the written permission of the 
University Librarian of the University of California, 
Los Angeles. 


Biographical Sununary viii 

Interview History xi 

TAPE NUMBER: I, Side One (March 2, 1996) 1 

Father's history as a Lutheran minister — 
Heinecken and his mother move in with his 
mother's parents- -Grandf ather' s drawing talent 
and background as a Lutheran missionary--Father ' s 
siblings--More on father's history- -Heinecken 
moves to Riverside, California--Early appetite 
for reading--Heinecken' s extended family--Early 
interest in drawing and writing--Heinecken' s 
rebelliousness as a teenager. 

TAPE NUMBER: I, Side Two (March 2, 1996) 28 

Heinecken fails to complete a summer session 
preparatory program at UCLA--Takes lower-division 
courses at Riverside College with the goal of 
transferring to UCLA--Meets future wife, Janet 
Storey, in high school --Reflections on the 
effects of growing up as an only child. 

TAPE NUMBER: II, Side One (March 9, 1996) 37 

A near- fatal incident Heinecken experienced as a 
jet fighter pilot in the Marine Corps- -Percentage 
of Marine Corps pilot candidates who drop out or 
die during training- -Reasons Heinecken failed to 
complete the summer session program at UCLA. 

TAPE NUMBER: II, Side Two (March 9, 1996) 63 

Heinecken transfers from Riverside College to 
UCLA--Enlists in the navy and is accepted for 
their flight program- -Heinecken tricks military 
medical examiners into thinking he meets the 
height requirements for the program- -A second 
near- fatal incident Heinecken experienced while 
flying for the Marine Corps--Certain people's 
fascination with danger. 


TAPE NUMBER: III, Side One (March 12, 1996) 90 

Some background on Lutheranisni--Heinecken' s 
father's tattoo--Heinecken' s mother's teaching 
experience- -More on Heinecken's early appetite 
for reading- -Absence of a clear theoretical 
foundation among the teachers in UCLA's art 
department in the seventies--Dif ference between 
undergraduate students and student veterans 
during the f if ties--Marriage to Janet Storey and 
birth of twins, Geoffrey R. and Kathe Heinecken 
Hull--Art professors at UCLA during Heinecken's 
studies there. 

TAPE NUMBER: III, Side Two (March 12, 1996) 113 

Heinecken's extracurricular activities while at 
UCLA- -Teaches pilots at Pensacola Naval Air 
Station--Impact of Heinecken's jet fighter pilot 
lifestyle on his f amily--Returns to UCLA via UCLA 
University Extension--Earns an M.A. degree from 
UCLA's College of Applied Arts--Teaches Donald W. 
Chipperf ield ' s art classes on a temporary basis-- 
Becomes a full-time faculty member in UCLA's 
College of Fine Arts--Convinces the art 
department to start a photography program. 

TAPE NUMBER: IV, Side One (March 25, 1996) 138 

More on the birth of Heinecken's twins--The birth 
of Heinecken's daughter Karol Heinecken Mora--The 
family's life in veterans housing and in family 
housing for UCLA students- -Schools the children 
attended- -Karol ' s involvement in Scientology-- 
Geoff and Kathe 's involvement with the drug 
culture of the early seventies--The dissolution 
of Heinecken's marriage to Janet Storey-- 
Beginning of his relationship with Joyce 

TAPE NUMBER: IV, Side Two (March 25, 1996) 162 

Storey's retirement from the nursing profession-- 
Heinecken is given the name Raoul by Henry 
Miller- -Heinecken and Neimanas escape being 
killed in an explosion that destroys Heinecken's 
studio--Relocating his studio--Heinecken and 
Neimanas divide their time between Los Angeles 
and Chicago- -Impact of Heinecken's divorce on 

storey and on his children- -Heinecken and 
Neimanas marry in 1984. 

TAPE NUMBER: V, Side One (March 31, 1996) 186 

UCLA art department faculty during the mid- 
sixties--The first M.F.A. student at UCLA who 
concentrated on photography--Polarization of art 
faculty around the issue of offering graduate 
photography courses--The department's emphasis on 
"pictorial arts" --The struggle to have 
photography included in the curriculum- -Programs 
cut back or terminated upon the establishment of 
the College of Fine Arts--Effect of the Master 
Plan for Higher Education in the State of 
California on UCLA's art program. 

TAPE NUMBER: V, Side Two (March 31, 1996) 212 

System-wide effects of the master plan--Emphases 
of the art programs at individual University of 
California campuses--The photography faculty at 
UCLA- -Heinecken teaches the role of the art of 
photography in relation to other art disciplines-- 
Teaching students to understand photography as a 
medium- -The need for students to learn the history 
of photography--Visiting photography faculty at 
UCLA--Heinecken' s expectations of his students and 
how he graded them- -His pleasure in teaching photo 
developing in the darkroom--Exercise in which 
students learn to work with a limited range of 
color values by using torn paper to create a self- 

TAPE NUMBER: VI, Side One (April 10, 1996) 239 

Expectations of graduate students in photography 
during the late sixties and early seventies-- 
Heinecken's expectations of graduate students-- 
Balancing freedom and discipline in the graduate 
program- -Heinecken arranges his life to make the 
creation of his art his main priority--The 
demands teaching places on an artist's time--More 
on Heinecken 's expectations of graduate students. 

TAPE NUMBER: VI, Side Two (April 10, 1996) 263 

The question of whether photography could survive 
as a discipline--Supporting a student's strengths 


no matter how they manifest themselves --Heinecken 
and the "postmodern" label--Considerations 
involved in selecting graduate students in 
photography- -Seeking diversity among the small 
group of students selected--The relative 
importance of graduate students' work and their 
grade point average- -Evolutionary phases of the 
Society for Photographic Education. 




Bom: October 29, 1931, Denver. 

Education: A.A. , Riverside City College, 1951; B.A., 
Art, UCLA, 1959; M.A., Art, UCLA, 1960. 

Military Service: Jet fighter pilot. United States 
Marine Corps, 1953-57. 

Spouses: Janet Storey, married 1955, divorced 1980, 
three children; Joyce Neimanas, married 1984. 


Instructor, photography. Department of Art, College of 
Fine Arts, UCLA, and UCLA University Extension, 1960- 
62; assistant professor, 1962-67; associate professor, 
1968-73; professor, 1974-90; vice-chair. Department of 
Art, 1979-80; chair, 1988-89; professor emeritus, 1991- 
present . 

Professor, San Francisco Art Institute, 1970. 

Professor, Schools of the Art Institute of Chicago, 

Professor, Harvard University, 1971. 

Professor, Columbia College, 1983. 

Professor, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of 
Technology, 1983. 


Board of directors. Society for Photographic Education, 
1970; chair, 1971-73. 

Board of trustees. Friends of Photography, Carmel, 
California, 1973. 


Robert Heinecken, Witkin Gallery, New York City, 1970. 


Robert Helnecken: Photographic Work, Pasadena Art 
Museum, Pasadena, California, 1972. 

Light Gallery, New York City, 1973, 1976, 1979. 

Robert Heinecken, George Eastman House International 
Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York, 
1976. Circulating exhibition also shown at Chicago 
Center for Contemporary Photography, Columbia College; 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Frederick S. Wight 
Art Gallery, UCLA, 1978. 

Robert Heinecken: Food, Sex, and TV, Fotoforum, 
University of Kassel, West Germany, 1979. 

Heinecken: Selected Works from 1966-1986, Gallery Min, 
Tokyo, Japan, 1986. 

RoJbert Heinecken: 1966-1989, Sunnygate Gallery, Taipei, 
Taiwan, 1989. 


Guggenheim fellow, 1976. 

Individual Artist's Grant, National Endowment for the 
Arts, 1977, 1981, 1986. 

Members Award, California Museum of Photography, 
University of California, Riverside, 1984. 

Polaroid Corporation grants, 1984, 1985, 1988. 

Photographer of 1985, Friends of Photography, Carmel, 

Honored Educator, Society for Photographic Education, 


Are You Rea, 1964-68: Twenty -five Reproductions of a 
Series of Photographs. Los Angeles, 1968 (artist's 
portfolio) . 

Mansmag, 1969 (artist's book). 

Just Good Eats for U Diner, 1971 (artist's portfolio). 


He: /She:, Chicago, Chicago Book, 1980 (artist's book). 

1984, R Case Study in Finding an Appropriate TV 
Newswoman (R CBS Docudrama in Vords and Pictures ) , Los 
Angeles, 1985 (artist's book). 

Recto/Verso, 1988 (artist's portfolio). 



Stephen K. Lehmer, Photography Area Manager, Department 
of Art, UCLA. B.F.A., Photography, San Francisco Art 
Institute; M.F.A., Photography, California Institute of 
the Arts. 


Place: Heinecken's home studio, Los Angeles. 

Dates, length of sessions: March 2, 1996 (65 minutes); 
March 9, 1996 (90); March 12, 1996 (90); March 25, 1996 
(90); March 31, 1996 (89); April 10, 1996 (89); April 
14, 1996 (88); April 27, 1996 (88); May 11, 1996 (90); 
May 25, 1996 (89); May 26, 1996 (80). 

Total number of recorded hours: 15.8 

Persons present during Interview: Heinecken and 
Lehmer . 


In preparing for the interview, Lehmer consulted 
available books and catalogs on Heinecken's work as 
well as articles, reviews, and correspondence from 
various periodicals about or by Heinecken. He also 
examined materials from the Robert Heinecken archive at 
the Center for Creative Photography at the University 
of Arizona and additional materials supplied by 
Heinecken himself. Finally, Lehmer drew on the 
knowledge of Heinecken's world and life he had 
developed as the result of direct experience based on 
his years of working closely with Heinecken as a 
graduate student, teaching assistant, studio assistant, 
and personal friend. 

The interview is organized chronologically, beginning 
with Heinecken's early years and continuing on through 
his stint as a jet fighter pilot in the Marine Corps, 
his education at UCLA and his eventual professorship 
there, and his career as a photographic artist of 
international acclaim. Major topics covered include 
the status of photography as an artistic discipline in 
both the art world and academia, the development of 


UCLA's College of Fine Arts, pushing the boundaries of 
the photographic medium, Heinecken's work and 
methodology, the Society for Photographic Education, 
and the contemporary art world in Los Angeles . 


Jennifer E. Levine, editorial assistant, edited the 
interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the 
interview against the original tape recordings, edited 
for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and 
verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by 
the editor have been bracketed. 

Heinecken reviewed the transcript. He verified proper 
names and made a number of corrections and minor 

Alex Cline, editor, prepared the table of contents and 
interview history. Gail Ostergren, editorial 
assistant, compiled the biographical summary and index. 


The original tape recordings of the interview are in 
the university archives and are available under the 
regulations governing the use of permanent noncurrent 
records of the university. Records relating to the 
interview are located in the office of the UCLA Oral 
History Program. 


MARCH 2, 1996 

HEINECKEN: Well, let me just start. [laughs] And we'll 
see what we get. I was born in Denver, Colorado, October 
29, 1931. People discovered that that's a Scorpio sign, 
which I have never paid much attention to, but it does-- 
People who believe in it use it. It turns out I do have 
characteristics that those people who believe in it 
associate with [Scorpio] . 
LEHMER: What are you thinking of? 

HEINECKEN: Well, a Scorpio — I'm not sure. A Scorpio is 
a kind of self -centered person, rather direct and-- I 
shouldn't say direct. But there is an interest in 
sensuality. I shouldn't even be talking about this, 
because it's really someone else's opinion about 
astrology, which I don't necessarily believe in. But 
anyway, I am a Scorpio. 

The reason I was born in Denver-- My father [Friedli 
Wilhelm Heinecken] was a Lutheran minister who was 
assigned to a church in Denver, Colorado, I think probably 
the year I was born. It was a mission church, which means 
that there is no church there. You go into a community, 
try to find the Lutherans [laughs], and get them excited 
or whatever, open a church, a mission church, which in 

this case I recall — not directly but from photographs --was 
a storefront church in Denver, Colorado, which you are 
assigned to for a period of time to determine whether 
there is a congregation possible in this district or this 
city or whatever. So that was his job. So I was born 
there. Prior to that time, he and my mother [Mathilda 
Moehl Heinecken] had been to a couple of other places in 
Colorado doing the same thing, which I presume didn't 
materialize. I mean, whatever the survey was didn't 
produce enough people or whatever. And then, after the 
Denver situation, we also lived in other cities in 
Colorado. Golden [Colorado] comes to mind — Now I can't 
remember, but they were in the vicinity of Denver and 
things like that. So that's the occasion of being born 
there. I'm not sure how to begin. 

But anyway, in 1939--this would now be eight years 
later — my father falls in love with one of the 
parishioners of this mission church--right? — which they 
had established by that time. I didn't know any of this 
until much later, but-- So he falls in love, leaves the 
whole situation, runs off with this woman-- And it's not 
just that it's some woman, it's because it's a church 
person; that's the bad part of the whole deal, right? So 
he comes to California, presumably with this woman, goes 
to Hawaii, presumably with this woman. Maybe this is now 

1940, something like that. The facts are all unclear. 
Why and how that happens I don't know. 

Anyway, he ends up on Johnston Island, a tiny island 
in the South Pacific, maybe five hundred miles southeast 
of Hawaii. It's a tiny atoll which the United States is 
developing as a fuel stop kind of an idea. So his job is 
to go over there and dig these underground fuel reservoirs 
so then they could either land airplanes there or-- It's a 
very tiny island. I think mostly a ship would stop there, 
refuel, go on-- So what's interesting to me is in 1939-40 
we're fully aware of the Japanese threat-- We're building 
these situations all over the Pacific in anticipation of 
this war [World War II]. I've always thought we started 
the war, anyway, one way or the other. So anyway, he's 
there. The woman stays in Hawaii. I have letters that 
are written to me from both places, which are interesting. 

Anyway, at that point in 1939 my mother and I, for 
maybe six or eight months, moved around Colorado. She was 
looking for work. I remember that she took a job as a 
dental technician or a dental secretary or something like 
that in Colorado Springs, because we lived there for a 
while. We lived in Boulder for a while, where she took 
some other kind of a job. 

But eventually in that same year, or maybe the 
following year, we moved to Dubuque, Iowa, which is where 

her parents lived and where she had grown up and in fact 
where she met my father. So we moved there, which was a 
situation where the — Her mother [Emma Moehl] and father 
[Heniry Moehl] were there, but there was a maiden sister of 
my mother's [Else Moehl] who lived there, and a younger 
brother [Robert Moehl] who lived there who was probably 
eighteen or nineteen- -at least too young to be going into 
the service- -and the two of us were added into this 
situation. And in a very small house like in Dubuque — 
Her father, by the way, was a confectionary cook- -ran a 
bakery shop, a German bakery shop. But anyway, it was 
very uncomfortable. And I do remember some instances of 
not- -I mean, it was like a tension there somehow that came 
from this older sister, who had never married-- I mean, 
I'm sort of going back in my mind, or maybe it's something 
I realized later, but there was an animosity between this 
sister who never married, and somehow a younger sister got 
married, but it didn't work, and maybe the older sister 
knew that that would never work. He was not the right guy 
for her. That kind of stuff was in the air, kind of. And 
her brother, who was younger, was-- I don't think he was 
abusive in any sense to me, but he was not so happy that 
either of us were there. It was just suddenly — Four 
people in the house; it was now six people in the house. 
And there's this separation and whatever. So it wasn't an 


interesting time for me. I think I was very reclusive. I 
remember I slept in the attic in a kind of cove. At least 
it was private, but it was not a room or anything like 

So anyway, that period of time I think was difficult 
for my mother. I don't think she worked. She just kind 
of — We lived there until something was figured out. So 
then, I guess, in 1940--I'm looking at my book here-- 
LEHMER: Let me interrupt you for a second here. I think 
in our discussions previous to this interview I was under 
the impression that your family had a long line of 
Lutheran ministers or something. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, that's true. Let me just make that 

LEHMER: And I am going to guess that both sides of your 
family were German, too. 
HEINECKEN: That's right. 
LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: Actually, my father was born in Germany, but — 
Let's go back. My grandfather [Friedli Heinecken] , my 
paternal grandfather, is really the start of this whole 
thing. He was born on an island, actually, between what 
is now Denmark and Germany, so he's a northern German guy. 
His family is rather large, but I don't know a lot about 
what the rest of them did. He had two interests which 

came very early on: one was the religion, Lutheranism, 
but the other was-- Well, he was a very skilled, natural — 
You wouldn't say artist but — Draftsman. 
LEHMER: Draftsman? 

HEINECKEN: Drawing. Right. So all through his life he's 
doing these drawings. I know this because he did his 
journals and books where the drawings were included. 
They're excellent. I mean, they are realistic drawings 
but excellent stuff. 

Anyway--and this is all sort of hearsay from the 
family — at some point, he meets this doctor and the 
doctor's wife. The wife becomes interested in his drawing 
skills, pulls him out of whatever schooling he's in, 
allows him to go to Basel, Switzerland, to study art, 
right? And of course, it wasn't an art school, it was 
really a craft training school. Basically what he did was 
take his-- His drawing skills didn't matter too much, but 
he was trained as a lithographer. I remember my father 
telling me that like the first year you were there you did 
nothing but grind the stones by hand, which is a grueling, 
grueling job, right? 

LEHMER: Is this like the turn of the century? 
HEINECKEN: Let's see. This would have been-- I'd say 
1875, something like that. I'd have to figure that out. 
But anyway, first year you grind the stones by hand, which 

is just a grueling thing. Second year you get to work on 
the stones actually yourself under the direction of the 
guy who is really producing whatever they're making, which 
were like cheap reproductions for calendars, I think, and 
stuff like that. And then the third year, if you're 
talented enough, they allow you to really execute the 
drawing. So my understanding is he did these three years 

But at the same time, the other half of his life--the 
Lutheran thing--is still present. And I'm not sure on 
what basis he makes the decision, but at some point he 
gives up the art idea, goes back to school in a Lutheran 
situation to become a missionary. His idea--in his 
journals he writes this--was that he wanted to go to 
Africa. His second choice he wanted to go to the Middle 
East to convert the Jewish people to Lutheranism. Those 
were the two choices that he thought were the most 
important. It was determined that for some reason the 
Africa thing didn't work out, and they had determined that 
they were not sending non-Jewish people into the Jewish 
situation. They had converted Jews who were Lutherans who 
would do that work. They sent him to India. So this 
would have been somewhere in the 1890s. 

It's not clear exactly what his work was, but what is 
clear is that he fell in love with a half-caste Indian 

woman who-- I'm not sure whether she was converted to 
Christianity or was in the process of that or whatever. 
But she had one white parent. So anyway, they fall in 
love. And there's some controversy about the fact that as 
an unmarried person he shouldn't be involved in all this. 
He'd gotten in trouble with the church somehow. So they 
actually left India without being married. She's now 
pregnant. As I say, this is kind of speculation, because 
they don't talk about it too much. But they had an awful 
time getting out of India. And her journals, or his 
journals about the situation, people would throw rocks at 
them, spit on them, interrupt their travels. It was like 
a bad period- Anyway, they finally get out of India. 

They go to Berlin by train or whatever. So my father 
is born in Berlin in 1900, I think. He's out of the 
church, I think, at this point because of whatever the 
situation was. So again all of this is kind of unclear. 
But it turns out that the only way that they'll reinstate 
him is if he will go to the United States. And apparently 
that was arranged. They send him to Nebraska. My 
father's brother [Martin Heinecken] is the one who kind of 
talks about all this. He quotes my grandfather saying, 
"Where is Nebraska?" or "What is Nebraska?" or whatever, 
because who knows? So anyway, he gets sent there with my 
father and does I don't know how many years of work as a 


Lutheran pastor in Nebraska, Kansas, whatever. So that's 
where my father sort of grew up. But what's Interesting 
to me is his marital situation with this Indian woman, who 
dies, by the way, in childbirth of the fourth — 
LEHMER: In Berlin? 

HEINECKEN: No. They come to America with my father. 
There are three other children born then in the United 
States. But she dies in the childbirth of the last. 
LEHMER: Of the fourth. 

HEINECKEN: Of the fourth, which is a woman [Marie 
Heinecken Reck] . The other three are men. The other 
three go into the Lutheran ministry. The daughter, 
actually, marries a Lutheran minister. And some of those 
marriages are connections to, then, other families which 
have Lutheran ministries. So the whole clan is just 
connected to the Lutheran ministry kind of idea. 

So at some point in all this, my father, for whatever 
reasons I don't know, he runs away. I'm getting all this 
from his younger brother, who is actually a very well- 
known theologian who is now retired. But he was the only 
one who really made it beyond being a kind of pastor. He 
was teaching, I think, comparative religion or something 
in seminaries. Anyway, he tells me all this. That's 
where I'm getting this from. So at some point my father 
runs off at probably age fourteen, fifteen, or something 

like that. No one knows why exactly, but he was 

rebellious. He didn't conform to whatever the familial 

situation was. 

LEHMER: I'm curious about the siblings. Where did your 

father land in the--? Was he the firstborn? 


LEHMER: He's born in Berlin. 

HEINECKEN: Then came to the United States, right. 

LEHMER: And then there were three more. 

HEINECKEN: Three more. Two more brothers and — 

LEHMER: And the last one was a daughter. 

HEINECKEN: Right, who married a Lutheran. 

So at some point he runs off, and they never-- The 
way my uncle talks about it is that he would disappear for 
six months, he'd show back up for whatever reasons. And 
he had been to someplace in Oklahoma to drill old oil 
fields, or he'd been stacking hay, and he worked at some 
point on the Erie Canal in New York as a steamfitter. So 
his trade really was a steamfitter; that is what he got 
down to . 

But at some point, through all this time- -which is a 
long time, like from fourteen [years old] to twenty [years 
old] or something like that, no, older than that — anyway, 
he decides that he ' s going to go back to school . He has 
no education- -none, zero. I mean, like junior high or 


something like that. And he's going to become a minister, 
which is weird to me. By this time he has a full tattoo 
of a dagger on his arm. I'll tell you about that later. 
So he goes back to Dubuque, Iowa, to a place called 
Wartburg College, which is a Lutheran college. He's now 
age twenty-eight, twenty-nine. He's older than anybody 
else. And from there goes to the Lutheran seminary in 
Dubuque, Iowa, and completes that course with, I think, 
great difficulty probably. You have to learn Greek, you 
have to learn Latin, and he has no education at all. But 
he gets through all this I guess because of his drive — I 
think the Lutherans would say his conversion or something, 

So that's where he meets my mother. She's living in 
Dubuque and had no education. I mean, she graduated out 
of high school and actually had an interesting period of 
time where she was an itinerant teacher. She would get on 
the train in Dubuque and go out to some farm community and 
teach for four days and come back on the train for the 
weekend. And she used to tell us about riding in the 
cabooses of the freight trains for nothing because they 
would just take her back and forth. So she was 
interesting that way. But she had no profession to speak 
of. They get married, I think, in the same year that I 
was born, 1931. They go to Denver for this first church 


kind of idea. So that's sort of the background. 

But there are other connections to the Lutheran thing 
that maybe I'll think of later that are important, too. 
But the point is, in my history, these two men, my 
grandfather, who has this strange, rebellious kind of 
idea, the Indian thing and that woman, and my father, who 
breaks completely from the family into I guess kind of a 
hobo in some sense and decides to come back. So I'm 
thinking in some sense some of the moves I ' ve made are not 
unlike some of these previous ancestors. But I have a 
great deal of respect for my father later on. 

I knew nothing of this divorce. They didn't tell me 
that. He just-- I assumed. I think I was told that he 
was like in the service in the South Pacific, but he 
wasn't. He was in--they didn't have this--the Seabees 
[United States Navy construction battalions] or whatever. 
But the precursor to that was civilians who were all over 
the South Pacific building these things. 
LEHMER: For the military. 

HEINECKEN: For the military, right. So he did that and 
was on this Johnston Island on December 7, '41, when the 
Japanese-- There are two situations as I understand. One, 
they hit this Johnston Island where he was, and they hit 
Wake Island on December 6, and then the morning of the 
next day they hit Pearl Harbor. Wake Island I know 


happened. It's in history. That was like ten hours 
before Pearl Harbor, and so was Johnston Island. But they 
didn't land or anything; they just shelled the island. It 
damaged whatever they were constructing. 

The only thing he ever told me about that that was 
interesting is that they had marines on the island which 
were kind of the governor, you know, whoever was there — 
But all the civilians were trained to man these guns, 
which they had set up like kind of artillery guns to shoot 
at whatever Japanese thing they anticipated. So all the 
civilians manned these guns, fired them up. And every gun 
failed. He said that the shell went off and the gun would 
just move from the cement platform back-- Just broke. 
Crack. [laughs] So they never had any-- Nothing worked 
was his point. Anyway, they didn't land. They just 
shelled the island from these submarines. 

At that point they shut down the whole civilian 
thing, December 7, and sent them back to Hawaii, and then 
back to, in his case, Los Angeles. At that point my 
parents reunite. This is now 1940, I think. Let me see 
what I had written down here. 
LEHMER: 'Forty- two. 

HEINECKEN: 'Forty- two, right, where he's now a plumber 
and a steamfitter. But he is also working as an assistant 
pastor, because that's what he wants to do finally. He 


still has his religion, his faith. But it's been broken 
off from the church because of running off with this woman 
earlier. So I don't know how that all gets reconciled, 
but he works as an assistant pastor in Glendale, 
California, where we moved. The pastor of that church 
became his mentor, I guess you could say. He was 
instrumental in getting my father a real church after 
another year or something like that, where he's a layman 
but actually working as an assistant pastor or something 
like that. So this guy gets him a job in Riverside 
[California] . He goes there, and then finally he has his 
own church. 

LEHMER: And that's 1946? The family moves to Riverside? 
HEINECKEN: That's right. And I actually stayed in 
Glendale. I was in the middle of some school term when 
they left. I stayed in Glendale, because I remember 
living with another family that had a son my age [Jack 
Davis] . I stayed there until the end of that school year. 
I moved to Riverside later — So that's sort of that kind 
of history. 

Now, I don't know whether it was because of my 
grandfather and his drawing thing or what exactly 
happened, but I do remember-- Well, my most clear memory 
of that period of time is reading. I was just like a 
voracious reader — everything. And my mother tells a story 


of — It was so obsessive that instead of eating breakfast 
I would read the Quaker oats box, or I would read signs. 
In some ways I still do that. I don't really study 
anything. I don't read for knowledge or for information. 
I just read for the love of reading. I mean, I just love 
the idea of that in language but not focused really — 
Anyway, that was interesting to me. And then at some 
point--and I know this only because I have these drawings 
and paintings that I made both in Colorado before all of 
this and then also later when I get into high school or 
junior high- -I have this interest in drawing. And 
certainly from the drawings that I made [I had] some 
skills in it for a kid that age. So I have some of that 
material. And it's not clear to me how that was paid for, 
because these were lessons that I got privately from 
someone, but this would have been the heart of the 
Depression. It's certainly not something that you'd paid 
for like you would now. This was something that people 
were doing, teaching art to make some money for bread. 
Because we were extremely poor. I do remember the 
circumstances were always like "Where's the next dollar 
coming from?" And I know in his churches in Colorado and 
in Denver there was no salary. I mean, the synod had no 
money to pay any salaries. Whatever you could get, you 
know. So he was paid like in food. 


At some point it got so bad that I lived with another 
family, because they had a farm or something-- In other 
words, at least something to eat. It really talks about 
the Depression. But it was a bad period of time for 
everybody until we got the war. Then it was good, right? 
LEHMER: Right. The war economy. 
HEINECKEN: So-- I don't know. The thing that's 
interesting here so far is the religious idea as it exists 
in this family. None of the children of any of those 
people which would be my generation are involved in this 
at all. These are all professional people, but certainly 
not in the ministry and not religious, so I always 
thought. And they're interesting people. One is a 
professor [Tom Reck] , one is a rather well-known 
experimental musician [David Reck] , one is a publisher 
[Theodore Heinecken] . They're all like professional 
people like I am. But it stopped. The Lutheran thing 
stopped with that generation--it was my father's 
generation, but-- 

Where was I? Oh, this popped into my mind. I never 
knew that they were divorced, because they just never 
brought it up, right? But at some point there was a 
marriage ceremony going on. I don't know how old I would 
have been, but not old enough to grasp that this was 
really a wedding that was really to remarry one another. 


I thought — I don't know what I thought, but I didn't 
realize that that was a serious thing. I don't know. 
Maybe I thought it was some symbolic ceremony or something 
like that. But this older sister that I mentioned 
earlier--the one who was antagonistic--told me this at 
some point, took it upon herself to open up this scab so 
that I knew it. She was really kind of a vindictive 

LEHMER: Dour person? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Just, I think, jealous for all her 
sisters and brothers who married and she never did and all 
of that . 

So that gets us maybe to-- There are other things. 
The next thing maybe is like in school, when this-- How 
the art thing begins to figure in. 

LEHMER: Your family moves to Riverside in '46, and in '49 
you attend Riverside [City] College, where you get an A. A. 
degree in art from '49 to 51. 

HEINECKEN: Even in high school I was in a kind of college 
preparatory program, but I worked on the yearbook both as 
a kind of .writer and did drawings and stuff for this high 
school yearbook and was active in-- Oh, you'd have the 
literature club or drawing club or art-- None of these 
were taught as courses. They were-- 
LEHMER: Extracurricular. 


HEINECKEN: Extracurricular kind of ideas. So again I 

have, or I had--I don't know where they are now--sorae 

writings I had done and a lot of drawings and 

illustrations, really, for the kinds of things a high 

school does. But I did take, not in high school but 

maybe — Certainly in junior college I took formal classes 

in drawing and things like that. 

LEHMER: Well, in high school, if we can back up here just 

a snitch, what were the courses that began to set or 

direct your interest? Were they like literature or 

history or — ? What did you go into? Math and science? Or 

did you gravitate towards humanities? 

HEINECKEN: This is clear in some sense. High school, 

maybe, the period of time. And in a burg like Riverside 

it's not as developed as it would be in bigger cities. 

But there was one teacher, a woman, who was the literature 


LEHMER: What was the name of that teacher? Do you 


HEINECKEN: Her name? 

LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: No. I might bring it up sometime if I could, 

but-- She was very enthused about my writing and the 

combination, I guess, of the writing and the drawing 

interest. So she was very helpful and supportive and 


probably in some sense the surrogate kind of mother that a 
good teacher becomes, like a woman to a young man, young 

Anyway, she got me interested in going to college and 
also actually lined me up for exams or interviews to see 
if I could go to Pomona College. Pomona College, for 
those of us who don't know, it is a wonderful, well-known 
private school-- Very expensive, which I-- My memory is 
that I qualified for-- But the scholarship that was 
offered was like a part, you know, half, maybe, and my 
parents just couldn't come up with the money for the rest 
of it. I don't think I was aware of how disappointing 
that-- I mean, I could have probably become a CEO [chief 
executive officer] of a bank somewhere today if I could 
have gone to Pomona College or something. [laughs] But 
it's a very good school. I could have gotten in, but 
there were some money problems, so I didn't go there. But 
it was this teacher who made sure that I had the 
opportunity to get involved in that. I wish I remembered 
her name, but-- 

LEHMER: Do you remember the kind of literature that you 
read that was meaningful to you in that high school 

HEINECKEN: No, I don't, nor do I have any real memory of 
what was happening in art at that time. It's like a hick 


high school, you know? 
LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: I think it wasn't so much of — It must have 
included that kind of reading, but certainly no study of 
the history of art or anything like that. But I think she 
was just enthused by what she perceived to be talents that 
could be developed along certain lines that were creative, 
as opposed to mathematics or something like that. 
LEHMER: Also what I'm picking up is that you've mentioned 
more of an active role rather than a passive role such as 
reading, that you mentioned writing versus the reading. 
You mentioned earlier that you were a voracious reader, 
but in high school at that kind of a critical point where 
we begin to see our future, you were actually producing at 
that point rather-- You were writing. You weren't 
necessarily reading literature where you don't remember 
specific types of literature or books or authors, but you 
were beginning to-- You're talking about that you're doing 
your own writing and drawing. What would be interesting 
to me is, what did you write about? 

HEINECKEN: It's very interesting, because my mother 
through all of this saved everything that I drew. I still 
have a lot of it. Some of it's pretty advanced, and some 
is garbage and stuff like that. But the writings were 
never saved . I don ' t think she saw the importance of 


that, or maybe she was simply focused in the other 
direction, maybe because of my grandfather's interest in 
art or something like that. And maybe in a sense my gift, 
if that's what we can call it, was more for the visual 
thing than it would be for writing. I remember writing. 
I remember being in these exhibitions of drawings. You'd 
have readings by students; I was involved in that. I do 
remember that. By I have no evidence of what that was, 
and I don't remember it. I don't think it was poetry. It 
was probably- -what would we call that?--like "This is what 
I did for my summer vacation" or something. But in fact, 
at this point, and even in the evolution of my artwork, 
the what I would call a kind of literature aspect--that is 
to say the titling, the writing, the reference to writing, 
to language- -in the pictures is very strong. Probably 
that ' s the only thing that you could trace that would be 
constant through all of it. It's not a visual art per se. 
It's an ideational art based on language principles, based 
on metaphors, simile, parody, all these things that are 
really literature ideas. We can talk about that more, 

LEHMER: So that's in high school? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. And also I was very rebellious, which 
is the other side of this time period. I didn't want to 
leave Los Angeles. I had just entered high school, I 


guess. And probably the freedom of living with this other 
family was good. I had this very good friend who was the 
guy who actually went on to become an Olympic hurdler. I 
forget his name right now. So I was not without-- I mean, 
I was without my parents, but had this surrogate family. 
But it was very good for me to do that, because-- And I 
didn't want to go to Riverside. They were insisting, 
"Well, you have to come to Riverside. You finished that 
school. Now you're coming." So I went, but very-- I went 
because they told me to go, but I didn't like it. It was 
a hick town. I was from Los Angeles, you know, all of 
that. But I went. 

I had a very difficult time with my family regarding 
the church. My father was very tolerant because of his 
background. I mean, he wasn't going to come down on 
anybody simply because they were rebellious. [laughs] He 
knew about that. But finally, I remember very clearly at 
some point, I went to jail once, for which he had to come 
and bail me out. 

LEHMER: What was that for? Do you remember? 
HEINECKEN: I went drinking beer probably or something 
like that. It wasn't a serious thing, but it-- You know, 
when the minister has to go down to get the minister's son 
out of jail, it's not exactly what you want to do. But 
anyway, I don't know whether it was the direct result of 


that, but I remember having a conversation with him which 
really came down to, "You can do whatever you want to do. 
I'm not going to tell you what to do. But you do have an 
obligation to my profession, which is ministry, so you 
will be in Sunday school, and you will be in church every 
Sunday. I don't care if you stay up till five o'clock 
Saturday night drinking beer, you will be there on Sunday 
morning. And that's our deal," he said. And I said, 
"Well, this is okay." I could sleep through Sunday 
school, church, whatever. "I'll be there" as a kind of 
symbol. Because he said, "If you're not there, how am I 
supposed to convince these people that their children 
should be here?" And I understood. So it was an 
agreement between us that was, as I think back-- I would 
have never been that gracious or that understanding with 
my kids. I just wasn't-- I didn't have that capacity. 
And my kids rebelled. I guess all kids rebel. But aside 
from this other kind of intellectual thing of the drawing 
and writing, I was like into hot rods more than anything 
else, and girls, obviously, and drinking beer and smoking, 
all of these things that the pastor's son is not supposed 
to do. Obviously I did it because I resented something 
about the whole thing. 

LEHMER: And that rebellion is an interesting idea. I've 
always been intrigued by what you are rebelling against. 


Are you trying to establish your own identity or express 
your own ideas? You're maturing, and you want to consider 
who you are versus who your family is. It sounds like you 
had a strong family. They were strong enough to be 
actively involved with other people's lives, trying to 
influence other people's lives, so they're obviously going 
to be doing that with you. And at some point you're 
trying to establish your own identity, I would imagine. 
HEINECKEN: Well, I didn't know all the history of the 
family when this was going on. I mean, I know that now, 
and I've accumulated all this. But what strikes me about 
it as being very clear is that this is a man who made a 
big mistake with this woman, got himself in trouble with 
the church, lost his job, lost his profession, but decided 
somehow to go — Well, first of all, to go back to school 
when he was a kid to start this whole thing, and then even 
after making this horrendous mistake went back again, 
because he finally got it figured out for himself. It 
wasn't necessarily just the religion of it but the 
morality of it, I think, or something. So he clearly saw 
in me some kind of replica of his running away. I mean, I 
never ran away, but in a sense running away from 
appropriate- - 

But I liked his deal, which was, "I've got my life 
figured out, I'm going to be a minister, and you are going 


to cxjnform to the extent that you will not damage my 
situation." I thought, "Well, this is — " Again, I'm 
remembering. I'm not remembering it verbatim, but this is 
an important thing, to have an understanding with your 
father that this is the deal. "And you will do it that 
way." And of course, for me it wasn't a bad deal. All I 
had to do was show up. I didn't have to believe that or 
anything. And I'm not sure where my mother was in any of 
this. She doesn't seem to enter the picture on this. 
This was a deal or an understanding that was made. But he 
was very tolerant. So was she. 

I remember when I finally had a room of my own. It 
was covered with these pretty girls and [Alberto] Vargas 
girls, which passed for erotic pictures for a kid. 
[laughs] And then there was no objection on their part 
that this was there. It was private. That was my room. 
I can do whatever I want--masturbate, whatever-- Whew, 
right? And I think I still have a streak of-- I mean, I 
know what's right and wrong, and I try to do what I think 
is right. I'm not perfect at it, certainly, and I've made 
a lot of mistakes myself. But I do have a morality which 
is not based in formal religion necessarily, but it comes 
out of that religion, that there are some rules, right? 
There are the Ten Commandments and things like that which 
you can adhere to, or try to, without becoming religious 


or something. 

LEHMER: You have learned through your environment, 
through direct teachings from your parents, but did you 
ever feel like you wanted to rebel against that? Or was 
it just that--? Have you ever been able to identify what 
you did in high school? Some people I think pursue 
activities at that age in direct rebellion against their 
parents. Other times they're beginning to figure out what 
it is that they really want to do on their own. Or you 
know what's right, but — Were you tempted to do what you 
knew was wrong for the thrill of it? 

HEINECKEN: Oh, I think this is true then and now and 
forever, that the environment of-- Or being an adolescent, 
the environment of that culture in that school is the 
strongest thing there. I mean, the thing about peer 
pressure is, of course, true. I forget my point, but I 
had figured out somehow, not consciously necessarily-- At 
an early age I knew how to do school. Some people know 
that. Some people never-- It doesn't have anything to do 
with intelligence. It's just like I could do all of my 
homework in study hall. I never had homework to do. I 
just figured out how to do that. So I wasn't a bad 
student or anything. But again, this high school is so 
hick, you know. There aren't any bad students in this. 
They just show up or whatever. I got grades good enough, 


as I said, to apply to this program, and certainly as a 
result I-- The summer I graduated I went to UCLA on a 
summer thing, which was to introduce you to university 
life for three months or whatever. Then you would — 


MARCH 2, 1996 

HEINECKEN: So I was saying that I went to UCLA during the 
summer of 1949. That would have been to participate in 
the program which-- We actually took courses. I forget 
what I took, but I maybe can remember that. But it was 
really to give you an opportunity to transition from high 
school--no matter what kind of high school it was--into 
that situation. So they put us up somewhere. I can't 
remember. It was like a dorm kind of situation, so that 
was controlled. I don't know if they still do this or 
not, but they would meet you, you know-- Other students 
would-- In other words, it was like a program to acclimate 
you to this life, because it's so different from what your 
previous life was about. And we took courses, but-- And I 
can't remember what I took, but the point is that at the 
end of that three months, or maybe even before that, I had 
completely kind of washed out of this deal because I could 
not handle it. I mean, I was just too young or too 
immature, too mixed up or whatever. But in a sense what I 
did was fail this summer school kind of thing, which was a 
big disappointment, because this was my big move from, 
well, high school to college, or in this case university. 
I had been accepted, which was no problem, because of the 


grades and whatever. But I guess emotionally or something 
I just wasn't ready for it. So that was a big disappoint- 

At the end of this, or whenever I dropped out of it 
or flunked out of it, I went back to Riverside and 
enrolled in the community college--then called junior 
college — called Riverside College, which was a two-year 
basically vocational kind of school. But the lower- 
division college courses were all taught that would be 
transferable into university programs. 1 went back and 
did that. And I think I lived at home, basically. But 
there was a small group-- I know I lived at home, basically, 
but there was this other place, which was an apartment or 
something like that, where similar people like myself lived. 
And this was now 1950, right? Or 1949. 
LEHMER: Yeah, 1949-50, when you were at Riverside 

HEINECKEN: Right. Okay. So the Korean War happens in 
1950. Oh, meanwhile, I should mention, in this junior 
college were still probably the last vestiges of the World 
War II veterans. So it was interesting, because you had 
in that age group people who had real experiences with 
that war along with eighteen-, nineteen-year-old kids. 
And it was really a schism between-- I mean, these guys 
were serious and older and had that aura of, like, 


veterans. And then you had the regular kids, like the 
idiots who were much younger and with no experiences. So 
it was initially an educational problem--not a problem for 
me — to try to figure out how to deal with these mature 
people as opposed to these beer drinking people. Anyway, 
toss it aside. 

So I did the two years there basically with the idea 
of taking lower-division academic courses to transfer to 
UCLA as a junior--right?--but also continued because I was 
going to major in art when I got to UCLA or anyplace. 
LEHMER: So that was your intention even then, to go to 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, someplace. UCLA was obviously 
the major university at that point in the UC [University 
of California] system for Southern California. The other 
schools didn't exist. And I guess it would have been the 
only public university other than maybe some state 
colleges or-- Anyway, that's where I had decided to go. 

But I took courses also in this junior college in 
art, like painting, finally something like that rather 
than drawing and illustration, basically. But it wasn't a 
program that introduced me very well into what I 
experienced in the art department at UCLA when I got 
there. It was more like still a second-class-- Well, 
really like an illustration kind of an idea or something 


that could be applied art, design, something like that, 
and drawing not as an expressive or painting as an 
expressive idea but as a kind of skill, a kind of craft, a 
kind of — You know, how to make something look like it 
should look. I have a lot of paintings and drawings from 
that period of time, which are kind of — There is some 
skill there, but they're not exceptional. Anyway, I had 
like almost straight A's out of this two-year experience 
and still continued to-- Most of my time was spent like 
with the car culture and something. I wasn't a student 
necessarily. But it was easy for me still. I just knew 
how to do that somehow. 

I forgot to mention that I met my wife Janet — Storey 
was her maiden name- -in high school. 
LEHMER: In high school? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. She was one of those women or girls, I 
guess you'd say, in high school who was part of the elite 
kind of group. There's always that group of like 
cheerleaders, although she didn't do that, I don't think. 
But they were all the good-looking girls, and they were 
lively and so on. So she was really one of those girls. 
We dated rather consistently — maybe we went steady, I 
can't remember- -through high school or the last of high 
school. Then, when she graduated, she went into nursing 
school in Los Angeles, so that sort of ended our whatever 


was going on. Except I would date her. I mean, I would 
come into L.A., or when she was in Riverside we would go 
out and whatever. And we were in love. I mean, it was 
that kind of thing. But it was that she was in L.A. and I 
was back — I think that was probably what was 
disappointing about not getting into UCLA the first time, 
because she was in L.A. And we would have probably 
continued that relationship, which then became sort of 
less involved. Anyway, I was dating other people, she 
was, and so on. But that's how I met her. Later we'll 
talk about that, how and when we were married or whatever. 
So we'll try and maybe find a place to stop here which 
would kind of be easy to pick up on when we start again. 
Anyway, I'm graduated from this junior college. I'm going 
to transfer to UCLA and take up that life. So maybe we 
can stop at this point and pick it up at that juncture, if 
that's useful for you. 
LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: There are probably things that will come to my 
mind about this time period that we haven't talked about, 
but — 

LEHMER: Maybe we can pick that up right at the beginning 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Or if you listen to it and see if there 
are some gaps or whatever, because- - 


LEHMER: I'm sure I'll have some questions, and we can 
fill in things. 

HEINECKEN: The only thing here that I thought was 
interesting is that as a kid-- Did anything stand out? 
And I was trying to think about that. The only thing that 
comes to my mind is the kind of independence or something 
that maybe comes from my parents or from the situation of 
living apart from my father, thinking he was part of this 
giant, wonderful military thing when in fact he wasn't, 
and that they were divorced and they didn't tell me. I 
don't know. These are kinds of things that I think 
probably at the time I didn't realize but later I kind of 
thought something was wrong there, or there was some-- I 
don't think it would be uncommon, let's say, especially 
during the war, that you wouldn't necessarily feel 
obligated to tell a kid seven or eight years old that 
you're divorced. I mean, why not spare him that? But in 
retrospect it just seemed like a kind of — I didn't want 
to have to hear that from this maiden aunt. I needed to 
hear it from them. 

LEHMER: You mentioned, I think it was in Glendale, you 
lived with a friend. You lived with a family whose son 
was a very close friend of yours. 

HEINECKEN: Jack Davis. That was his name. That just 
popped into my mind. 


LEHMER: Jack Davis. Well, maybe you can think about it, 
but I'm curious about other friends you had and what kind 
of relationships you had with them and what you did. 
HEINECKEN: The implication here, which — I never said it. 
I mean, I'm an only child. I think for me that breeds a 
kind of independence and also takes away any opportunity 
to use brothers and sisters as a familial device or-- You 
know, brothers and sisters enjoy something that no one 
else who doesn't have them ever gets. And I don't think I 
miss that, but I think it makes you self -centered. In my 
case, I think reading and fantasizing about reading-- 
fantasizing about everything and constructing your own 
internal world--can be beneficial, but it also isolates 
you from-- I mean, I think basically you're a colder 
person, because you don't grow up with the sense of — And 
I had cousins or whatever, but I never saw them or 
anything. So that's important. If anything would stand 
out, it's that kind of notion. I don't know how to 
express it more clearly, but-- 

LEHMER: A form of survival based on independence or a 
form of independence based on-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, for me, it's a horrible thing to say, 
but I think I could probably do without most of the things 
that I have. I'd get by. I mean if Joy [Joyce Neimanas] 


died it would be awful, but I'd get by. I mean, I adapt 
to things. 

My whole childhood, the period of time with my mother 
in Iowa without my father and with this familial problem, 
I remember being just completely in my own world most of 
the time. I had these soldiers. I would recreate 
whatever the current World War II stuff going on was. I 
was just absolutely focused on the order and the — These 
soldiers had to be the same scale. In other words, if I 
got a soldier that wasn't in scale, it would not work. I 
mean, that soldier was gone — right? — because it throws the 
whole thing out of kilter. I'm very much like that now, 
as you know. Things are on the surface very disorganized, 
as is my mind, but underneath that is this acute sense of-- 
LEHMER: Order. 

HEINECKEN: --order and obsession with not knowing where 
all — Well, knowing where all these pictures are and who 
has them is a very unusual kind of obsession. I mean, 
most people-- Like I was talking with Robert Frank last 
night about something like this, and he has no idea where 
these pictures-- Nor does he give a shit where they are 
[laughs], which is quite different than my-- And I think 
it's a kind of — When you say that, it's an admission of 
not guilt, it's an admission of a weakness in relation to 


what you make. It's as if they're your children and you 
want to know where they are. But that's silly. But 
that ' s the way I am . 


MARCH 9, 1996 

LEHMER: Why don't we start with talking about what you 
were mentioning about flight. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, as I said, probably everybody has 
certain experiences that they can always remember and 
always try to put value on. But in my case, basically, 
which we have already sort of covered up until, let's say, 
when I'm twenty-one years old or whatever-- When I went 
into the service I had flunked out of school. I was, for 
my age, quasi-alcoholic. I had no goals, no nothing, 
except to keep moving somehow. So you go from that state 
of mind to eighteen months later when I'm commissioned in 
the Marine Corps. I got my wings, and I'm completely 
confident, completely ready to do whatever life is going 
to be. 

LEHMER: That's when you were second lieutenant? 
HEINECKEN: Right. So you know that you've got four years 
that I'm going to be in the service. Eighteen months have 
passed, and that's all the training. Then you got two and 
a half years of active service to do and four more years 
in the reserves. In my case, I did it for a total of 
thirteen years. But the confidence that comes from a 
program like that is invaluable. Even now in the sense 


that — You can't say being able to fly a jet fighter has 
anything to do with being an artist except there is 
something to it about confidence and knowing that you can 
be put up against certain daily problems. Every day is a 
problem when you get into that airplane. It's never 
perfect. So out of all that you have a great deal of 
confidence in yourself to be able to figure out those 
kinds of things, not necessarily a philosophical or 
intellectual thing. But it is striking to me that in that 
short period of time they just take you raw and they make 
something out of you. It's amazing. Or if they can't 
make you , you ' re out . 

LEHMER: When you said "life threatening," can you be more 
specific? I mean, crossing the street is life 
threatening. Going to work-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, there were two situations, both of 
which-- I could have been killed. I mean definitely. It 
was just that close. So I did the right things in both 
instances. But right up until the last moment of getting 
out of the situation, you don't know. I don't know if I 
mentioned this, but in one of these things-- You're on the 
radio all the time with the people, and they have the 
tapes. I'm praying and I'm screaming like, "Get me out of 
this and I'll do this and I'll--" Which I had no idea I 
was saying. But when you sit down and play the tape, 


you're saying, "Who's that idiot talking?" And that's you 
talking, right? That was amazing to me. I have no memory 
of that, because you're just panicked. You're thinking 
you're going to die. And so you fall back suddenly on 
what? Twenty years before that you would have had this 
notion that there was a life after death and that you had 
to be a good person. So that's just an aside on all this, 
but — 

LEHMER: Well, to try to clarify that a little more, 
because I'm sure it's-- 

HEINECKEN: On both of these occasions the person flying 
in the other airplane with me is dead. 

LEHMER: So let's back up just a hair. As an outsider I 
don't have a clear picture of what you're talking about. 
Obviously you're in a plane, and you're piloting a plane. 
But beyond that I don't know what's going on. Did you 
stall or — ? 

HEINECKEN: Okay. Well, it's a long story. I don't know 
if you want to go through the whole thing. I can tell you 
very briefly. If you want to talk about it in more depth 
I can do that, too. But these incidents only pertain, I 
think, to a sense of confidence or whatever I'm trying to 
convey about going from one kind of adolescent frame of 
mind very quickly into a mature state of mind as it 
regards the job of being a naval aviator, jet fighter 


pilot, which is a difficult job for anybody to do. But 
I'll make it very, very short. It's a long story. 

But anyway, there's a mid-air collision with my 
wingman [D.R. Roland]. So there are four airplanes; you 
have two here and two here. And we're practicing this 
dogfighting stuff. So he runs into me- -a lot of technical 
stuff that comes with this--but basically what happens is 
that my airplane goes out of control immediately after the 
crash, and we're at, I think, 25,000 feet. We're going 
like 300 knots in this maneuvering stuff when this occurs. 
The next thing that I know is that I'm at about 10,000 
feet. The airplane is like a leaf. It's just like a 
leaf — no control, nothing. And I get it stabilized, so 
it ' s flying . But it ' s flying crooked because the whole 
tail of the airplane--not the whole tail, but most of the 
tail — is missing where the other airplane has basically 
hit the tail and hit the canopy of my airplane. So what 
happened is as soon as that impact [happened] , the canopy 
comes off of my airplane because it's smashed, which means 
three or four things happen simultaneously. One, I got a 
concussion from where the canopy hit my helmet. So I got 
that . 

LEHMER: When you're talking about the canopy, you're 
talking about the window over the--? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. It's the one big unit of glass. 


There's a windshield, and then the canopy meets that. 
LEHMER: Got you. 
HEINECKEN: So that goes off. 
LEHMER: Are you under air pressure then? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. You go from a pressurized situation of 
about 8,000 or 10,000 feet-- First, one of the things that 
happens is called explosive decompression, which means 
that your body suddenly goes from the pressurized state at 
8,000 or 10,000 feet to 25,000. You get a big flash of 
light in your head, and your bowels empty, and your 
bladder empties iimnediately. Just everything goes out. 
That's part of the fear, I think, of the decompression. 
At the same time, I lose my helmet, which has the oxygen 
in it and has the radio where you're speaking, and the 
earphones are in the helmet. So that's gone, which means 
you're sitting then not only in a-- And it's cold, I mean 
definitely cold, and you've got the head banging. You've 
got an airplane out of control, basically. 

But anyway, I get it under control, and it's flying. 
My wingman comes up, not the wingman that hit me, but the 
third guy [Patrick Guillfoyle] . He comes up next to me 
because the thing is just wobbling like a leaf and 
whatever . Because he can see I ' ve got no hat and 
whatever, he gives me a hand signal, which is like this 
[gestures with hand] to eject. Everything in aviation has 


a hand signal for it, because often you don't have radio 
or don't have — I'm thinking, "Yeah." But it's a big deal 
to eject. Even though you're trained to do it, you know 
you're going to do it, it's a big move to get out with at 
least some kind of safety in this airplane. So anyway, 
the ejection handle is down here, and I pull the handle. 
The whole thing just came off in my hand. It didn't fire. 
So he's still giving me this [gestures with hand], because 
he's seeing the airplane is not going to fly. So I showed 
him the handle. Jesus Christ. This yellow handle light 
doesn't go out, it stays. The first inch or so after you 
pull, the canopy blows off. The canopy is now gone 
anyway. The second inch or two would be the explosives 
that fire the seat out. But none of that happens because 
the system is damaged by the mid-air, and the canopy's 
gone and whatever . So that ' s out , and we both know that . 
The only thing to do is to try to land it, and we're 
out in the desert behind Palmdale [California] . And the 
fourth airplane-- Well, there are terms for this, but the 
other guy dispatches to the crash site to see what 
happened there, so he's gone. I don't hear any of this, 
but they're talking. That other guy alerts the 
helicopters out of Edwards Air Force Base, because that's 
what we're near. And so let's just say I didn't know 
this, but he confirms that that airplane has crashed, and 


he sees the parachute on the ground , but he can ' t see the 
pilot. He's out of gas by that time because he's been 
flying around looking for this crash site, so he goes back 
to El Toro [Marine Corps Air Station] . But anyway, they 
got the helicopters out there, and they confirmed later 
the guy is dead. That's the guy who ran into me. The 
fourth guy goes back to El Toro. The third guy is the guy 
that's with me who's an experienced person just like I am. 
The other two were junior people and not as experienced. 
So we head to Mojave [Marine Corps Air Station], which is 
an urgency kind of landing thing out there. These are all 
technical things, but normally if everything is working 
you fly in low over the field, you brake, and land. But 
whenever you get any damage, especially if you have a 
flameout, which means no engine, you make a modified 
thing- - 

LEHMER: Okay, because it's a jet. 

HEINECKEN: You come over at maybe 8,000 feet over where 
you're going to land and then just make a very gradual, 
long approach with the engine at idle, so that if it fails 
you're still in the position to glide in and make a safe 
landing. It's called a flameout approach. You practice 
that all the time. It's one of the things that you can 
do. But the difference here is now we got the airplane-- 
Okay, after I showed him the handle, we're figuring 


it out. So I figure, well, we're going to land it 
somehow, or try to. 

LEHMER: There is no way that you can get out with a chute 
on your back? 

HEINECKEN: No. No, you go right into the tail. It cuts 
you in half. You can't bail out of any jet; it has to be 
an ejection situation. So we're heading back to Mojave, 
but there are a couple of things that come up in my mind. 
One is that I know the seat's on because the canopy's off. 
I know that the ejection didn't work but that the seat is 
definitely charged, because once that handle is out you've 
got a live explosive in there. But it's not triggered, 
which is what fires the seat out. It's a very heavy 
charge — I mean, it's a big charge thing. So anyway, I 
know that there is no way that I can get out of the 
airplane, but I know that the seat is-- I'm getting ahead 
of it a little bit. 

The first thing I do is I drop the landing gear. And 
again, simply because that's now a new configuration for 
the airplane, it loses more altitude, but I get that 
stabilized. Then the next thing that you would do is to 
drop the flaps, which gives you added lift for landing. 
So I dropped the flaps. All of this has to do with the 
aerodynamics of the air over the tail. Anytime you change 
the gear or the flaps, you're putting a new lift-drag 


ratio over the wings. So again it drops another 5,000 
feet, because the flaps are disturbing what would 
ordinarily be a normal air flow, even though the thing's 
crooked. He's staying with me all the time doing the same 
stuff. He's right there watching it all and trying to 
figure it out. He's talking to Mojave, obviously, about 
what's happening. Anyway, I got the flaps up, so again 
I've got a stable airplane. I think by that time we're 
probably over the field, and I'm in this wide approach to 
the landing. 

But then the problem comes up that the seat is 
charged. Normally, you land this airplane at about 125 
knots or something. Now, the airplane doesn't fly below 
about 170 knots--way too fast really for a normal landing. 
You practice landings with no flaps, but you never 
actually try to complete the landing. You touch down. 
You know what speed you need with that, but you just take 
off again and you go around. It's not anything that you 
would want to complete, because it doesn't make any sense. 

So anyway, I recalled that, or it flashed in my mind 
that, [there were] two incidents within the past month 
with this same type of airplane, one on the carrier and 
one not, where they had a charged seat for whatever 
reasons, and both times, because the landings were hard-- 
I forget what happened, but in both cases the seat went 


off because the landing was much harder and much faster 
than normal. So I'm thinking, "Well, I don't have any 
choice about that. When it lands, it's either going to 
fire the seat or not . " But there are these other two 
instances, and what happens there is the seat just goes 
out of the airplane. The airplane keeps going, and you 
die because there is no chute opening or anything like 
that. It just fires it out, and you're going a couple of 
hundred miles an hour and you die. So that was one option 
that could happen. I thought probably it would. But it 
didn't. It didn't. 

Well, the other thing is that you've got a problem 
with the runway, which is an emergency runway, I think 
4,000 feet, and normally you want 6,000 feet. So I know 
in some emergency fields they'll actually have wires like 
they have on the carrier which they can raise, and others 
have foam things that they put out so that there ' s no 
fire. Others have big nets that you fly into that 
actually stop you like on the old carriers and stuff like 
that. But none of that's there; it's just this emergency 
strip. The problem of this is how to get the airplane, if 
this is the runway, as close to here so you have as much 
runway as possible but not short of the runway, obviously. 

So he's flying with me. And I just face the thing. 
If the seat fires, it doesn't matter. The airplane's 


going to go somewhere down there, and it's not going to 
kill anybody or whatever. But that didn't happen. 

Then the second thing that I know is going to happen 
is that the tires will probably blow at that air speed, 
because they're not made to actually brake. So if they 
don't blow, that's okay, but I can't brake at that speed, 
because if I brake- - 
LEHMER: You blow — 

HEINECKEN: Well, I can. The tires will just go, and then 
you have no traction. You're trained to think about all 
this, but this is all happening in seconds. 

So anyway, the tires did blow on landing. I did try 
to brake it, and it did, in a sense, slow down. I shut 
the engine off, and that helps a little bit, so I have no 
power. And it went all the way down the runway, off of 
the end of the runway, into the sand, but not at a very 
high speed by that time. The nose gear collapsed, and the 
airplane is just sitting on the sand--very embarrassing on 
one level, this whole thing. It seemed like there was one 
other possibility in there that was also threatening. 

But anyway- -the truck comes out, and they get me and 
eventually tow the airplane off. Meanwhile, the other 
pilot has to go around. He can't get back to El Toro; he 
doesn't have enough gas. So he has to make about- -I think 
they told me- -two or three passes waiting to get my 


airplane out of the way. Because you don't want to land 
no matter what when you've got an airplane at the end. If 
something goes wrong, you're going to hit that. Finally 
he did land with the airplane still there. I was out of 
it. It's so short. But anyway, he landed it. 
LEHMER: So he's got a threat, too. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. It's not a big deal, but you just don't 
land. They won't let you land with an airplane sitting 
out there, but they have to because he's got nowhere else 
to go. So that's the one situation. 

This whole thing didn't take as long as it takes to 
talk about it. The whole thing is like two or three 
minutes. I mean, things are happening like that [knocks]. 
It's just all procedural logic which you're trained with. 
If this does this, then you do this. If that does that, 
then you do this, and so on. It's rogue in a sense. But 
all this was new. You practice all this stuff, but it's 
different when-- And plus the problem of the thing is the 
airplane is so screwy this way. It's like I know the 
airplane's path is going to be like this on the runway, 
but the airplane is cocked this way, which means you might 
shear the landing gear. Well, the airplane won't fly this 
way. Half the tail is gone, so the only way it flies is 
at this kind of a cocked angle. 
LEHMER: You were attacking? 


HEINECKEN: Yeah, you could call it that. But anyway, I 
get it down right here, so that it has 100, maybe 200 feet 
wide before it goes off the side. Because you can't steer 
it. You steer it with the brakes, if anything. I mean, 
you could tap one brake, but there's no brakes, no 

The one thing I forgot, which is also very weird, is 
that you're sitting in this airplane which is going like 
initially 250 knots down to 170 or something like that, 
but because it's cocked you got this 200 mile[s per hour] 
wind going right through the cockpit. Normally the 
windshield screen would wrap the airflow around you. All 
this time I'm sitting over at one side, because if I'm in 
the middle where you should be, you've got all this, you 
know — The airflow blows your head off. That whole thing 
was just like-- I could shut my eyes and see it. You just 
never forget it. 

Plus this guy dies, which was a bad thing. There is 
another whole story about that, but-- I don't know today 
whether I did anything that really did cause this. I 
mean, I was absolved of it. And you're never absolved of 
it. As flight leader, if anything happens in your flight 
you get a percentage of pilot error just automatically. 
But they finally assign, I don't know, 80 percent pilot 
error on the other guy's fault, some small percentage on 


me, and another percentage on the operations officer who 
put this guy into this flight at the last minute. Because 
when I was preparing to brief the flight, one guy that was 
scheduled was sick or-- I don't know. Something happened 
to him and he didn't show up. So they got two standby 
pilots who were both second lieutenants with less 
experience than the two of us. So the operation officer 
picked this guy to be my wingman, the guy who hit me 
ultimately, and he didn't take the other guy. This is 
another decision that people make. You've got two standby 
pilots. They're both equal in some sense. This guy is 
maybe four or five hours of a certain type more 
experienced than this guy, but he doesn't take this guy 
and put him in my flight because he thinks he needs this 
guy in the next flight, which goes out an hour later, so 
he puts the least experienced person into this flight. So 
he gets assigned 20 percent supervisor error or something 
like that, which goes on his record. They have to come up 
with 100 percent, right? That's just the way they do it. 
Like even now, pilot error, always, no matter what 
happens-- But-- 

LEHMER: Well, in my mind there are two things that — 
HEINECKEN: These are not unusual things, by the way. 
This is unusual because it's me. It happens all the time 
like this. This is very serious because of the mid-air 


thing. But during this time period, if you took four 
airplanes up, which was what we would do typically, two of 
them would lose the radios, one would lose hydraulic 
power. None of these were bad things, they just happened. 
But the airplanes are old. You know, you fly TWA [Trans 
World Airlines] . That airplane lands with two or three 
systems that have gone, but their backup systems have 
taken-- You know, it doesn't worry you, because that's the 
way it is. But the fighter is a very complicated machine. 
And these were old airplanes, actually. They had just 
come back from Korea. 

LEHMER: Well, I want to see if you can expand on this. 
There are two things that are going through your head in a 
sense when you survive this. One is, "Thank God." You 
never know how you're going to react in a crisis. You 
were able to keep your head enough to survive, and I think 
that, like you say, follows you for the rest of your life. 
You know that given a crisis there's a good chance you're 
going to be able to figure your way through it. But the 
second thing is that a fellow pilot lost his life, and you 
were spared. And these are two very different things, but 
I think of them as very important. One builds a lot of 
confidence. Like you say, if you can think your way 
through this or if you could survive this and not 
completely freeze up, you figure you can handle just about 


anything, I would imagine. 

HEINECKEN: Yes. It's not necessarily, as I was saying, 
transferable to intellectual or emotional qualities. But 
I suppose in some sense some people, if they were 
religious, would say, "Well, God saved me." That wasn't 
the situation with me. The point is I could have frozen 
and not done anything and just died. That happens 
sometimes; you just don't know what to do. Very 
fortunately, I had this wingman who-- Because I had no 
radio. If I didn't have him, the people wouldn't even 
know I'm coming there. They wouldn't have had a fire 
truck or anything like that. Suddenly an airplane would 
appear, which is just-- 

LEHMER: So when you're on the ground, when you're out of 
the plane, you were probably in a physical state of shock, 
but do you have any sense of how you felt with those two 
emotions? Or were there other emotions that I haven't 

HEINECKEN: I wouldn't have been able to recount it 
without having recounted it over and over to these people 
so that we know how to prevent it. And actually the next 
day I showed up-- There was always an accident 
investigation team like this made up of your squadron, or 
sometimes it will be higher-level people. So they showed 
up, and then also the representatives from Grumman 


[Aircraft Engineering Corporation] , who make the 
airplanes, showed up, because the airplane shouldn't have 
been flying the way it was. I mean, it should have just 
crashed with what was missing from it. So they were very 
interested to see the airplane and make photographs and 
test the metal and all that. Because this would be like 
the only time, let's say, that you have a particular 
airplane with a particular damage where they can say, 
"Well, okay, this one flew at x knots per hour with x 
damage." This is important that they know that, because 
it ' s part of the engineering of an airplane and things 
like that. So that was really important to them. And of 
course, the accident people want to figure out what 
happens to prevent this sort of thing. That's why they're 
assigning percentages of error to all people involved in 
it, including this officer who did nothing but assign this 
guy to this flight. 

But there are things like--which is something you 
learn- -actual dogfight ing situations that you're involved 
in. The two of us are fighting this other pair. And then 
you switch advantage, and that's what we're practicing to 
do. So you're talking to the other people, but if you're 
really in combat you're probably on different frequencies 
than we were using. But when I say something, if I don't 
want the other section to hear me, then I'm on another 


frequency with my wingman. And I think that's what we 
were on. I can't recall exactly. So there's a cadence. 
Well, I think Love Willie was caller. Anyway, I'd say, 
"Love Willie 2, this is 1." He puts in that he's 
listening, he knows I'm calling him. And then he has a 
cadence where in this case you'd say, "Brake [knock] right 
[knock] now [knock]," which means we're going to turn, 
hard- turn brake. We're going to turn right and now. It's 
the cadence that you anticipate. So first he hears "brake 
[knock]." He knows we're going to turn hard. "Right 
[knock]." We're going to right. "Now [knock]." So it's 
[knock knock knock] . You hear that second [knock] word, 
the cadence of the third word [knock], you go. You hear 
the word, but you go at the same time. So you can't say, 
"Brake [knock] right [knock, pause] now [knock]," because 
the cadence is off. Or you can't say, "Brake [knock, 
pause] right [knock] now [knock]." Follow what I'm 

HEINECKEN: And this is something you learn. 
LEHMER: How do you set that up? Do you set it up by 
saying "brake" or — ? 

HEINECKEN: You're just telling this other guy, because 
if — And this is the problem. And it's like he's here 
[gestures]. Here are the wings. He has to maintain a 


position which has clearance this way, a couple of feet 
and down and a couple of feet back, so that he can move 
this way or this way and never run into anything. And 
you're doing that all the time. You're doing up, down, 
around-- So I'm telling him we're going to brake right, 
which is into him. He knows that. And on that cadence, 
then he knows I'm going to move, and it's going to be 
fast. His job is to maintain the position of his airplane 
relative to mine no matter what it's doing. He's not even 
looking at anything except me, and he has to maintain that 
position. Well, the guys who saw it said that it looked 
like instead of somehow where you're like this, okay, now 
this airplane is going to turn, and because of this 
cadence, you're going to turn right at the same time, 
because you know that cadence, somehow he got up in here 
and tried to go over the top or something like that. It 
was a mistake on his part. But it depends on how it was 
executed. How was the cadence? Was he trained enough? 
Too bad. But the nose of his airplane hit my canopy 
because he was sitting back here. The wing of his 
airplane hit the tail, which is where the damage was. So 
those two points of impact- -one blew the canopy off, the 
other blew part of the tail off. And because his wing is 
gone, his airplane just goes. They never did figure out — 
I guess his ejection seat did fire, but it was too low for 


the parachute to open and survive it. He never got out of 
the seat. Normally you're in the seat, the parachute 
opens, you get yourself out, you drop the seat so you're 
just in the chute. But he was still in the seat, so it 
killed him. That's why they saw the parachute, but they 
couldn't find the seat, or they didn't see him because he 
was still in the seat. 
LEHMER: Okay. Before we go on-- 

HEINECKEN: The other one we don't need to go into, just a 
different situation where I said I started praying and 
whatever, was something that took probably eight to ten 
minutes. You have time there to start screaming and get 
paranoid, because you're not doing anything really in this 
second instance except waiting for something to happen, 
and you're running out of fuel. And the alternatives when 
that happens are pretty nil. So that's a different 
situation. I'm saying that because the thing I just 
described, it's all like two minutes at least. It 
couldn't be longer than that. You don't have time to 
think about anything; you're just doing stuff. The other 
one was different than that, but in both instances people 
died, which was — Well, it's real. I think in the 
eighteen months that I was in that squadron I think we 
lost about eight people. 
LEHMER: Out of how many? 


HEINECKEN: Probably thirty, something like that. That 
varied. Twenty- four, thirty. 

LEHMER: So you're talking about almost a third. 
HEINECKEN: Is it a third? Yeah. And that's normal. I 
don't know whether they have a better rate now. Probably 
they do. 

This is another story which I like very much. When 
you go into this situation, you have already enlisted. 
You're a naval aviation cadet, which is a position. 
You're not an enlisted man, but you're not an officer. 
You're a cadet like a midshipman. They march you, shave 
your head, get you all sort of looking the same, and march 
into this auditorium. This is my memory of it, one of 
those things which I may exaggerate or have exaggerated. 
There's maybe thirty of us or something like that in this 
class. We don't know each other. We're just lined up in 
there. The naval air training is all handled by the 
Marine Corps. You have naval officers who were in charge 
of it, but the drill sergeants and the people that are 
working you in pre- flight school are all marines, and 
they're tough. They're regular drill instructor types 
like you have seen in any of those movies. I mean, it's 
real. These guys are just-- Their job is to dehumanize 
you, make you into a working person along the lines that 
they want. That's the whole thing. 


LEHMER: A working machine. 

HEINECKEN: That's all they're going to do. So anyway, 
this master sergeant comes out on stage and introduces 
himself. He's the senior enlisted man in charge of this 
detachment. He says, "I'm going to introduce you to 
colonel so-and-so, and when he appears I'll call you to 
attention. You'll stand up and try to look like some 
decent human — " Meanwhile I'm saying, "Motherfucker," you 
know. "You'll stand up. And when he tells you to sit 
down, you sit down, and you listen to him." 

So this guy appears. He's got his swagger stick. 
He's a lieutenant colonel, aviator. Marine Corps, eighty 
thousand rolls of ribbons, and he just looks like the real 
thing to me. He tells us to sit down. And he says, "I'm 
colonel so-and-so. I'm in charge of the pre-f light 
school. This sergeant is running your life now." You 
know, this kind of thing. He said, "You'll never see me 
again. You'll see me only once more under two different 
circumstances." He says, "One, I have to see all the 
cadets that drop out voluntarily, so you might see me 
there." No, it's different than that. He says, "Well, 
the other situation you'll see me in is when you graduate. 
You'll see me. I'll be up in the front. This is it. 
You'll never see me again. You'll see this master sergeant. 
You may see another officer, but not me." I mean, he's 


telling it the way that is. 

So he says, "Look at the man on your right." Some 
were looking, and the sergeant says something like, "The 
colonel says, 'Every man look to the right.'" And his 
voice, it means he's going to come out and beat you with 
this stick or something. You look over here at this guy 
next to you. You're seeing the back of his head. The 
colonel said, "The man you're looking at will drop out of 
this program or be washed out. He'll drop out 
voluntarily, or we'll wash him out." 

"Now look to the man on your left." You look over 
here, and you're looking at the back of somebody else's 
head, and he said, "This man will be dead. In the four 
years that you're going to be in the service, this man 
will be dead. And if we're in combat, that will go up." 
So he said, "One- third of you will be gone from the 
program, one-third of you in four years will be dead." 

These are the statistics. They know this. First of 
all, they know they're going to wash out one- third because 
they have taken two-thirds--! mean, they've taken a number 
of people that they're going to eliminate down to 66 
percent. "We're going to get rid of the weakest 
candidates from the situation." That's clear. That's a 
fixed statistic. The other statistic is real. 

So you think, "Well, this guy is going to drop out, 


this guy is going to be dead, but I'm going to make it." 
But the other guy's looking at you. It's a beautiful kind 
of catch-22 thing that the colonel has set up for you. It 
doesn't occur to you what he's talking about until you see 
the situation. I don't know whether he did that with all 
the people, but it was just like-- Then you got it. So 
you either accept that even if everything goes right 
you've got a one-third chance of dying because of the 
nature of the work. If it's combat, it's higher than 
that. And a third of them are going to be gone, they're 
going to be back doing something else. I liked it. It 
was very clear. 

LEHMER: Let me back up. I have some follow-up questions 
from last week. I think what I want to do is handle them 
at the end. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I'm sorry to divert from that. 
LEHMER: No. But this is really important. I have a 
question in relation to this. Something that has come to 
mind is you were probably a few months out of that UCLA 
program when you went in this? No. Two years. You went 
back to Riverside [City College], and went two years to 
school there and got your A. A. degree. Last week, you 
mentioned that you just weren't ready for UCLA or prepared 
for it. You weren't mature enough, or emotionally you 
weren't sure. Can you expand on that, explore that in 


your head as to what the reasons might be for that return 
to Riverside? Just kind of briefly, can we explore the 
UCLA experience, the summer out of high school? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. That's not so clear to me, because it 
was a short three months. It was a summer thing. I know 
I had regular summer school courses. I presume that I 
failed these courses. I know that I probably just didn't 
go to class. It wasn't something that went on your 
records necessarily, because, as I told you, it's kind of 
like to put you in a situation where you were sort of 
going to real classes and you were living wherever you 
were living. It was like a camp or something to kind of — 
Anyway, I just couldn't do it. I don't remember why or — 
I was just too young, I think. Too big of a place, away 
from home, all of which seemed good, but I just couldn't 
concentrate, I guess, or I was just outclassed or 
something. I guess everybody only does it once, or not 
everybody-- But you go from high school into college. It 
depends on what the college is, how savvy the college is 
in regards to freshmen. So this is like this: Podunk 
high school to a very big, high-class university, and I 
couldn't do it. I don't know why. It was academic 
problems . 

LEHMER: You feel like Riverside-- You just weren't 
prepared? They didn't prepare you for--? 


HEINECKEN: Well, it certainly wasn't their fault. I took 

all the courses, I got the grades. I told you the grades 

were easy. I presume I was not intellectually or 

emotionally stable enough to do this. I made that choice. 

I mean, I was discouraged, I think, but I knew I just 

couldn't do that. So that's why I went back to Riverside. 

I'm just guessing now. Obviously that's going to be an 

easier situation because you're comfortable there. It's a 

small college, your friends are there. You're not like at 


LEHMER: But you didn't drop out of school? 

HEINECKEN: No, I didn't. It wasn't something that ever 

showed up, I think, on my records. It was like a trial 

situation or an indoctrination. 

LEHMER: But when you went back to Riverside, you went 

back into school, not necessarily to work in a garage as a 

mechanic or — ? 

HEINECKEN: No, no. I went back directly into the junior 


LEHMER: So you weren't giving up the academic pursuit? 



MARCH 9, 1996 

HEINECKEN: So probably in June I went to start this 
program. I don't know how long I was there- -maybe a 
month, maybe two--but by the time of the fall semester 
beginning I was back in Riverside enrolled in the junior 
college. There is another factor in here which would come 
up anyway. This is now the fall of 1949, A year, maybe 
less, into junior college, the Korean War starts in July 
1950, so it's been a year after that. Well, immediately-- 
I don't know whether they started it prior to that even, 
but certainly by the time that Korea broke out — the draft 
was reintroduced. So everybody my age and obviously older 
and younger were in the draft. Everybody who was in 
college got a deferment. The second year of the junior 
college I was deferred because I was in college, along 
with thousands of other people. But within that year, I 
would say 50, 50 percent of all of the men classmates in 
my high school class who didn't go to college went to 
Korea. They went in the army, and a very high percentage 
of those people were killed — very high. This is true all 
over the country, obviously. So it was the college thing 
that was always — I mean, there are good reasons why they 
deferred people to go to college, but it's not really very 


good unless you're going to be a doctor or something like 
that. But anyway, that was the way the policy was, and 
still is as far as that goes, I guess. So you're under 
that situation, because that's critical to the next phase 
of this, which I think fits at this point. 

So the second year of junior college I transfer to 

LEHMER: At the end of your second year? 

HEINECKEN: Yes. Now I'm like a junior or whatever. I've 
had all the lower-division courses except-- Basically I 
don't think I took that many art courses, maybe one or 
two, because there just wasn't room for that in this-- You 
know, the first two years at any university it's mostly 
academic stuff. So again I got all A's or whatever. 

I go to UCLA only to discover pretty quickly that 
again I was in over my head pretty bad. I remember I took 
two years of German, and I had to have a third year of 
German, and they were speaking like — I mean, I wasn't 
even in the ballpark. Yeah, I had two A's from this 
junior college, but I needed the third German class. So 
that was a problem. I had to drop that. I don't know 
whether I was probably going to Spanish, which I knew 
better, or something like that. But it was true of all 
the classes I took. I really had to fight to even stay in 
the ballpark. This was not emotional or whatever. This 


was just pure lack of capacity to deal with the courses on 
the level compared to the junior college. And I think a 
lot of people still have that problem. You get people 
from some junior college into UCLA with decent grades, but 
then the trouble starts. 

Anyway, I did the first year. I got through that. 
I'd have to look back at this, but I was put on probation 
for a year, I suppose, or a semester or something like 
that. This gets more vague for me. But the result is 
that after a year and a semester it's clear that I'm not 
going to be able to continue. I think I had two 
probations. I'd get back a little bit, but then it 
wouldn't work out. And this was the art classes as well 
as the academic classes. So I'm at that point. This 
would have been, let's say, the early spring of 1951. I 
get my draft notice, because they had been notified that 
I'm no longer in the university. Meanwhile, I didn't tell 
my parents any of this, which was stupid. So I'm ready to 
be drafted into the army, and I suppose I would have told 
my parents then, certainly, but as far as they are 
concerned I am ensconced at UCLA and doing fine. 
LEHMER: So this isn't a summer after your first year? 
HEINECKEN: No. What would have been my fourth year of 
school never really happened. I may have gone back 
briefly or something like that. But certainly by February 


or something like that it's clear than I'm not going to 
get a deferment. I finally got letters that said that 
"You will be inducted on such and such a date, " which was 
about two months down the line. So I was ready for that, 
which was not that rare. I mean, a lot of people in the 
same situation were losing their deferments for whatever 
reasons or graduating and then having to go in the 
service . 

I don't know whether you want this story, because 
it's also long. What happens is I've got these two 
friends [Jeff Clark and Lee Weitzel] , both of which are 
graduating from UCLA at that time. I don't know whether I 
was living with these guys or what-- I was sort of 
itinerant, but anyway, I had been out of school. I was 
parking cars at like Ciro's restaurant and those wonderful 
bars, nightclubs, in L.A. making a lot of money, gambling 
a lot, drinking a lot. It was like a perfect life, 
because I knew I was going to go into the army. So these 
two friends, they explain to me that they were going to go 
down and go into this flight training program or inquire 
about it or whatever, because they have graduated, or they 
are going to graduate. And I decide to go along with 
them. And I point this out because it's just the way 
things were. We decided we had to be there at like maybe 
Monday morning at eight o'clock or something. 


So we sort of drank our way down Sepulveda Boulevard 
all the way to Long Beach. We show up there, I guess it 
was the day before, and we were just wiped out. It was 
just terrible. I remember that. We all got into a motel 
someplace and showed up in this place at seven or eight 
o'clock in the morning. To make this short, both of these 
guys flunk out. I mean, they don't pass the test. And I 
go along with the ride; it's like a joke to me. I'm just 
going to go down there and see what happens and whatever. 
One guy fails the medical test, and the other one fails- - 
I don't know. After two or three days, you stay there. 
They're gone, and I'm left there, and I didn't even want 
to be down there . I'm down there because these guys led 
me down there. I just stayed with it, and pretty soon 
they said, "Well, you're eligible for this program. Come 
back in like four days, and we'll finish up the serious 
medical exams and all the stuff. We'll enlist in four 
days," or something like that. So I'm thinking this is a 
wonderful thing that I escaped all of these problems. 

I'm now in this program, which I know is going to be 
difficult. But the deal was that if you flunk out of the 
flight program — First of all, you sign up for four years, 
right? If you flunk out of this program you become an 
enlisted person in the navy, and you serve out your four 
years that way. You might go to Korea, but you're going 


to be on a boat or something . You ' re not going to be in 
the mud — So it wasn't a bad deal even if you flunked out. 
You still had to do four years of military service, but it 
will not be so dangerous, I think. Anyway, a lot of 
people were doing it because it was a good deal. 

Then there is another whole story which probably we 
don't need to go into. But getting past the physical 
exam — I have perfect health, but I'm a quarter of an inch 
too short for this program. And nobody picked it up in 
this first go-around, the first four days. Then there's 
an extensive medical thing coming, and another set of 
intelligence tests and stuff like that before they 
actually will accept you. It's a complicated story. Do 
you want to hear it? 
LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: Might as well. We'll lose this whole day, as 
far as I'm concerned . 
LEHMER: Let's do it. 

HEINECKEN: Let me think of the sequence of things. At 
some point I run up against this situation where the 
technician's measuring me. I'm five foot five and three- 
quarter [inches], which is actually what I am, or was. 
The limit is five foot six [inches]. Later I learned in 
the Marine Corps they don't like it because you're too 
short. You don't look good when you're in the line with 


all the other people, and that's the macho deal. But at 
this point it was you had to be five foot six. The 
reasoning was something to do with the airplane. Like if 
you were shorter than that, you would have difficulty, 
which I actually did run into later. In some airplanes I 
couldn't see out of them, or I couldn't reach the rudders. 
I always had to have the parachute guys build up a thing 
that would put me higher and closer in, which makes it 
easier to reach these things. Anyway, so I've got five 
foot six. Somehow that gets on the records, but then, 
that was the first medical stuff. 

Now I'm back for the second thing, and I'm being 
measured by an enlisted corpsman. The navy guy is saying, 
"You're five foot five and three-quarters. You're not 
eligible for this program." I'm saying, "What?" This is 
just unheard of for me. They think I'm fat. So he said, 
"No, everything else is okay." But he said, "You can't 
make it. It's just the rules." So I'm telling him my 
whole story and whatever, and he said, "I don't want to 
hear this." He said, "It's now four thirty. I'm going 
off duty. You're going to be here all night. A new guy 
will come in in the morning. I'll just leave this part 
blank. You just tell him that you only got up to prior to 
the height-weight phase of this, and he'll pick it up from 
there. And he'll tell you the same thing, but at least 


I'm not going to kick you out. This is the way it is." 

So I'm in the infirmary overnight worrying about 
this, knowing that my plan is all shot to hell. I'm back 
down in the mud again. It occurred to me- -and this is 
really weird--but I've got to get a quarter of an inch 
taller. It did come up, as he said, sometimes when you 
lay down overnight you get maybe a sixteenth taller. 
There's no way you're going to get a quarter of an inch. 
To make this story short, I'm staying overnight in the 
infirmary, and there's medicine stuff there and a bunch of 
magazines. So I got this knife or scissors. I got gauze. 
I got tape. I got the magazines. I cut out my footprints 
out of these magazines till they were at least a quarter 
of an inch, wrapped them with gauze with an adhesive tape, 
and taped them to my feet. Because I noticed the day 
before, you didn't take off your socks. You're down to 
your skivvy shorts and your socks. For whatever reason, 
they don't want you walking around getting dirty feet or 
whatever. So I figured, okay, I can wear my socks through 
the whole thing. It's worth a try. What are they going 
to do? They're not going to court-martial me. They're 
just going to throw me out, anyway. So I spent all night 
on this project. Somehow I got out of the building. I 
took all the scraps and everything, I got all that out 
into some kind of bag and out of the building somehow so I 


didn't have any of that stuff around. 

The next day, the new corpsman comes in, the doctors 
come in, and we start this thing. He said, "Well, the 
first thing we do the height-weight thing. I guess that's 
where they left off, right?" And I said, "Right." So 
they do the height-weight thing. I'm five foot six. I'm 
142 pounds or whatever, which is okay. The doctor is 
looking at all the other things. At some point, the guy 
says, "All right. The next thing is going to be--" I 
think I had already had the blood pressure test, which was 
sort of okay but a little high or something, but it was 
okay. And he says, "Okay, the next thing is we're going 
to test your blood pressure again, which we're sure is 
going to be okay, and then you go in and the doctor will 
examine your feet. And then you will go to this--" And 
I'm thinking, "The doctor is going to examine my feet?" 
[laughs] "Well, what's he examining my feet for?" And he 
said, "You know, just to see whether the bone structure is 
right. Everybody passes it, no problem." Well, Jesus, 
you know. 

So he says, "Okay. Lay down on the bunk here. The 
doctor will come in and check your blood pressure, and 
then you'll go on." So he said, "We'll leave you there 
about twenty minutes, so that everything will stabilize." 
Well, in the twenty minutes my blood pressure — I can just 


feel my heart pounding. I'm thinking, "What are they 
going to do to me?" Because this is probably a serious 
thing I'm doing here, but I can't change it. It occurs to 
me, okay, I've got like twenty minutes here. I've got my 
socks on, I've got the magazines, but the next thing is 
the foot exam. I get out of the bed, and there's a John 
adjacent to the room. I take all the magazines off, all 
the tape, all the shit, put it in the toilet, flush the 
toilet, and jump back in the bed. The guy comes in, puts 
the thing on me, and I got a blood pressure which is like 
8,000, you know. [laughs] And the doctor said, "I don't-- 
What's going on?" I said, "I'm really kind of nervous about 
this whole thing." He said, "Well, there's nothing — Your 
blood pressure is okay, but it's very elevated. I don't — " 
I said, "I'm just upset about this thing." And he said, 
"Okay. We'll give you another twenty minutes. Just 
relax. It will be okay." 

So at that point, the doctor goes into the John, and 
I hear this shriek. And the doctor is saying, "Corpsman, 
get your ass in here." The guy is like, "What?" And he 
says, "What is all this shit in here?" You know, I didn't 
look at it, but all the stuff I had put in had come back 
out of the toilet. The corpsman is in there, and he comes 
back out and says, "The toilet is backed up with something 
weird. The fucking thing is full of magazine scraps. I 


don't get it." And I'm just like, "I'm dead. I'm dead." 
[laughs] Oh, God, it was just-- So they get this squared 
away. And the doctor is screaming at this corpsman. He's 
saying, "I'm going to get your ass. Somebody is fucking 
with this toilet with these magazines, and it's your ass. 
You're going to answer to this." I said, "I don't know." 
I'm back here trying to physically make my heart stop 
pumping like that, but it didn't work. The guy said, 
"They want you." He said, "All right. I'm going to give 
you another day here." He said, "What you've got to do is 
to get yourself under control." Meanwhile they did my 
feet, so that was okay. "The only thing stopping you is 
the blood pressure, and we know that your blood pressure 
is normal." The next morning they come in. I beat this, 
because I just know I've got to do this somehow. So I 
pass this whole thing. Amazing, but — 

So everyplace after that I've got on my records x 
pounds and five foot six, which-- You know, you have to be 
five foot six. Over the next thirteen years, every six 
months you have a physical. I finally learned how you can 
stand a certain way on that scale and you can pick up a 
quarter of an inch unless they're looking for it. They 
say, "Get on the scale. A hundred and forty something. 
Five foot six." All that time I had that on my records. 

As I said, I did run into problems with certain 


airplanes where I had to have a special thing made, 

because it's critical that you can reach all that stuff 

with your feet. So that's that story. 

LEHMER: So you have had this intimate relationship with 

magazines for a long time? [laughs] 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's the implication, but it's not 

true. It couldn't have anything to do with it. I was 

like in a box. I knew I had to do something, but-- 

LEHMER: All right. 

HEINECKEN: That was pretty ingenious in a sense, but 

that's how desperate I was. I just had to do it somehow. 

And I knew that there is no way to grow a quarter of an 

inch overnight. 

LEHMER: A question that I have based on this is-- 

HEINECKEN: I don't recall anything prior to that where I 

really was facing a situation. And I had to invent 

something quickly that would work. I still do that. I'll 

just makeshift something if I can get by with it, or I 

won't pay a lot of attention to something if I can do it 

an easier way. It's kind of an improvisational laziness 

or something that I have. 

LEHMER: Well, a part of that is that independent 

thinking, to be liberal with that term "creative." But 

you're not bound to preconceived methodology or rules. 

Let me run through some follow-up questions based on 


last week ' s interview and see how much we can get done on 

HEINECKEN: I have another idea. It would be interesting 
for me to have this tape when I'm talking about this mid- 
air. There is this other situation which I can add on to 
that. Maybe we'll lose the day in terms of what we really 
need to talk about, but that way I'll get it. 
LEHMER: Let's talk about it now. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, I think so, and then we can start clean. 

Okay, I think it would have been after-- No, it would 
have been before this mid-air collision thing. The whole 
military experience, at least in aviation, is that you're 
always in training for the next step of what you're going 
to do. When you go into combat it's different, and you 
have regular things--no, real things — to do every day. 
But until that happens, it's like going to school. Every 
day you're learning another thing, you're advanced into 
another position relative to the flight situation. All 
kinds of ratings have to be fulfilled, like instrument 
ratings, carrier landings, gunnery ratings--you know, it's 
a school is really what it is — every day, except you're 
paid to do it, and it's interesting and it's dangerous. 

So this situation was having to do with instrument 
training, meaning you're flying in the clouds or in 
reduced visibility. In other words, you're inside the 


airplane, and you're not looking outside of it because 
there is nothing to see. It's the thing that I was never 
as good at as a lot of people were. I was always nervous 
about it even in the flight training, and it was not my 
easiest thing to do. But I got through it. In the 
tactical squadron, you have to get so many actual 
instrument hours. You also have to get a certain number 
of training hours where they put you into a two- seated 
airplane, they close this hood thing over you so you're 
just flying the instruments. There's another guy in the 
front, though, who's there all the time. You fly the 
whole flight underneath this hood, but it's not dangerous, 
because this guy can take it over anytime. *[The final 
check flight is done with two airplanes with an actual 
instrument approach and landing. You plan the entire 
flight, fly it, and the wingman, instruction pilot, 
follows you and evaluates your procedures and performance 
and passes you or fails you.] 

So this flight was scheduled-- It must have been in 
the spring. I can't remember the dates. But El Toro, 
which is where I'm stationed, has the same weather, 
really, as here in Los Angeles, but it's a little 

* Heinecken added the following bracketed section during 
his review of the transcript. 


different. But during the morning you always get low 
clouds that burn off by about ten o'clock. We would 
always schedule the instrument flights-- If you wanted 
actual instrument conditions, you'd fly during that period 
of time so you'd get back before the weather clears. 

This was to be my first actual GCA landing. GCA is a 
ground-controlled approach, where they actually talk you 
into the landing. That's it. It's a procedure that 
everybody-- I mean, it's just one of the things. Normally, 
if you have a high enough ceiling, you'll just fly it; you 
won't have a GCA. But when the visibility or clouds are 
so low, then you go into this GCA mode where you're 
talking to these people. 
LEHMER: And what's GCA? 

HEINECKEN: Ground-controlled approach, which means that 
at a certain point in the approach and landing, you don't 
talk to anybody and you just listen to these people, and 
they'll tell you you're approaching glide path, you're on 
glide path, you're going off glide path, turn right, 
you're going low at power-- You just sit there and listen 
to them, and you make these corrections. They're watching 
you on their radar screen. They can land you in absolute 
zero visibility, which isn't common. It's to get either 
the airplane on the ground in instrument conditions or get 
it underneath the clouds to where you can see what you're 


doing . 

So I think this was--what did I say?--first or second 
check flight in this thing. We had two airplanes. I have 
to plan the whole trip, which is we take off before dawn, 
so that we'll be back in an hour and a half or two. We 
still have the clouds, which is why we're doing it at that 
time. This happens a lot of times. I'll just describe 
the whole thing. So I'm leading the flight. 

The guy who's flying with me [Dick Mabrey] is a 
captain. He's the instrument rating officer. He's not 
only the best instrument pilot but he's shot down four 
MIGs [Mikoyan and Gusevich Russian aircraft] in Korea. 
He's like one of the big guns on the squadron, but he's 
also getting out of the Marine Corps. He's done his time. 
He's just in this squadron for the next two or three 
months, but he's a very, very sharp, all-business guy. 

So I plan the whole flight. I think we went to San 
Diego to [Las] Vegas to Sacramento, you know, so that you 
get back to El Toro while you still have the weather. So 
they have a situation where you're at, let's say, 20,000 
feet. You're directly over the base where you want to 
land. They have what's called the penetration, which is 
to make a very rapid descent in a big — Like here's where 
you are, right over the base, right? You make a very 
rapid descent on a big loop like this which comes down. 


You're using no fuel, you're just diving into this thing. 
At some point there you enter the clouds, maybe at about 
8,000 feet or something like that. They bring you around 
and set you up for the GCA. 

It's nighttime; it's still dark. We're getting ready 
to go. (This will all figure in later.) I'm leading, 
we're taxiing out, and we have to hold because there are 
some lights out or something, I think. We have to wait 
for about five minutes for that. We get out to the end of 
the runway to take off, and there's some other kind of 
traffic problem. Again we had to wait about another five 
minutes or something, which means we're burning fuel. 
Even if you're idling you're burning fuel on the ground 
quietly. We don't think anything about this. We take 
off. We come back to make our penetration an hour and a 
half later, and it turns out that the visibility and the 
ceiling are low enough so that they are beginning to stack 
airplanes up. It's taking longer to get planes in and get 
planes out. By this time it's daylight, and they're 
launching planes, so it's just a busier time. We're 
sitting up here at like 20,000 feet orbiting for another 
twenty minutes or something like that--more fuel gone. 

Then we're ready for the penetration, which I am 
leading. He's watching everything; he's making sure I do 


it right. But it's all on my situation. We make the 
penetration. We come back around, and we get down to 
about 4,000 feet, and we're in the clouds. They've got 
some situation, and they put us in another orbit. Now 
it's getting a little bit more critical, because you're at 
a lower altitude, you're burning more fuel, and we're 
going around in this circle waiting for the GCA thing to 
get straightened out so that we can enter that pattern. 
They've got other airplanes taking off and landing there 
or something. I'm not even paying much attention to the 
fuel, but I'm not worried. We're within the bounds of 

So anyway, we finally get set up for the GCA. I was 
supposed to shoot the GCA. I was supposed to lead it. 
They tell us that the ceiling and visibility is such and 
such. And the check pilot says to me, "Okay. I'm sorry, 
but you can't land with those conditions. I've got to do 
the GCA, so you won't get your credit for this." Because 
if it were 200 feet and a mile, then I could have done it. 
But it was 100 feet and a half mile, and then he has to do 
it, because he's qualified and I'm not. That was 
disappointing, because I planned this whole flight. 
Anyway, I understood it. 

Now he's leading the flight, and he's talking to GCA, 
and I could hear them. But at a certain point you go into 


a situation where you can only listen. They shut you off, 
so that if they say "turn right" or "pull up" or "increase 
speed" or whatever, you don't answer them, you just do it. 
Because while you're answering them, they might want you 
to do something else, and you can't hear it. The 
mic[rophone] will be live to you all the time. You just 
listen and do what they say. 

So anyway, he's flying the lead, and I'm the wingman. 
We get into the GCA pattern, which is that you're at a 
very low altitude until you intersect this theoretical or 
imaginary line that they're going to put you on and land 
you. Now it's daylight, but still early, and we're in the 
clouds. You start this over Dana Point, which would be on 
the water. You've got about maybe ten miles or something 
to fly into this situation, and you're at a very low 
altitude, 2,000 feet or something like that. 

So we're in this thing, and it's all clouds. We know 
it's going to be all clouds right down to about 50 feet. 
I'm not worried, because I'm just following this guy who 
has done it fifty times. And at some point I'm listening 
to the GCA people, as is he, and they're saying, "You're 
going below glide path. Pull up" --or not pull up but "Add 
power." He gets back on track. Then the next thing I 
hear is that "You're drifting left. Turn right two 
degrees" or whatever. Well, what's going on? This guy's 


the best. Then he said, "Okay. You're drifting right or 
left," whichever. He's kind of jockeying trying to find 
the glide path. I'm still not worried. But at some point 
we're on glide path. Then they're saying, "You're going 
below glide path." We made a correction, and we're back 
like this. 

And all of a sudden his airplane just goes like that, 
just turns and disappears into the clouds and crashes. I 
mean, we're that close. I could see this big ball of 
flame. So I pull up. There was, it turns out later, a 
farmer out there who was right under the glide path. And 
the wheels of my aircraft cleared this hill by about this 
much. I didn't know that, because you've got gear down, 
flaps down. I'm just bananas like-- Anyway, they're 
saying, "Wave off, wave off, wave off," which means simply 
you add power and start over. You go straight ahead, and 
you climb out. And by this time, the clouds were like 
about maybe 1,500 feet from the ground, and the pattern is 
2,000 feet. So I'm above the clouds. Meanwhile, they're 
starting me back around. They know that one airplane is 
crashed, because they're telling me, and I tell them, "I 
saw this. He crashed." They saw the two radar blips 
separate, so that screwed them up. 

Then they got me again, and I come around for the 
next one. They don't descend me, because at this point 


they're launching the rescue helicopters and all of that, 

the search-and-rescue things. They have to shut down the 

GCA to get these people out, because they're using the 

same radar to get them out with the bad clouds on the way. 

So I'm sitting here orbiting at 2,000 feet for about two 

or three minutes, and I'm looking at the gas, I'm looking 

at the gas . When you ' re low you ' re burning a lot more 

fuel than when you're high, and I'm wondering what's going 

to happen here. They finally set me up again, and now I'm 

really doing it. They have no choice except to take me, 

even though I'm not qualified for this weather. So they 

set me up, and I'm in the GCA pattern. 

LEHMER: Now, wait. There are two people in the plane, 


HEINECKEN: No. No. We're — 

LEHMER: Two planes. 

HEINECKEN: Two planes. 

LEHMER: And the captain, the fighter, he goes down. 

HEINECKEN: He crashes. Right. 

LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: And we don't know why at this point. 

LEHMER: All right. Now you're out there. 

HEINECKEN: At some point they say, "Wave off, wave off." 

So I pull up, because he's gone, and I start this whole 

thing over again. And I'm a fucking wreck because I know 


he's dead. I've never done this before with this low a 
weather condition. I'm looking at the gas. 

So anyway, I'm set up again, and I'm entering the 
glide path. And they say, "Wave off, wave off," which is 
because now they're launching the helicopters or 
something. I went around again. I think the second time 
or the third time, something else happened. This is all 
just coincidental stuff. I finally said, "Look, I'm at 
nine hundred pounds . I ' ve got about ten minutes left . " 
"We understand. We'll get you in on the next thing." 
Well, before that, after the crash they said, "Maintain 
2,000 feet in this pattern. We'll see if we can find you 
an alternative airport." But all the other airports, 
including the best one, George Air Force Base, which is 
out by Cajon Pass, have the same weather. I can't go 
anyplace else. And I don't have enough fuel to go to the 
desert, like to Edwards or whatever. So I'm going to do 
this. So I get back into the situation. I think I got 
three waves off, which weren't my fault but were the 
conditions of what was going on. Everything goes nuts 
when they get a crash. 

I finally get in the third one. I'm really nervous 
by this time, because the guy is — This could happen to 
me. I don't know quite what I am doing, but I'm doing it. 
I make the landing, and there was a very low ceiling. I 


don't remember when I touched down. I was still — 

LEHMER: They brought you in on a GCA, and you're lined 


HEINECKEN: Right. They just talk you through the whole 


LEHMER: And you're doing all right? You're not going off 


HEINECKEN: No. I think I was okay. But it wasn't like — 

They're very patient, because they know the situation. 

And I think they probably gave me a little bit of leeway. 

Because their choice is, if they wave me off, the only 

thing I could do is head it out to sea and eject. There 

is no place to land, and they don't want to lose the 

airplane. They don't want to lose me necessarily. But 

that was their decision. 

As soon as I get that thing landed, it's just a big 
relief. You pull into the flight line where you've got 
all these airplanes parked. I get it turned in to where 
they're going to direct me where to park it, and the 
engine dies. It's out of fuel. [laughs] It's like a 
minute maybe into the whole thing. I mean, if it would 
have been one minute later or another go-around — 
LEHMER: Another wave-off. 

HEINECKEN: We wouldn't be there. So this is different 
than the mid-air in the sense that this whole thing, as I 


said, took at least twenty minutes, and I'm fucking 
screaming on the radio. It was long enough for me to 
really see what the consequences were going to be if this 
happens or this doesn't happen. So it was like a bad-- 
That's even more scary to me. I remember just shaking. 

Later that day, they took me out to the crash site, 
which was-- Because normally they wouldn't do that. But 
for some reason I went out to the site with the accident 
people. And this airplane was just strewn over about a 
mile. I mean, it just hit and it bounced, and then it 
burned. This is so gruesome--I hate to even say this--the 
head is in the helmet. It just sheared off his head at 
some point. I was throwing up. It was an awful thing. I 
learned later-- They want to put you back into reality as 
soon as possible so you don't start thinking about it. So 
here's the plane; it's crashed. Here's the body; he's 
dead. I think they gave me one day off because I was 
shook up. The second day I had another flight. I was 
sitting around worrying about this stuff. 

Anyway, the end of this story is that he had vertigo 
problems. Vertigo has to do with the hairs in your ears. 
You feel as if — And everybody has it in the airplane. 
You have to fight against it. It means when you make a 
turn under any kind of g [gravitational] pressure, which 
you always have at least one g — This is not technically 


correct, necessarily. But the hairs in your ears are 
telling you where you are, and if you're turning, it will 
tell you. When you make a turn and then you level out, 
your ears are telling you that you are still turning. But 
if you look at the instrument, it will tell you whether or 
not you are still turning. So when you're in an 
instrument situation, you're always looking at basically 
this thing which tells you where you are and where the 
wings are. And he had a vertigo problem once, which it 
seems the doctor had covered up for him in Korea because 
he wanted to finish or whatever. Then he had a second 
vertigo incident on the carrier coming back, which they 
didn't cover up, but they reported it. But it wasn't 
something that they thought was serious. And this third 
incident, as they're surmising, he had it. Otherwise he 
wouldn't have done what he did. He made a correction. 
Then you're level where you want to be, but you feel like 
you're going like this. And so he made a turn to correct 
what he thought was this instead of being able to fly by 
the instruments . 

LEHMER: So he went by his own--? 

HEINECKEN: His feeling, yeah, which is the tendency. It 
is what you want to do. You have to just fight it. It's 
really hard to — See, it's not an airliner, where you're 
making these kinds of-- You're making real changes and 


you're very close to the ground. But anyway, that came 
out in the investigations. That's clearly what happened, 
because they couldn't figure out why he would have done it 
except when they looked back in his history. 

But the other interesting thing was that-- I had 
previously met his wife. I guess we all knew each other's 
wives. I didn't know this until after he was killed, but 
this was the fourth Marine aviator that she had been 
married to, all of whom were dead. And she just kept 
going back to it. I mean, I don't know. They were 
explaining there are people like this, not just with the 
Marine Corps, but there is a kind of fascination or 
whatever that certain women have with this kind of danger. 
And this has nothing to do with me, but it was just a 
weird thing to meet her. 

LEHMER: Well, it's an interesting comparison between 
yours and my near-death experiences . One thing I thought 
about is that I am totally at the mercy of my body and 
whatever, where you're Involved in the instigation of this 
somehow. You're at the mercy of the mechanics of the 
plane, but what I'm thinking of is you in a sense elected 
to go up. There's a difference, maybe not a lot, but 
that's an interesting thing that I'm thinking about. The 
wife may elect to go back to this because there is an 
interesting adrenaline but also a real sense of life when 


you're on the edge. And you choose to go into this 

knowing it. It almost seems like-- I bet a lot of people 

purposely, even though they might not consciously know it, 

wash out. 

HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah. Yeah. 

LEHMER: They may move that direction. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I point out some of this, because these 

two situations would have-- 

LEHMER: We're running out of tape. 

HEINECKEN: Well, anyway, these are life's-- Anybody would 

give you twenty, thirty incidents that are similar to 

this, where if this goes wrong, that goes wrong. There's 

just a way that you get through it. But these two 

incidents are the two times where there was extreme 

danger. I brought them up because of the idea that I 

didn't realize I was screaming to God on the radio, 

because that wasn't in my mind. I mean, I just didn't 

remember it. But there's your voice on the tape, which is 

reality, and that was weird. That tells you you don't 

quite ever lose whatever that last-minute plea would be to 

whomever you're praying to. But you do it. 


MARCH 12, 1996 

LEHMER: I had a couple of questions before we get started 
with today's talk. Your father [Friedli Wilhelm 
Heinecken]'s ministry was in which synod? Is your whole 
family in one synod, or, you know, the clan? And what is 
a synod, I guess I should ask? 

HEINECKEN: Well, the synod is an organizational term 
which means that- -especially I think in the Lutheran 
religion--there were at least three divisions: one was 
called the American Lutheran Church, one was called the 
National Lutheran Church, and the third was called the 
Missouri Synod. The Missouri Synod was the conservative 
wing of all of this, I think this question probably is 
pointed at the Missouri Synod thing, which these people 
were not. They were the kind of radical, right-wing 
people. So it was the other two synods that they were in, 
although I don't know which one, but those two were sort 
of interchangeable. It was a matter of what region of the 
country, I think, basically, that they were in. 
LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: Then also during the time that this happens, 
those different synods reorganize themselves. Maybe even 
at that point the Missouri Synod splits off or something 


like that. There were the three, two of which were 
regular, while one was conservative, which was the 
Missouri Synod . 

LEHMER: I think off tape you mentioned a certain trait 
that you observed about Lutheranism being somewhat of a 
group that was formed from Catholicism by — 
HEINECKEN: Well, historically, yeah. [tape recorder off] 
LEHMER: One thing that you mentioned to me about 
Lutheranism was that under Henry VIII the Anglican Church 
broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. There was a 
certain trait that you observed about Lutheranism, which 
was a type of rebellious attitude towards-- Well, can you 
explain that better than I can? 

HEINECKEN: Well, I'm not a historian of this. The basic 
reason I think that Luther did what he did — he was, of 
course, a Catholic priest--was that certain practices of 
the church at that time, namely that you had to pay money 
in order to get into heaven-- There's a name for that: 
the sale of indulgences. But also the fallacy that the 
church is always right, which of course we still have. 
The infallible decisions that they make, which is not the 
case with the Protestant religions that broke off, where 
they have councils. They vote, they make decisions as a 
group. I think Luther is in this, because he is a harsh, 
common person instead of an elevated person. 


LEHMER: One other follow-up question I have here, you 
mentioned in our first meeting that your father had a 
tattoo of a dagger. 

HEINECKEN: [laughs] Oh, yeah, right. 

LEHMER: And you said, "Well, I'll talk more about that 
later." This might be a good time. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I don't know exactly when he got it. 
This uncle [Martin Heinecken] whom I keep talking about 
told me that when my father would run away and come back 
and then disappear again, that at some point he had this 
tattoo. So this would have been something that he got 
when he was a young person, like nineteen, twenty, some- 
thing like that. I don't think I knew that he had a 
tattoo for a long time because it wasn't the kind of 
family or time period where you would see that necessarily. 
And I think he always wore long sleeves because of that. 
At some point I saw it, obviously, and it was big, like 
maybe ten inches. I liked it, because it's like an ornate 
Persian dagger with a kind of long blade which goes under 
the skin. I guess the only importance of this is that 
once you're aware of it — and I'm sure other people were 
aware of it as he went on through his life--you cannot 
erase this thing as a symbol of a mentality that couldn't 
be any further away from what he was trying to project at 
the time of his ministry. I didn't think of this until 


just now. You could think of it as something that's not 
Lutheran. Like you have a tattoo of a dagger through your 
arm, but that's a different life. I suppose it would be a 
constant reminder to him of his youth, of his failure to 
conform to whatever that family was con- forming to in 
terms of training and school and whatever. 
LEHMER: You mentioned that your mother [Mathilda Moehl 
Heinecken] had no formal education. But then by the same 
token she ended up traveling by train to rural areas to 
teach. Now, was she doing this through the church? 
HEINECKEN: Oh, no. It was not connected to the church. 
She wasn't educated past high school, that's what I should 
have said. She certainly had that and could probably 
teach in these farm towns with maybe eight students, six 
students, something like that. I don't think you needed 
to be trained at that time to do that. Probably you 
didn't need to be trained to teach in the city schools at 
that time. 

LEHMER: The date of this is approximately 19 — ? 
HEINECKEN: 'Twenty. The thing about the train is 
interesting because I didn't know that until later. She 
was talking about it one time. That city just allowed you 
to get on the caboose of the train. It would drop you off 
wherever you were going on Monday morning and pick you up 
again on Friday night to bring you back to Dubuque or 


wherever. I thought it was interesting that that was 
going on. 

LEHMER: That there was some kind of agreement? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, there must have been. While she was 
there she stayed at some farmer's house, different farmers 
at different times. She probably didn't get paid much but 
got food and whatever. She was actually proud of having 
done this. It was one of the things that, after I knew 
it, then I could see how it was probably the only real 
work that she ever had. 

LEHMER: Now, I think we've covered this, but I've still 
got this question in my mind. What courses did you take 
at Riverside [City College]? I'm guessing that it was 
something like college preparatory, but you did mention 
that you were taking- - 

HEINECKEN: They weren't college preparatory because 
you're in college, but they were basic academic courses 
that you would be taking somewhere else anyway, like UCLA 
or something. This particular college- -and I think most 
of them at that time had them and maybe they still do — had 
two tracks there: one was for people who were going to 
transfer to a four-year school, the other was for people 
who were not but were in vocational programs of this and 
that. So it was a mixture of those kinds of things. They 
still have kind of those two tracks. 


I don't recall exactly how many courses I took in 
art, but I certainly took some. And as I think I 
mentioned earlier, I was active in the yearbook and stuff 
like that in terms of designing it and drawing things for 
it. I know I took some courses, because I have pictures 
that I made during that time period. There was clearly 
what they would call-- Well, I don't know what they would 
call it. We call it graphic design today, where you were 
not being pointed towards a kind of artist idea but 
towards an illustrator or a position where you would use a 
skill in drawing or whatever in the service of something 
else rather than as an artist thing. 
LEHMER: A coimnercial approach. 

HEINECKEN: Commercial art, yeah. But pictures made from 
that time period clearly aren't that, and some are that. 
Then, of course, when you get to UCLA it's a different 
situation. We can talk about that, too. [tape recorder 

LEHMER: You mentioned that you were a voracious reader 
and that you didn't read so much for knowledge but that 
you just liked the idea of reading. A question comes into 
my mind as to whether you could expand on that idea. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, I think using the word voracious 
would indicate a time period as a kid, a boy. It's that 
kind of reading, because no one that age is looking for 


knowledge. It's a habit. It's a hobby. It's a pastime. 
But I enjoyed it very much, and I had — 
LEHMER: What age--? 

HEINECKEN: Well, I'm thinking it's when you're ten years 
old to twelve or maybe earlier than that. When I got to 
be thirteen, fourteen, whatever, I'm not in that mode 
anymore. But I still read the same way, without thinking 
that I need to know something about this. I won't follow 
up with adjacent readings like a scholar or an 
intellectual would. I don't know if I said this before in 
a different way or something, but I just simply was not 
educated, and I'm still not, I should say. [laughs] I 
feel like my friends-- Carl Chiarenza comes to mind. This 
guy is educated- -right? --and I'm not. It doesn't mean I 
can't have him as a friend and we can't talk or whatever. 
There's just a whole lot of stuff even in literature or in 
art which are the important things and I can't quote you. 
You know, I'm not well read. I haven't done that, and I 
don't feel the need to at this point. I distinguish 
between reading as a hobby as opposed to when you get to 
be an adult and you're in school and you're going to be a 
professional you're going to read the things that you need 
to know about. I just never did that. 

LEHMER: I would imagine there are still certain things 
that attract you, and there is that selective process that 


goes on with reading. There's certainly plenty that we 
haven't all read. But there's something that attracts you 
to reading, and I had this vision in my head when you were 
mentioning that of some of the later collage work that you 
did where you're putting bits — 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's probably something to consider in 
terms of a working method, which is basically collage. 
Even in the sense of writing, it's that; it's a lot of 
scraps of different things put back together fictitiously 
most of the time. 

Sort of an interesting thing came into my mind. It 
may not be quite true, but I think the visual arts may be 
one of the situations where certainly you want to know the 
history of art if you can, including the main distinctions 
that are made between eras and so on. But in the time 
period that we're talking about — let's say 1960 to now--I 
think you have more people entering this field of art 
without the knowledge that you would expect them to have. 
In other words, you don't need to know all this stuff to 
be an artist in this culture. It helps you if you do. 
And of course, if you're teaching it helps you a lot if 
you do. But it's not a time period where-- It's hard to 
express, but — 

LEHMER: Do you think that's true of the last ten or 
fifteen years? I tend to think it might be different than 


what you're saying- -in other words, from the fifties to 
the seventies maybe. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, which is the time period of my training. 
LEHMER: I'm thinking from the mid-seventies on there was 
this change where the important context of the work was 
beginning to be more theoretically based. I tend to think 
that there was a strong influence with the housing of 
visual art knowledge being at the university rather than 
in the master-apprentice relationship, so to speak. 
HEINECKEN: Well, absolutely. 

LEHMER: I'm wondering what ideas you might have on the-- 
maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves--inf luence of the 
academic institution on art making? Maybe we should leave 
that as a question for later or as something to be thought 
about because I don't know if you can talk about that in a 
couple of sentences at this moment. 

HEINECKEN: Well, if you looked at the whole history of 
graduate students at UCLA, let's say, you would see from 
1970 on a clear shift into some kind of postmodernist 
thinking, although it wouldn't be called that that early. 
But people like [James] Hugunin, Ellen Birrel, certainly, 
and David Bunn to some extent, are all affected by that 
sort of stuff. This may be dumb, but I don't think 
someone like myself has to understand all of that to 
understand the importance of it to a particular student 


and how that student's using theory — if that's the word-- 
to advance that person through a series of things that are 
necessary for a graduate student to do. 

Then, if you looked at the history of the people who 
were teaching not only photography there but all the other 
arts, you don't have anybody like Allan Sekula or 
Catherine Lord or whoever. The school wasn't recruiting 
those kinds of people, nor were those people interested in 
a public university like that. It's not the right place 
for this thing. It doesn't mean that students don't read 
and that they're not affected by all this. But if you 
look at the people who were there, I think when Mark 
McFadden came he was the first person who had begun to, 
even if not totally, adhere to some kind of theoretical 
position. The only other person who comes to mind is Mark 
[Alice] Durant, but he's much later. [inaudible] the 
teaching thing going up until 1975, where I was there 
pretty much most of the time. But from 1975 on is when 
this stuff was happening. I'm really not attached to the 
teaching job. I mean, I'm there for two years, and I'm 
working at it, and then I'm gone for two years. All those 
people that filled that in in the earlier days were 
[Robert] Fichter, [Garry] Winogrand, and [Lee] 
Friedlander, and these people are not theorists, right? I 
was just trying to get people in there who would represent 


different attitudes about what photography was during this 

time period. After 1975, all I was interested in was 

getting somebody there whom I thought was a competent 

artist who could teach. 

LEHMER: I think we're jumping ahead. 

HEINECKEN: Does all that make sense? 

LEHMER: I think I've got it. 

HEINECKEN: This just popped into my mind, that when I 

went on leave in 1971--I went to [the Schools of the Art 

Institute of] Chicago to teach for a year--the first 

person I called to see if she would come to teach at UCLA 

was Joy [Joyce Neimanas] . I didn't even know her, but I 

knew her work and I knew her reputation. But she wouldn't 

come. I thought that was interesting. 

LEHMER: I wanted to see if you could expand briefly on 

something that attracted me. A little light went off in 

my head. You described the environment, and I want to 

find out in what institution this was happening. There's 

like two different kind of students: the ones from 

Riverside, possibly, and the veterans from World War II — 

HEINECKEN: And the Korean War. 

LEHMER: Korea and World War II, okay. Can you expand 

briefly on what you observed, why this has impressed you 

to this day, the difference between the temperament of 

someone who had been through that experience and someone 


who hadn't? Are there any observations you have about 

HEINECKEN: It is somehow important, maybe not important, 
but I guess interesting. I think it has to do with an 
understanding that some socioeconomic event or whatever, 
such as World War II or the Korean War or the Depression 
or anything like that, does change the character of 
people. So I think the people who came back as veterans 
of either of those two wars were obviously older and they 
had experiences. What occurred to me was the contrast 
between an eighteen-year-old kid out of high school going 
to college with people who were at least four or five 
years older than them and who bring a kind of maturity to 
their studies or whatever. Although, I'll tell you, there 
was a lot of hellraising with those people as well. But 
they simply were back in school because they wanted to go 
back to school, and they were being paid to go back to 
school, which was the case when I got to that situation 
later. I'm not sure I can say why it's important. I 
think it's just clear that if you go to some undergraduate 
school and then you go into a graduate program, it's 
always the people who have not gone to the university 
directly from high school to be artists but have kicked 
around somewhere or done something else who-- Maybe it's 
simply that you have a few more years. Or if you happen 


to be married and have children and you have all those 
responsibilities you're a different person. You're a 
student, but you're not there for a sorority idea or a 
social idea, which is basically what universities can 
become. I mean, a big part of their influence is 
socializing people and trying to introduce them to culture 
and so on. 

LEHMER: Okay, as a segue into today's discussion, I think 
we'd like to talk about the start of your family. We 
could back up to your wife and high school sweetheart, 
Janet Storey, how you met. Another question that came 
into my mind that I noted was that you had mentioned to me 
on or off tape something to the effect of around 1949 you 
had a courtship that spanned between Riverside and Los 
Angeles, and I'm wondering, how long did it take to drive 
back and forth? There's not a freeway at that time. 
HEINECKEN: [laughs] Right, yes. Let's see. Well, I 
will just go back. Janet and I were, I guess, going 
steady by the end of high school . I mentioned that she 
went off to Los Angeles to go to nursing school. I tried 
the UCLA thing, which I didn't-- So for two years I was in 
Riverside and she was in Los Angeles, and it got to be 
less and less of a relationship. We were just kids 
anyway. I mean, we dated. She dated other people, and I 
dated other people during that time period. By the time I 


went back to UCLA- -not back, but when I finally went there 
after junior college--she had finished school or almost 
finished school in Los Angeles. So at some point there 
she goes back to Riverside and goes to work. I guess 
essentially we were friends or something like that, but it 
wasn't serious or anything. 

We must have become reinvolved with each other 
romantically, because I was always writing to her when I 
was in the service, and she would write to me. When I had 
leave I would come back and see her and my family. I 
think that just continued to escalate or become more 
serious as it got closer to when I would graduate from 
flight school and find out where I would go and what I 
would do and things like that. So by that time, which had 
been January 1955 or December before that-- But anyway, 
this is a good part of the story, because what happened- - 
And this is really something I don't talk to many people 
about, but it should be here, I think. 

For some reason I came back maybe in November or 
December on leave, but I had to go back. What happened is 
that my mother--! don't know what her deal was- -announced 
our engagement in the paper. My mother called the paper 
and announced our engagement. Janet was furious. I was 
already gone, so I don't know what effect that had on 
anything, except that we did get married in January. And 


that was something that would have happened to us anyway, 
because, I mean, I was serious about getting married. She 
was, too. But it wasn't that we were engaged. We decided 
to get married late in January, I think it was, of that 
year. So we did. The whole thing was just screwy in 
terms of like-- In one sense it might have been good. It 
might have forced us to think seriously about whether we 
would be married. But it was something that never left 
our minds in terms of our relationship with my mother 
after that. I mean, it was just an insane thing for her 
to do. Well, she knew we were sleeping together; that 
probably hit her wrong. She's thinking babies and stuff 
like that, which could have happened as far as that goes. 
The twins [Geoffrey R. Heinecken and Kathe Heinecken Hull] 
were born six months later or something like that, or 
seven months. 

The point of this is that someone was trying to 
manipulate a situation to fit her set of morals and ideals 
and whatever, even though it turned out to be okay. But 
it was just unforgivable what she did, and we never 
forgot . I never forgot . I'm sure she was acting out of 
whatever best instincts she had, but-- So anyway, we got 
married, right? 

LEHMER: Now, after you were married you had the twins. 
HEINECKEN: Right. Well, first thing that happened when 


we got married was that we moved to Laguna Beach- -maybe 
not right away. I think the first couple of months I was 
commissioned and went to the squadron at the U.S. Marine 
Corps in El Toro [Marine Corps Air Station] . I was in 
school in San Diego and Alameda and different places like 
that. I think she stayed in Riverside. When I finally 
got back to El Toro and went in the squadron, we moved to 
Laguna Beach, which was a wonderful place and close to El 
Toro, ten minutes or something. The twins were born in 
August of 1955. I was on maneuver someplace, either-- 
Let ' s see. Where would I have been? Fallon, Nevada, was 
one place we went a lot, or Yuma [Arizona] or something 
like that. Anyway, they were born prematurely. She went 
to the naval hospital in Corona [del Mar] , where they were 
born. So I wasn't there when they were born. I got back 
like a week later, after they were born. So then we moved 
to Laguna with these two kids-- Or we didn't move. We 
lived there already, but we went into a different house. 
Karol [Heinecken Mora] was born four years later, which 
would have been 1959, I guess. I guess we were stationed 
in Florida when Karol was born. 

LEHMER: The names of the twins: Geoffrey and Kathe. 
HEINECKEN: Right. Geoffrey, Janet liked that name for 
some reason. And he got my name for his middle name. 
LEHMER: Geoffrey Robert? 


HEINECKEN: Geoffrey Robert. Kathe was a name that I 
liked. We spelled it like Kathe Kollwitz, kind of German, 
you know, K-A-T-H-E. And Marie was the name of this aunt 
that I had that I was so interested in, the one that was 
political and so on, so that's how she got that name. 
LEHMER: Now, I know Janet worked in Riverside for a 
while. When you moved to Laguna, did she work? 
HEINECKEN: No, she quit. 

LEHMER: She pretty much had her hands full with two kids. 
HEINECKEN: Right. I don't think she worked until I got 
out of the service. Then, when I was back at UCLA, she 
worked full-time, all the time, while I was a student 
there — or part-time. She had always preferred to work 
what we would call a swing shift, which is like three 
[o'clock] in the afternoon to eleven [o'clock] at night. 
I had arranged all of my courses or whatever so that I 
would be through with school, if possible, by two or three 
o'clock. Then she would go to work, and I would have the 
kids. So for, well, a couple of years we did that. 
LEHMER: I want to get a few things straightened out here. 
You may have already said it on tape, so this might be 
redundant, but you had this friendship, and you did some 
dating. And you dated other people while you were at 
Riverside and Janet was in Los Angeles. Then, after two 
years there, you transferred to UCLA, and she moved back 


to Riverside. 


LEHMER: Okay. So you guys were still apart. 


LEHMER: And then you were at UCLA for two years and then 

dropped out. At that point did you get married? 

HEINECKEN: No, no. Well, the two years that I would have 

finished school, of course, I didn't finish, right? At 

that point I went into the service. I was in training for 

eighteen months. We're now at January '55, and that's 

when we got married. 

LEHMER: Okay, got it. Let me back up and try to close 

this one open spot. You had transferred to UCLA. I'm 

finding that an interesting period, because you're moving 

from the country back into a more urban environment that 

you liked as a kid when you lived in Glendale. 


LEHMER: Now you're coming to the University of 

California. Were you a liberal arts major or--? Can you 

give me a description of what you studied and what you 

went through? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I was an art major. UCLA at that time 

was one of the best, if not the best, art departments in 

the country. There were articles about UCLA. Life 

magazine gave them a twelve-page spread during this time 


period. It was notably a good art school. I took maybe 
for a year basically academic courses- -maybe two-thirds 
academic courses like you would do even now — and then I 
had courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, and 
printmaking. I don't think there was at that time any 
application of art to commercial situations, which 
happened later and had happened before in junior college. 
It wasn't just the academic courses that I finally 
couldn't handle, it was also the art courses. I couldn't 
get myself focused on what I was doing. 
LEHMER: But you were there for two years. 
HEINECKEN: No, I was there for a year. I think I 
completed one the first year, but by the end of that year 
I went on probation. My grades were below what were 
required. I don't remember whether the art courses were 
any higher-- Probably the art courses were higher grades 
than-- Because I know I flunked this German course. I 
know I flunked some other kind of technical course. So 
I'm on probation at the end of the first year. Beginning 
in the fall of the next year I had to get off of 
probation. At the end of that semester- -that would have 
been January 1953 — I flunked out. I did not get the 
grades that I needed to get off of probation. 

This intersects the time period when I was telling 
you that the only reason I was kept out of the service is 


because I was in college and could defer it. I'd 
mentioned the frame of mind of like, "What am I going to 
do?" I'm going into the army in a couple of weeks because 
I got my draft notice. I'm out of school, just hanging 
out, really. I didn't tell my parents this because I knew 
that would tear them up. I didn't tell them, actually, 
that I was going into the service until I had already done 
it so they wouldn't put something in the newspaper that-- 
[ laughs] That's a joke. I shouldn't say "they." That 
was my mother. My father would have never done that. He 
probably spoke harshly to her about that. 

LEHMER: Let me back up. You mentioned that when you went 
to UCLA you-- I don't know if you knew this beforehand, 
but — Well, you can answer that, too. But you discovered 
or knew that it was one of the best schools in the 
country. What I'm also wondering about is, who were the 
faculty at that time? 

HEINECKEN: I took a lot of courses- -not a lot, but some 
courses- -with Jan Stussy. He was alive when you were 
there, right? 
LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: Sam [Samuel] Amato, Gordon [M.] Nunes. Two 
women painters were there, I think basically because this 
is still shortly after World War II when they were there, 
not because they were women, but because there were no 


men. What's her name? [Annita] Delano is one woman's 
last name, and Dorothy [W.] Brown was the other one. 
Annita Delano and Dorothy Brown. And then maybe those 
three guys that I mentioned. Oh, and John Paul Jones, who 
was the printmaker there, although I don't think I studied 
with him until later, when I came back. 

One of the courses I remember I had a lot of trouble 
with and probably flunked was this anatomy drawing course 
that Jan Stussy taught with a passion, right? This guy 
was just a terrific teacher, but I couldn't do it. I have 
pictures from these courses which are reasonable pictures, 
I think. But again, it was just a matter of not being 
capable of performing for whatever reason. I don't know. 
I mean, clearly I was outclassed in the sense that I 
wasn't able to handle the academic courses, and I wasn't 
doing all that well in the art courses. That's my memory 
of it, at least. I had to leave school because I didn't 
get the grades I needed to get off of probation. 

In March of that year, which is now three months 
later, is when I told this story about going down to Los 
Alamitos with my two friends and actually joining that 
[navy flight] program. 
LEHMER: That's March of '52? 
HEINECKEN: 'Fifty- three. 
LEHMER: March of '53. 


HEINECKEN: Something like that. March or earlier. 

LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: July of that year is when I actually went into 

the service. 

LEHMER: I wanted to try to pry into more about what it 

was. You're saying that you just weren't prepared. You 

were outclassed. That's hard for me to accept. I'm 

wondering if your priorities at that time were simply to 


HEINECKEN: Basically that's right, yeah. 

LEHMER: And that that distracted-- When you're in school, 

no matter how sharp you are, like you said in early-- You 

had figured it out. You had gotten your work done in 

study hall. I can't imagine that you were outclassed in 

that sense. But there is a certain amount of physical 

attention that you have to give to getting work done, 

especially at UCLA. Can you think back as to what might 

have been the reasoning behind it, because I have a hard 

time buying that you were outclassed or--? 

HEINECKEN: Well, maybe that's not the right word, but I 

wasn't a good student. And I had gone into this 

fraternity kind of halfway. This other guy [Kenneth 

Knight] who also came from Riverside and who was a couple 

of years older than I-- We both came together. Or maybe 

he was already here. Anyway, we had this apartment in 


Westwood, and at some point we decided that we could live 
more cheaply and without as much difficulty if we went to 
this fraternity. 


MARCH 12, 1996 

LEHMER: You decided to go into the fraternity because it 
would be cheaper — 

HEINECKEN: Cheaper and — I don't know. Maybe part of our 
mentality would have been that that would be the thing to 
do. That's part of what the university offered that we 
didn't have before. 

LEHMER: Which fraternity was that? 

HEINECKEN: Sigma Nu. But anyway, during this time period 
I had worked almost continually parking cars, even when I 
was in school, which made a lot of money, which you had to 
actually steal. I mean, you were supposed to pay the 
doorman all of it and then he paid you, but everybody 
would rake off that. So I worked at all of the main 
hotels and nightclubs on Sunset [Boulevard] --what 's now 
the Sunset Strip--all through this time. I had a lot of 
money. I got into playing poker. In fact, there was a 
poker thing in Westwood that people would go to. I guess 
I didn't lose much or win much, but it was a kind of life. 
And I was drinking. All of those things I think 
contribute to-- First of all, parking cars for eight hours 
a day doesn't contribute very much to studying. Then 
having the money to spend and an interest in trying to 


screw everybody you can--which probably wasn't much, but-- 
All those are factors, I think. 

And finally, I remember at the end of this period of 
time when I was-- I said these other two guys and I went 
down to look into this naval aviation thing. This other 
guy- -not the same guy that I talked about before, but 
another friend that I had-- We were living in the basement 
of this fraternity house where we had sort of carved out a 
little room back there. The fraternity people didn't even 
know we were there I don't think. And down there is where 
he would run these poker games. But that guy went on to 
become a very--and still is--inf luential-- Not a 
stockbroker. He's beyond that even. He's a financial 

LEHMER: Investment officer? 

HEINECKEN: He's the one always who was running the poker. 
He had actually made book on the horse races out of that 
place. He was that smart. He could figure out all that 
stuff. Marty Bullock is his name. I still visit him. 
LEHMER: A question I just thought of from last Saturday 
when you were talking about you and your buddies going 
down to enlist in the navy: What were their names? 
HEINECKEN: Jeff Clark was one. I don't remember. There 
were two guys and me, and Jeff Clark was one. Maybe that 
other name will come to me, but I do remember Jeff, 


because I actually knew him very well. He was an 

interesting guy whose father was a big hotshot doctor. He 

lived in Ojai [California], because I remember we'd go up 

to Ojai sometimes to this house on the lake, and it was 

just beautiful. I can't remember the other guy's name, 

but it will come to me, maybe. 

LEHMER: Both of them are from UCLA. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, right. 

LEHMER: And all three of you had chummed around. 

HEINECKEN: Right. They were graduating that June. 

That ' s why they were going down there in March to look 

into this, because they anticipated that that's what they 

wanted to do. They did both graduate. I don't know what 

happened to them, but-- 

LEHMER: And both of them washed out of-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, they never got in. They failed either 

the physical or the mental or both of them, the 

combination of those things . I think the other guy ' s name 

was Lee something. I'll think of it later. Lee Weitzel, 


I don't want to characterize all this as being morose 
or whatever, but the whole time period, let's say after I 
graduated from high school until I went in the service, 
which is three and a half years, was a series of not being 
able to do whatever was being asked of me to do in terms 


of the institutions that I was in, especially UCLA. I had 
two years to go there, and I would have finished. I got 
through the first semester, but by the end of that year I 
was on probation. I went back for the third semester and 
didn't make it. So at that point, January of 1955, I'm 
dead meat as far as the draft goes. 

LEHMER: That's what heads you in there. Okay. In our 
last meeting we talked about the service and what went on 
fairly thoroughly. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. We don't need to go into that anymore. 
But I did mention, which I would stress again, that at the 
end of this four-year period I'm teaching in primary 
flight school, and I remember the very positive 
gratification of working with people who were like I was 
four years ago: just kids with no expectations, really, 
of how they're going to get through this. And as I said, 
I was tough on them, because I realized you just-- It's 
not like giving someone a "B" or a "C" or an "A." It's if 
this guy is going to go from your teaching to the next 
teaching to the next, and at any point during that it's 
clear that they're not going to make it, you wash them 
out. It's a difficult thing to do, because their life, 
their career, their whole thing is ruined at that point. 
Anyway, I didn't have it in my mind I would be a teacher, 
but I really enjoyed that work. It was very, very 


gratifying work to do. 

LEHMER: You took it seriously. And this is after your 

being in the squadron and going through what you had gone 

through, the two real close calls-- 


LEHMER: — which I think are very important. They add a 

new perspective to life. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I want to say a couple more things. 

During this time period there were two or three things 

that were interesting. One was that I was put into a 

special group of people-- Well, let's see. Normally what 

you do, you'll take maybe five students or something, and 

you'll fly with those people through the certain stages 

until they finish that phase of what they're doing. 

LEHMER: This is in Pensacola [Naval Air Station]? 

HEINECKEN: This is in Pensacola. They formed a subgroup 

of this which was supposed to be the most experienced, 

best teachers. 

And then we taught two interesting groups. One, I 
think they must have been Cubans. They were up here going 
through flight school. They all could speak English, but 
we had instructors who spoke Spanish in this group, as 
well. And in 1957--I think '57--the government gave back 
the right to Germany to rebuild their armed forces. There 
was a law passed after World War II that in nineteen so- 

and-so they could start building their army back and their 
navy and whatever. So we got groups of these German 
pilots who were coming back to start from scratch, just 
like they had never flown. Some of them were aces; they 
had shot down many Spitfires. They were forty-year-old 
guys, or thirty-five, or something like that. It was very 
interesting to work with them, because the airplane that 
we were flying at that time--it's a propeller-driven 
airplane, but a very good airplane- -had almost the same 
flight characteristics as a Messerschmitt [Bf 109] did, 
which they all flew, right? The 109 I think it was 
called. They were all going to be generals. These guys 
were beyond the point where they would be doing any 
flying, but for some reason the German government probably 
said, "You guys have to go through this school again. 
We'll recommission you as an officer, and then you'll 
build up the new German army, navy, air force, whatever." 
I could speak enough German after I worked with these guys 
long enough that I got kind of, not fluent, certainly, but 
I knew all the terms that I needed to know technically to 
talk with them. They were wonderful to work with. And 
the Cubans were also interesting. So those two 
experiences were interesting to me. 
LEHMER: And both of those were at the same time? 
HEINECKEN: Well, they were at separate times but the same 


block of time. I thought the German thing was 
interesting, because I had no idea, really, until later 
that these people would-- I don't know how they selected 
them, but obviously these were people who were candidates 
for very high-ranking positions in the German armed 
forces. Some of them went to the air force, some of them 
went to army training bases. We happened to get this 
group of aviators. 

LEHMER: Last Saturday we were talking about the two 
pretty intense close calls that you'd had when you were 
flying. A question I have at this point is, were you 
married to Janet at that time? 

HEINECKEN: Yes, we were married when I was commissioned — 
January 1955. 

LEHMER: And the twins were-- 
HEINECKEN: With us there, yeah. 

LEHMER: You've mentioned that they tried to get you back 
in the air as quickly as possible after one of those kinds 
of events. They took you to the crash site; you went 
through that experience. What my question at this point 
is, can you relate how you take your military career and 
meld it, blend it, and merge it with your family life? 
When was the first time that you had reached home after 
that? Was it that same day? Or was it a day later? And 
what did you describe to your family? Or how did you 


handle this other world? 

HEINECKEN: Well, let me think. The kids were two years 
old, or three, maybe, so they're not involved in this, 
really, except as-- You know, as they grow older they-- My 
son's actually very interested in all of that, because 
he's interested in aviation. But I think Janet-- I 
certainly accepted the idea that this was dangerous 
business. As I mentioned, a lot of people were killed one 
way or the other. Not a lot, but enough-- 
LEHMER: At least a third. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. You're not without an understanding 
that that could happen to you, and certainly the wives of 
all these people understand that, because they're sitting 
in the middle of the whole-- They know what's going on. I 
think Janet was very proud of me, because she saw me go 
through all of this, what I've described to you, and 
finally emerge at the end as some kind of professional 
person able to make a living and able to do the job well. 
And I can say I was good at it, or it fit me. 

Well, this is complicated, I think, but we were 
stationed during one accident--the mid-air--in Mojave, so 
I didn't get home. The thing came out in the newspaper, 
but I had called her, or the Marine Corps called her, so 
that she knew about it, but I didn't get back there till 
maybe a week later. 


LEHMER: Oh, I thought you were stationed at El Toro. 
HEINECKEN: I was stationed there, but we were detached to 
the Marine Corps Air Station at Mojave. Usually it was 
for either two weeks or a month. We'd be detached to 
other facilities, but the base was at El Toro. Well, this 
isn't important, but the whole thrust of the Marine Corps 
at that time was that, like now, they're the only service 
that can actually pick up and go immediately. All the 
desks are wooden things that fold up and go kind of stuff, 
and the mobility of these units was a very important thing 
during the cold war. So anyway, we were up there for at 
least two weeks, and I can always look at my logbooks to 
see when I went back. Well, I had scared her, scared me, 

LEHMER: You're saying that she knew that, she dealt with 
it. She knew it wasn't something that she could change — 
HEINECKEN: That's right. 

LEHMER: --and that she had to live with it. 
HEINECKEN: I don't know whether the divorce rate would 
have been greater during that time period than another 
time period, but there are a lot of rocky marriages in 
this business because of things like this. And not only 
that, but because of the macho things that you develop you 
are not the most agreeable person to live with, and you 
get very cocky, and we drank a lot. The Right Stuff, did 


you ever read that or--? 
LEHMER: I saw the film. 

HEINECKEN: It's a very good book on this whole situation. 
It very much gives you the picture of how people are 
formed to be not machines but something like that. 
LEHMER: You have to have confidence. 

HEINECKEN: Your job is ultimately to fight, right? And 
win. So it develops in people a kind of cockiness. You 
believe in yourself. You always know somebody's going to 
die, but you never think it's going to be you. And I 
think the wives of people in that situation-- Janet 
adapted to it, I thought, quite well. Some people didn't. 
As I said, I stayed in the reserve for another nine years. 
That's how we made our living. And she was okay about it. 
LEHMER: Okay. 

At this point, I'd like to discuss your return to 
UCLA. I guess the twins are five years old? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. They were born in '55. I went back to 
school in '57. They were two years old when I started. 
And I was there for a couple of years, so they would have 
been four or five at the end of that. 

LEHMER: And Janet has a job as a nurse. What was her 

HEINECKEN: I don't know. There wasn't much of a 
specialized thing in it. She advanced very rapidly 


through whatever situation she was ever-- I mean, she was 
very good at it. By the way, her mother and her 
grandmother were nurses also, so that was in her family. 
My daughter Kathe thought she would be a nurse, but she 
didn't make it. But anyway, Janet was advanced through 
various supervisory roles and so on. She continued to 
work at UCLA even after we were divorced. She retired 
from there a couple of years ago. 

LEHMER: You went back to UCLA after the service. I'd 
like to pick up there and see if we can cover some of that 
ground. You obviously have changed, because you've gone 
through some pretty impressive experiences. 
HEINECKEN: Right, and I'm older. 
LEHMER: You're older. You also have a family- - 
HEINECKEN: I also have a family. I mean, this has got to 
turn into something for me as a job or profession, 
whatever you want to call it. I did very well, I think, 
during that time period. I finished up everything that I 
needed to get done, including academic courses, because 
I'm ready to do it, and I know I have to do it. 
LEHMER: How did you get back in if you had flunked out? 
HEINECKEN: I had to go to [UCLA University] Extension, 
which at that time was not a separate program like we have 
now. It was exactly for this purpose. Like if you needed 
courses that you were not eligible to take at the 


university you went to the Extension, which was downtown 
in one of the old city halls or something like that. So I 
went there, I made up whatever courses I had failed. I 
got off of probation by making acceptable grades there. 
They all recognized that you were here five years ago and 
you've done all that and you're ready to go to school, so 
you go there and take the courses-- Which was no problem. 
I did it. I think that was maybe only one semester that I 
went down there. And maybe it was even that you could be 
at UCLA-- Again, you're on probation until such a time as 
you complete these Extension courses. But I have a 
feeling that I was enrolled probably as taking art classes 
at the same time that I'm going to Extension to make up 
these other courses. 

LEHMER: Did any of your experiences in the service work 
towards credit? 

HEINECKEN: Well, I mentioned the other day that they did 
give me credit for some of the courses, which I now 
regret, actually. 

LEHMER: That's right, I remember that. 

HEINECKEN: Or I don't regret it, but it's kind of ironic. 
They're trying to help you as much as they can. And as I 
said, they want you to get in there and out of there as 
soon as they can make it happen. They were paying me to 
go to school . That ' s the way it was . I think when I 


graduated in 1959 I certainly had grades that were 
acceptable enough to graduate. 

And I became interested during that time period- - 
Then there was a guy named Don [Donald W.] Chipper field, 
who was very influential on me. And I started making 
prints with John Paul Jones, who was the printmaking 
person. Chipper field was the guy who introduced 
photography to me. There were no courses or anything, but 
he got me started in that. A third person was John 
Rosenfield, who is an art historian and an orientalist. I 
think both John Paul Jones-- Well, I know this was John 
Rosenfield 's first teaching job at a university. John 
Paul Jones had just gotten out of the service or 
hospitalization or whatever, and he was very fresh to the 
thing. And Chipperfield I think was about the same. So 
these guys were probably only two or three years older 
than I was at the time. By that time I'm an older — You 
know, the four years that I was, in a sense, not doing 
anything. Those are the three people who really helped me 
get focused. I'll tell the story about Chipperfield 

Now, in this course of study there was a component of 
commercial art as well, and although the major was art, 
there were courses-- There was no design department there, 
but there was something sort of floating underneath this 


which was to become the graphic design curriculum later. 
I don't know whether it was when I was an undergraduate or 
a graduate student, but I got very interested in what now 
you would think of as experimental typography or ideas 
about how you perceive language, all having something to 
do with advertising or something like that. At the same 
time, I was taking conventional art courses, you know, and 
painting courses, drawing, whatever. 

Then I went to work for the UCLA [Wight Art] Gallery 
when Frederick [S.] Wight was the director of it and who 
it's now named after. I was designing the announcements 
and the catalogs, and I worked as a preparator in the 
museum. I won an art director's medal for one of the 
catalogs I did. So I had begun to understand here that 
the art thing was what I had always been pointed towards, 
but I didn't really understand until this time period that 
there's a whole industry out here which is not advertising 
but like serious designers. 

And this guy I mentioned the other day, Jim [James 
A.] Cross, he taught, but he was not a permanent faculty. 
He was a very up-and-coming designer of books and 
typography and things like that. I could see that here's 
a guy who's got it figured out in terms of how to apply 
art ideas to advanced design and principles which were 
maybe Bauhaus principles, and things like that. So at the 


same time I'm going to school I'm doing this job with the 
gallery, which was very helpful to me. This is 1959, when 
I graduated. 

*[I decided to apply to the M.A. program in art, was 
accepted and formed a tentative faculty committee of Don 
Chipperf ield, John Paul Jones, John Rosenfield, and Tom 
(Thomas) Jennings. At this point UCLA was charged to 
instigate new graduate M.F.A. programs and to develop the 
new College of Fine Arts to begin in the fall of I960.] So 
it was at that point when all these things were happening 
that I got out of undergraduate school. It took me one 
year, and I think it probably took everybody who was in a 
master's program one year. It was not a big deal. 
Especially since they knew the M.F.A. was going to come in, 
they were sort of cleaning up the trash of the previous 
graduate program. Basically you did an exhibition at the 
end of this thing. You put up the work, these guys show up, 
you discuss it, and then they sign the papers. It's not 
nearly as rigorous as it would be now. It was a very 
short period of time, and that's probably one of the 
reasons why I always said in discussions that the longer 
period of time should have been the case. I always wanted 

* Heinecken added the following bracketed section during 
his review of the transcript. 


a three-year M.F.A. program. 

By this time I think I'm working full-time for the 
gallery as a combination preparator and designer of the 
announcements and stuff like that. I also worked for UCLA 
Extension designing the brochures that went out for all 
those courses and catalogs. By that time I didn't know 
all of that stuff, and I wasn't sure what I was going to 
do. There was no idea of teaching; that was out of the 
question. It just wasn't in the cards for me. I didn't 
even think about that very much. And I don't think that 
my state of mind would have been that with this-- Now this 
family is beginning to be people, so I needed a job. I 
was very much pointing myself towards this design thing, 
because I could see I was interested in it, and I was very 
good at it, and it was this guy Jim Cross who told me, 
"You are good, you could move in this." And it was never 
tainted by the idea of commercial art. It was a whole new 
field opening up. I'm now thirty years old approximately. 
LEHMER: Twenty-nine. 

HEINECKEN: Twenty-nine, right. I was working at 
Extension and at the gallery. You have to do the work, 
but it wasn't like you had to take courses or stuff like 
that. I mean, it was not a setup, but I knew these three 
people were the people who wanted me to go to graduate 
school, because they recognized some capability, and 


they're obviously going to be on my committee, so It's not 
like I'm sweating It, you know? Like now people have to 
sweat this kind of thing, because It could fall out at the 
last moment or whatever. It was only a year. So I got my 
M.A. degree In 1960, and I had this job. 

But anyway. It must have been probably August or 
sometime late In the summer of 1960 that this guy 
Chipper field had a heart attack or something. 
LEHMER : And he ' s young . 

HEINECKEN: And he's young. Yeah. It was serious. I 
think It was a heart attack. He was completely 
incapacitated. So he — 

Also, we had a new chairman that year, i960. His 
name was Lester [D.] Longman. He was a real asshole, but-- 
Oops. [laughs] He was from the Midwest. He was an 
educationist kind of guy. He was actually hired to make 
the transition from this [College of] Applied Arts to the 
College of Fine Arts. He was the one who was going to 
develop all the programs and so on. You had to get along 
with him, but he was not very honest or something. 
Anyway, he had come to my M.A. exhibition. Maybe he did 
all of that as a course routine, but I remember he was 
there. He was very Interested in what I was doing because 
it was part of what he could visualize as a design kind of 
situation like maybe he would develop. So he knew who I 


was, and he told me he thought what I was doing was 
interesting for whatever reason, right? 

So anyway, this guy Chipper field has this heart 
attack. He's scheduled to teach in the next month, which 
is September or whatever. He recovers enough to say-- 
because I had TA'ed [acted as a teaching assistant for] 
his courses all the time — "Just hire him. Don't do a 
search. I'll be back out of this in two months or 
something like that. He can do it, and he'll do it well. 
So that's what I recommend you do." So this guy Longman 
hired me as an instructor, which was the lowest possible 
rank. It simply means that you're full-time, but it would 
be like a lecturer now. 

For one semester [inaudible], so I don't even 
remember. I know there was certainly a drawing class that 
he taught. I also had TA'ed in printmaking, so I took 
[Chipperfield' s] class. I think there was a drawing 
class. It might even have been some kind of printmaking 
class or an illustration class. 

He never did recover from this. So the next semester 
they hired me to do his courses again. 
LEHMER: Did that include printmaking? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Although John Paul Jones was the 
printmaking person, I did teach, either that first 
semester or the second one, some printmaking course. I 


remember that. But it was mostly like a drawing course, 
and then some kind of typographic course or something like 
that. The expectation was always that he would be back, 
he'd get well. That's why they kept me on for the whole 
year, right? That was the end of 1961, I guess. I can't 
remember exactly whether he-- At some point it was clear 
that he wasn't coming back and that I would have this job 
as an instructor for an additional period of time. 

So someplace in here, maybe 1961, '62, I proposed as 
part of the forming of the College of Fine Arts and the 
restructuring of the art department that we introduce 
photography into this. I made that case to the faculty 
and to Longman and to the deans and all that. 
LEHMER: That's a lot of work. 

HEINECKEN: It was a lot of work, and it wasn't 
altogether-- I mean, a lot of the painters weren't 
particularly interested in broadening things out when in 
fact they had just gone through to throw things out. They 
threw out jewelry, they threw out ceramics, silver- 
smithing. All these things were in the art department, 
and they just dumped everybody. Art education was a big 
part of it, and they dumped all of those people. It was 
like trimming down rather than trying to expand it. So 
they kept giving me-- 

Backing up here. Chipper field was the guy who had 


developed the photography department in Extension. So I 
also was teaching photography courses in Extension at that 
time, which were not offered in regular session. 
LEHMER: So your first photography classes that you taught 
were actually Extension classes? 

LEHMER: You had some sense as to what the potential was? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. By this time I know about the SPE 
[Society for Photographic Education]; I'm going to those 
meetings. I know that this is going to work out at some 
point. I just didn't know whether it would work at UCLA 
or how soon or how long it would take to convince people, 
because these people, the painters, were not ready to 
accept this, with the exception of a few of them. So it 
was a fight. And that went on for basically, I think, 
five years. I had other courses, but I was teaching 
photography, and that wasn't in the curriculum. It wasn't 
like you could major in it or anything like that. 

I kept working in Extension all through this time. 
So by 1966 I was pretty much well into making photographs. 
And my first one-person exhibition was in '64, which would 
have been in the middle of this. Extension was going 
well. I was being accepted enough to at some point be 
made assistant professor and put on a tenure track. 
LEHMER: We should get into that, I think, in our next 


discussion, with a little bit of-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, anyway, let me just finish this thought. 
So 1966 was my sabbatical year, which was also the time 
when I was either going to be promoted to associate 
professor with tenure or let go. That was the way-- Well, 
it still works the same way. 
LEHMER: In '66? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. For the academic year of '66, '67, I 
took a year of sabbatical leave, which is also the time 
when I quit the [Marine Corps] reserve because of, as I 
told you, planning the trip to Europe and stuff like that. 
So that year-- I really didn't think that they were going 
to buy this, because it-- When I left, I had written 
endless things. I cited the whole SPE litany of what's 
happening to photography, not only as an art but its 
importance in a social way and things like that. I wasn't 
certain that they were buying it, though. Some were, some 
weren't. So that whole sabbatical year I would have 
gotten one more year, but I wouldn't have been promoted, 
and then I'd been gone. But anyway, they decided that 
they would make me associate professor and I would develop 
the photography program as part of the curriculum. So 
this is all--I mean, I worked for it and it got done--very 
lucky. Very right time, right place. 
LEHMER: But you worked for it because you had to make the 


case — 

HEINECKEN: Well, I convinced them, yeah. 
LEHMER: You had to educate them. 

HEINECKEN: There weren't any other photography programs 
that were part of the curriculum in the UC [University of 
California] system. [University of California] Berkeley 
had a workshop that they ran through the architecture 
school. None of the state colleges had — at least this is 
my memory- -any kind of photography program. It was a 
breakthrough, really, to get it at UCLA. Berkeley, of 
course, never had one, never saw clearly that they should 
have it. That art department just folded up, anyway. And 
then all this sort of mushroomed into the state colleges 
and so on. That's all history, but-- 

What I'm trying to suggest here is a whole series, 
maybe ten years, twelve years, of things happening which 
were sometimes bad things, sometimes good things, but they 
all sort of keep adding up just by luck. This thing with 
Chipper field, him having faith in me to do that job while 
he was sick and then not coming back, was-- I mean, who 
would have expected that? And then to have the right 
skills to convince the faculty and the administration that 
we should actually start a photography program there, 
which would never have happened except due to the fact 
that they were restructuring the College of Fine Arts. At 


the same time you have the [Center for] Afro- American 
Studies starting, you have the Chicano Studies [Research 
Center] starting, you have all these effects of the 
student riots. The university is suddenly opening; 
they'll take anything that is going to get the students 
off their backs. So it only could have happened in that 
time period, something like this, with somebody who wasn't 
really experienced in any of it. 

LEHMER: Briefly let's back up so we can close this one 
idea. At our next meeting we'll go into this a little 
more thoroughly. But let's back up and catch this one 
thing that we ' ve lost . Can you expand more as to what you 
did for a thesis and what you got your degree in? It was 
obviously an M.A., but was there an emphasis like in 
printmaking or in drawing or--? 

HEINECKEN: I think what I showed were basically prints. 
I don't recall. I might have had some photographs in 
there. They would have been [inaudible], figure studies, 
sort of [inaudible] at that time until 1964, when I had 
this show, which was a rather complete thirty pictures 
that all sort of looked like something. 
LEHMER: Who was your committee? 
HEINECKEN: These three guys. 

LEHMER: The three. You said someone else, too. 
HEINECKEN: Chipperf ield, Rosenfield, John Paul Jones, and 


Tom Jennings. 

LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: And this other guy, Jim Cross, was teaching 

part-time there, and he was the one that I looked to, 

because he was a successful professional book designer. 

He actually probably got me the job at Extension. 

LEHMER: One last question. You had some skill in art and 

drawing. You're into the service. You have survived some 

close calls. Did you consider becoming an airline pilot? 

HEINECKEN: I was too short for that, by the way, but 


LEHMER: What pulled you back to art? That's the last 

thing we need-- We don't have much room on this tape, so 

we might have to continue this. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think it's simply--it's not luck, 

because nothing is luck — that there were these sets of 

circumstances that happened to me which were fortuitous. 

None of it was really at the expense of anything, but it 

was at the-- Because of my motives of knowing that I had 

to go to work at the end of this and that I couldn't be 

hanging around the university anymore, I had to get a job. 

You know, everybody needs to get a job. But being able 

to — 

LEHMER: But I was thinking back earlier, when you're in 

the service. I mean, you're deciding to go back to the 



HEINECKEN: Well, I wasn't trained to do anything, really, 
except be in the Marine Corps. I was too short. I 
applied — I mean, I looked into the airline pilot thing, 
but I wasn't interested in that anyway. 

There was an idea in my mind that because I did a lot 
of engineering stuff, as everyone does in flight training, 
I was interested maybe in something like that, but that 
didn't last very long, because that would have meant 
starting over in college, really. So I just took the easy 
way, which was to take the courses that I needed to get 
back off probation, finish my undergraduate degree, and 
see what happened. But then these guys just said, "Well, 
we're interested in what you're doing as an individual, so 
why don ' t you go ahead and j ust take the M . A . ? " Because 
they were going to drop the M.A. then and go to the M.F.A. 
and so on. 


MARCH 25, 1996 

LEHMER: Today what I'd like to go into would be the early 

years when you started to teach. I think we introduced 

how you began your career as a professor at UCLA; you 

might want to start there. But before we get into that, I 

wanted to do a real brief outline of your family life, 

kind of bring that up to your separation from Janet 

[Storey]. We'll start out with what the marriage with 

Janet was like. Was it January '55? 


LEHMER: You were eighteen months into the service. 


LEHMER: I guess you'd finished flight school? 

HEINECKEN: Uh-huh, at that point. You couldn't be 

married, by the way, and be in this program. I mean, 

there were people who were, but they had to keep that a 


LEHMER: Then you moved to Laguna [Beach] --the family, 

you , and Janet . 


LEHMER: What I remember was that the twins were born in 

August of '55, and you moved to a new home, but also in 

Laguna . 



LEHMER: And they were Geoffrey [R. Heinecken] and Kathe 

[Heinecken Hull] . 


LEHMER: It's probably not very important, but I was 

wondering, who was first? Who's the oldest? 

HEINECKEN: Geoff was first, I think. 

LEHMER: Geoff was first. 

HEINECKEN: I'm pretty sure. Yeah. He's always talking 

to her about he's the older brother. 

LEHMER: [laughs] By a couple of seconds or minutes. 

HEINECKEN: Actually it was quite a long time, because-- I 

think I have this straight. Kathe was much less developed 

and was born maybe an hour or something like that after he 

was-- I'm not sure of that. But I know when I first saw 

them, which was about a week later, I think he was more or 

less formed, but she looked like some kind of a rat rolled 

up in a paper towel, because she was just much more 

premature. They were both premature, which is common in 

twins, I guess. 

LEHMER: Where were they born? Was there a base hospital? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. They were born in the naval hospital in 

Corona [California], which was between the beach and 

Riverside [California] . 

LEHMER: Okay. That's got to be awfully close to El Toro 


[Marine Corps Air Station]? Is that right? 
HEINECKEN: It's about an hour or something like that. 
No, not that far. But anyway, everybody at El Toro went 
to that hospital if there was other than what they did 
locally there. 

LEHMER: I remember photographing my daughter before the 
umbilical cord was cut and singing "Happy Birthday" to her 
in the hospital. You found out about this, and you were 
on a mission or flight. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. We were deployed somewhere--I 'm not 
sure--but either Yuma [Arizona] or Mojave [California] or 
Fallon [Nevada] is where we always went. It wasn't that 
far away, but we were-- It was one of those situations 
where you take all the stuff — all the airplanes, all the 
men. You go someplace for a month or two, which is why I 
didn't get back right away. *[I think I came back in a 
day or two, stayed a few days, and went back.] Oh, 
remember that Janet's a nurse and a very good, 
professional one when she goes through all of this. And I 
remember I was really appalled — or not appalled exactly-- 
but the way that things were handled at a military 
hospital was much more expedient, and they kind of run 

* Heinecken added the following bracketed section during 
his review of the transcript. 


you through. This is the way they have to do things, 

obviously, compared to what she was used to in terms of a 

university hospital or whatever else she worked at. 

LEHMER: Care versus maintenance. 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. Or I think no matter where a 

military hospital is they use the same sort of procedures 

they would use anywhere, which is exactly what you're 

saying. It was like get them in, get them out, because 

it's a different mission that they have than at a regular 


LEHMER: Then four years later Karol [Heinecken Mora] was 

born. That's a big gap. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. She was definitely not planned. I 

don't know whether this is something to keep in there, but 

between the twins and her there was I think maybe one 

miscarriage, but a couple of abortions, also. We weren't 

really smart about what we were doing. I think there was 

also an abortion after she was born. Where was I going 

with that? Those things I should really-- I mean, that's 

my memory of it, but I could check that out with Janet. 

But where was she born? Probably UCLA [Medical Center] . 

'Fifty-nine. I would have been there. Yeah. 

LEHMER: Where were you living at that point? 

HEINECKEN: Let's see. 

LEHMER: Was that Westwood? Or was it — ? 


HEINECKEN: Well, when I went back to school we applied 
for the veterans housing, but we had to wait until 
something opened up. They had another kind of an adjacent 
student housing in Mar Vista, Barrington [Avenue] and 
National [Boulevard], kind of. We were lined up to go 
into that, and somehow that fell through. It wasn't 
veterans housing, but it was the university housing, the 
apartments in Mar Vista, which we got into. So that's 
where we were probably when Karol was born. No, that's 
not quite right. I have to think about this, because- - 
Well, we moved to Beverly Glen [Boulevard] in 1960. So 
probably Karol was born in the veterans housing, when we 
were living in the veterans housing at UCLA on campus. 
Yeah. Because it would have been that year before that. 
Right, yeah. 

LEHMER: You had mentioned to me earlier--maybe it was off 
tape--that the kids grew up in this ideal-like 
environment. There were lots of other kids around, young 
couples' housing. Can you describe that housing a little 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think the point I was making was that 
it was a unique situation in that it was like an apartment 
in a sense. I think there were twelve families in each 
building. There were five buildings. So you got a 
population of maybe five hundred people in this complex on 


campus on Gayley [Avenue] across from the fraternity 
houses. Each building was really a kind of microcosm--! 
wouldn't say an intellectual community but professional 
people on professional tracks. We had doctors and law 
students and mathematicians. I always remember those math 
guys, because you could never figure them out. It was a 
thing where you never had to worry about a babysitter, 
because there was always someone. You were always 
babysitting for someone. It was like a commune in a 
strange way. We kept in touch with a couple of those 
families for a long time after that. Now we don't see 
them. But we became good friends with people here. 
Everybody is in the same-- You've got no money, you've got 
a bunch of kids, you're sweating school, and — So it was 
great, a great thing to have. 

LEHMER: Geoff and Kathe obviously would have strong 
memories of this. And you moved into Beverly Glen a year 
later, in '60? 

HEINECKEN: I think so. It was 1960, yes. 
LEHMER: So she's still pretty young? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. She's a kitten, yeah. 
LEHMER: We visited, again off tape, with Geoff briefly 
about his experiences in the Glen. I have a feeling that 
it may have been a bigger territory, but he was fairly 
social and able to make friends throughout the Glen. It 


was kind of an adventuresome place to live and grow up. 
HEINECKEN: Uh-huh. And there weren't a lot of kids. 
Well, I guess there were probably the same amount of kids 
that there were anywhere. But the nature of the canyon is 
such that you have kind of an immediate group like we do 
here on Viretta [Lane]. And you don't see everybody that 
way. But Janet met a lot of people through a play group 
situation where she actually volunteered, and the kids, I 
guess, went to that for a while. But it was a nice place 
for them to grow up. They went to Warner Avenue 
[Elementary] School, which is in Holmby Hills down there, 
which was one of those schools that was affiliated with 
the university as a teaching-- In other words — 
LEHMER: A satellite. 

HEINECKEN: If you went to UCLA you would go there to do 
your student teaching and stuff like that. So it was a 
good school that way. 

The other thing about the school thing was that when 
I got appointed at UCLA, which was 1960, as an instructor, 
they were ready to go to school. The UES was there, which 
is the University Elementary School. This was an 
experimental school where the idea was that kids would be 
taken into that program, but you had to guarantee that 
they could go the whole six or seven years, because they 
weren't teaching them sequentially the way that they were 


teaching in conventional schools. As far as the school 
was concerned, it was an experiment. It was research 
oriented to the university. But if Kathe and Geoff went 
there together- -same age, identical--one might be in a 
program that is studying what happens if you don't teach 
them writing and reading in the order that would normally 
happen. What if you put them in a situation where they're 
reversing the order in which things are conventionally 
given? The point is that because I was employed at UCLA 
in the academic section, you could almost automatically 
get your kids into this school, because they wanted a 
range of kids, not only from that kind of family but from 
completely different backgrounds. It was a real 
interesting situation. We wanted them to get in there, 
but you had to guarantee or sign something that said 
they're not responsible if you have to leave this after 
three years, because you wouldn't be able to take that kid 
into a conventional school because he would be completely 
screwed up. Based on that, we decided that obviously we 
couldn ' t guarantee that we would be there seven years . I 
didn't know whether I would be there a year or two or 
what. So they went to this other school. 
LEHMER: To Warner. 

HEINECKEN: And if they would have gone there, I mean, 
those kids, at least as far as I understand that program 


and how it works, they were very successful with this 
program. Those kids automatically went through high 
school, junior high school, and college with a different 
attitude about education. It was a good program. It's 
too bad that they didn't get to go there. It probably 
would have been better for them. 
LEHMER: And Karol obviously started school. 

We talked earlier--and I think this is on tape--about 
your transition around 1966, when you finally resigned 
your commission from the Marines Corps. And Karol ' s just 
starting school, too. Another element is you were going 
up for tenure. And Karol ' s in like first grade. I think 
it's '66. She's about six or seven years old. 

LEHMER: So she's starting school, too. So your life is 
on the edge of solidifying into a whole other direction. 
HEINECKEN: That's right. Well, it's beginning to become 
more or less permanent employment on the one hand, and 
moving to a place like this obviously could be a permanent 
situation. So, yeah, I think at that point, as far as 
Janet and I were concerned, everything was working very 
well. The twins were pretty wild, actually, both of them; 
Geoffrey especially was for a while. The time period here 
is, even in lower-level schools, you're beginning to 
experiment. Not in the sense that I was describing 


earlier, but even at that level the schools did reflect 
the attitudes of what was happening to older students 
everywhere in terms of the protests and the [Vietnam] War, 
the free speech, free love, all of this stuff that was 
going on there. They were not unaffected by that, I 
think, as any kid at that age ordinarily would have been. 
Maybe I'm jumping ahead here a little bit. The twins went 
to University High School, in West L.A. Good school, 
obviously. But when Karol went-- 
LEHMER: What year was that when Karol went? 
HEINECKEN: Well, she's — what? — four years younger, so I 
guess they would have been out of high school by the time 
she started, obviously. But anyway, what she got into 
was, I think they call it a free school, which was 
differentiated from the regular curriculum. It was taught 
by — All this I learned later. We were excited about that 
program she was in. It was a kind of experiment within 
this conventional high school. To make a shorter story, 
as it turns out the people who were teaching this and who 
were setting it up were est [Erhard Seminars Training] 
people. I don't know what that stands for, but it was a 
sort of a quasi-crazy kind of a way to approach things. 
It was run by this guy Werner [Erhard] . I mean, est was a 
big thing. 
LEHMER: Yeah. I remember that term. It's — I don't want 



HEINECKEN: It Stands for something. Anyway, I think it 
was a philosophy that accepted principles of freedom for 
each individual in ways that were much more radically 
defined than had been previously. We knew all of that, 
and Janet and I weren't concerned about it too much. It 
seemed okay to me. But by the time she graduated it turns 
out that the est people who were teaching it were also 
Scientologists for a large percentage. She came out of 
that high school as a Scientologist, and if you know 
anything about that — At eighteen it's a little early to 
make a decision as radical as to be a Scientologist, but 
she was, and all her friends were. 
LEHMER: And this was a public school. 
HEINECKEN: Public school, yeah. When it got to that 
point, it was too late for us to do anything, but we were 
pissed. You know, you follow what a kid does. She's 
getting good grades, and she's a free kid. She does kind 
of what she wants as far as the school goes. I thought 
all of that was fine, because if she went to college she'd 
have to do whatever they had to do. I wasn't worried 
about it. But then it turned out that--I may be too 
radical--but Scientology is a kind of brainwashing, as far 
as I could figure out, and I still think it is. But it 
has an immense appeal to a certain kind of individual and 


to a certain age where you don't know what you're going to 
do. It's like another faniily--bigger, better, more 
empathetic to you. 

Anyway, she was in that, and we were a little bit 
disturbed. But the twins were very disturbed. They were 
old enough at that point that they felt they had something 
to say about what she was going to be and do and whatever. 
They gave her a bad time. I couldn't tolerate it. I 
couldn't stop it. I used to share what they felt, but I 
just didn't feel like I wanted to start stepping on 
things. So she stayed in that until-- Actually, she could 
still be in it. She married a guy who was in it. All her 
friends were in it. I think that's changed now, 
certainly. But the principles that were espoused I think 
she still holds. If you really are in this, as I 
understand it, it is a closed family. It's like the 
Mormons kind of. You want a plumber, you get a 
Scientologist. If you want this, you get a-- You keep it 
all, in a sense, so that you're helping each other to find 
employment and whatever. 

In fact, this is an interesting aside. This was much 
later, certainly. Karol ' s husband John [Mora], who is an 
interesting guy, by the way, was among other things a kind 
of general contractor. He and some crew that he put 
together actually worked on Tom Cruise's house in Malibu. 


Tom Cruise is a big Scientologist. That's the kind of 
networking that was a part of this. 

What ' s important about it is that it was disturbing 
to some extent to Jan and I and to the other kids. And 
they were at an age where they would have much to say 
about it. They loved her and didn't want to see her go 
into something that they recognized to be something that 
they did reject or would reject. There was a tension 
connected to Karol and this Scientology thing that lasted 
on kind of an intense level for several years and still is 
something that's there. I think it's over in the sense of 
her becoming hardcore or being really dangerous about it. 
If you have the will to decide how to run your existence 
without having been told exactly how to do it — It's like 
another religion, but it's a strange one. 
LEHMER: I had a question. I want to back up. 
HEINECKEN: One more thing about that. One other thing 
about Scientology is that you have to produce more and 
more money, take more and more of these courses, which 
begins to elevate you in certain steps in the hierarchy of 
this organization, and it costs a lot of money to do that. 
At some point, I think in the initial stages of this we 
had to help her, and even after Janet and I separated. I 
know, because we had talked about it still. Janet said, 
"I'm not giving another penny to this." And I said, 


"Well, I won't either." So we didn't. At that point I 

don't know whether that had anything to do with her 

getting out of it or lessening her relationship to it, but 

nobody can afford the money that they want to train you to 

be — It's like a pyramid club. You start raising money, 

and then pretty soon you'll come to the top of that 

pyramid, and you'll get the money. Anyway, that was what 

happened there. 

LEHMER: Karol was born in '59? 


LEHMER: It must have been the end of '59 if she's four 

years younger. August. 

HEINECKEN: In the fall sometime, yeah. September maybe. 

LEHMER: Okay. So she was graduating from high school in 

'77. This was going on in the mid-seventies, early 

seventies, in high school. Now, five years earlier, then 

that would be '73, when the twins are eighteen years old. 

So they graduated from high school and went to high school 

in the late sixties, early seventies. Definitely — 


LEHMER: It's a real war protest period. I understand 

what you ' re saying on that . 

Can you expand on that idea you were saying that the 
twins were wild? 


HEINECKEN: Well, they probably weren't any wilder than 
other kids, but they were not-- I mean, I thought I was 
wild. The drug thing worried us a little bit, because 
they were obviously using whatever the current thing was, 
maybe not so much Kathe as Geoff. But Geoff will tell me 
now that he did everything there was to do, to ingest or 
whatever. There is no trace of any problem with him at 
all or probably with any of those kids. But they had 
friends who committed suicide and walked off of buildings 
from LSD, stuff like that. It was weird because of my own 
background. But I just didn't get a sense of drug use, as 
opposed to what my drug was--beer--which is not doing 
anything really bad to you, or so I thought. So I was not 
a very apathetic person in relation to the drug thing. I 
didn't get it. I didn't want to have my kids involved in 
it, but they were. 

Kathe at one point was living with a full-blown 
heroin addict. I mean, he was just zonked all the time. 
They were living together in Venice in this kind of shack, 
which was romantic, I'm sure, and wonderful, but this guy 
was just zonked. 

LEHMER: And this was after high school? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Yeah, probably well after high school. 
And this kid, by the way, was in-- We met his parents, who 
were both medical doctors and had a very high socio-economic 


level. Well, this guy's name was Bobby. With all the 
promise of education and whatever, they could not 
understand what was going on with him. And we met, I 
guess, in the sense of what should we do about this, or 
should we do anything about it. They finally separated. 
I think he died, not during that time period, but 
whatever . 

So that's the kind of drug thing I'm talking about. 
I don't think Karol was involved nearly as much, because 
that time had shifted, and she was into this other 
situation where you certainly wouldn't be taking drugs. I 
don't think she ever did it. And I don't think my 
experiences are much different than anybody who had kids 
of those ages in this environment here in a city like 
this. Probably it's the same. It's not a special 
experience . 

LEHMER: No. And Janet as a nurse and — 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. And there's that whole-- I mean, she 
understands. The highest rate of professional drug users 
are doctors and nurses, because they have high pressure 
situations, and the stuff is available. All you've got to 
do is go get it. No problem. 
LEHMER: I didn't know that. 
HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah. 
LEHMER: So she's aware of the signs, or she's figured 


this out. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. She had several professional friends 

who were working with her who had their licenses taken 

away and got hospitalized. It's not an uncommon thing at 

all. You don't hear about it as much in doctors, but it's 

a real — They were the only people who had access to it, 

and they could sell it. Even if you're a doctor you get 

hooked. It's a problem. 

LEHMER: Now, Janet was working at this — 

HEINECKEN: One more thing. I keep thinking of things. I 

forget where we went. We left for a year maybe to Chicago 

or to New York or whatever, where I was going to teach, 

and Geoffrey refused to go. He would have been in high 

school, I think, still at that time. Whereas we had just 

expected that we would all go and whatever. And he 

wouldn't go. 

LEHMER: What did you do? 

HEINECKEN: Well, we had to go. And he stayed for at 

least maybe six months, eight months, maybe a year with a 

family in Beverly Glen. The most striking thing I 

remember about when we left is about his appearance. When 

we got back, he had gone through some stage of puberty 

that we hadn't experienced yet. He had long blond hair, 

scruffy, torn clothes, all the stuff where you just kind 

of went, "Oh, shit." Anyway, we got through that, too. 


LEHMER: How long were you married to Janet? 
HEINECKEN: Well, I married her in 1955. 
LEHMER: January of '55. 

HEINECKEN: Right, January '55. At some point, I'd say 
about 1965, things sort of began to go wrong with us. I 
start screwing around. I think she did a little bit, too. 
It never bothered — I mean, it never came up. But it was 
always that I was married and at home or whatever. Again, 
the time period is such that this was not an uncommon 
situation. It may still not be uncommon. It was part of 
this whole attitude about individuality, I guess. I 
always reconciled whatever I did with her. She knew about 
it. She was certainly not pleased about it. I think 
probably because of the family and the situation, the 
stability--as screwy as it might have been--was more 
important than anything that she would have to do about it 
or I would have to do about it, and we sort of continued 
along those lines. Obviously in a marital situation it's 
not ideal . 

At the same time, professionally I'm more visible, 
and I'm traveling more and doing talks. All those things 
open up a lot of possibilities during this time period for 
extramarital affairs. In fact, it was endemic in places 
like SPE [Society for Photographic Education] conventions, 
which were nothing more than a kind of party for this 


purpose. But they got things done, too. 

So anyway, in the siimmer of 1969 I went to Buffalo to 
teach for the sununer at the state university there [State 
University of New York at Buffalo] , and I got seriously 
involved with this woman there. And we had discussed 
that — I mean, that came out. That was the biggest 
scandal problem that we had about a situation like that, 
and it was certainly not something that she could accept. 
So we got it figured out and reconciled, and I stopped 
doing that sort of thing. Well, I shouldn't say I stopped 
doing it, but it was not a situation where I was 
destroying the marriage or it was a bad thing. 

But anyway, in 1975 I went to this Ansel Adams 
workshop in Yosemite. I met this woman whose name was 
Twinka [Thiebaud], who was a model. She was rather well 
known in her own little world, and beautiful and 
intelligent, all of those things. An absolutely loose 
woman. So I fell in love with her, which was just nuts, 
but I did. I never really came back home after I got back 
into town from this workshop. We took off somewhere for a 
couple of weeks and just did that. 
LEHMER: This is in '75? 

HEINECKEN: ' Seventy- five. Summer, fall of '75. I'm 
trying to think. Well, it was during this period of time 
that she lived in Henry Miller's house in Pacific 


Palisades. She ran the household. She did the cooking. 
She had this small apartment within the house itself. I 
lived in a place in Venice on Bay Street, which was just 
this one-room situation, but I spent most of the time with 
her in his house, because there was enough room for both 
people. I would just go back and forth like that. That 
was a very exciting time period for me romantically, 
sexually, whatever. Because, as I said, she was probably 
the most obvious model for all these different people like 
Jack [W.] Welpott and Judith Dater and other people. 
People just knew her. 

LEHMER: There is a famous Judy Dater photograph of Twinka 
sneaking around the trees, and there's Twinka. 
HEINECKEN: That probably went on for six months or 
something. I see her occasionally. We're good friends. 
But what I'm trying to get at is that she had ambitions 
certainly beyond being a model . She had been to acting 
school. She had been to dancing school. By the way, she 
is the daughter of Wayne Thiebaud, who is a painter who 
taught at the University [of California] at Davis. All 
during her life, from the time she was a very young kid, 
she was a model for her father, who always used her as an 
individual to paint from or draw from or whatever. That's 
her story about how she got into modeling and what it 
meant to be a model and differentiating an artist model 


from a clothing model. But her ambitions were to actually 
be something beyond what she was, which was a good figure 
model . 

While we were together, two things happened for 
whatever reason, probably due to my psychic state or 
whatever. I started drinking more than I should have, 
which was a problem off and on anyway. And she began to 
get into situations where the phone would ring in the 
middle of the night, and her agent or some guy that was 
helping her said, "Love, so-and-so is in town. He needs 
some companionship, " and she would have to go no matter 
what, because that was what a person in that situation- - 
You do that. I mean, anything you can do that's going to 
put you into the professional circuit is necessary. And I 
couldn't take it. I was just that conventional, in a 
sense, that I thought-- Well, what's perverse about it is 
that I expected Janet to accept my behavior, but I wasn't 
ready to give this woman the same freedom that Janet had 
given me, and I was troubled. I don't know exactly what 
happened, but I couldn't handle this lifestyle. Also, I 
had no studio, and I'm either living in this room or I'm 
at Henry Miller's. So I'm not doing anything really 
except trying to collect my thoughts. It wasn't a time 
that I accomplished very much. 
LEHMER: And you didn't have a studio at school? 


HEINECKEN: No, I always worked here, actually. I never 
was involved in anything that was so large or whatever 
that I couldn't actually do it in a conventional room. 
LEHMER: Here on Viretta Lane. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. So anyway, that ended. 
LEHMER: That went on for a year or six months? 
HEINECKEN: I think six months. I think Twinka had 
explained to me at one point it wasn't even that long. I 
guess it was so intense that it felt like it was a longer 
period of time. She was unhappy with what had happened, 
but not to the point that she would change it. I mean, 
she had to do what she had to do. So anyway, we split up. 

I got this place on Venice Boulevard at some point in 
there, maybe 1975. I moved there, I had this studio, and 
I was beginning to set that up to get going. I'm not 
involved with Twinka anymore, although I remember having 
her over there. There must have been some overlap between 
when I moved into this place-- I was probably still seeing 
her. That was the end of that situation. But as I said, 
we've remained friends ever since. She's now in Portland 
[Oregon]. Joy [Joyce Neimanas] and I saw her a year or so 

So the next situation, I guess, is in May of 1976-- 
April I think. I went to Chicago to do a week's workshop 
at Columbia College and at the Art Institute [of Chicago] 


in a split situation. Somewhere in the middle of that 

week I went to dinner with the faculty of the Art 

Institute, and Joy was there. I had known her before from 

SPE meetings, but I had never had any real direct contact 

with her. 

LEHMER: Well, I remember she was one of the first people 

you asked to come out and teach. 

HEINECKEN: That's right. That was 1971, actually. 

LEHMER: 'Seventy-one. And for one reason or another she 

couldn ' t do it . 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. She was on sabbatical that year. As 

she would relate it now, she was interested in it. If it 

weren't that she was on sabbatical she might have come, 

which might have changed the whole thing, or would have 

changed it. 

As I said, I had met her, but mostly I had seen her 
work often through this time period. I knew obviously she 
was an interesting artist, and thought that she would have 
fit in with whatever was going on at UCLA, but she 
couldn't come. So four years later I meet her again in 
this social situation, and we went home together. That's 
when all this started obviously, just bang, bang. Of 
course, at that point I'm not divorced, but I'm free. I 
mean, I'm obviously not going back to that situation. 
LEHMER: It's not resolved between you and Janet, but it 


seems like it's a separation that may not be formal. It 

sounds like you didn't deal with it on a formal level, but 

it was like-- 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. It's not that I don't want to talk 

about it, it's just blurred. The whole thing is blurred. 

But in her mind, Janet and I formally left here in 1975. 

So this would have been a year or something later than 


LEHMER: Left the Viretta house. 

HEINECKEN: I would have to talk to Janet further about 

her feelings or attitude during this point. I think both 

of us understood that we were not going to be living 

together, whether we should be married or not in relation 

to the family. We weren't divorced formally until 1980, 

which is a long time to wait to do that. I don't know why 

we did that. 

So anyway, I came back to Los Angeles, and Joy and I 
were on the phone all the time and all the letters and 
stuff that goes on like that. In the summer of that year, 
1976, she came out to visit me for a week in this new 
studio that I had moved into. 
LEHMER: In Venice. 

HEINECKEN: No, not in Venice, in Culver City, but on 
Venice Boulevard. 


MARCH 25, 1996 

LEHMER: Okay. We finished up where you were moving into 
a studio in Culver City. I think you'd mentioned that you 
and Janet had moved out of Viretta. 
HEINECKEN: No, she stayed here. 
LEHMER: She stayed here. Okay. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. She lived here with differing 
arrangements between us financially since 1975--when I 
left — to 1984. So that's nine years that she-- I'm 
looking this up. I'm trying to remember exactly when we 
were divorced. I'll have to look these dates up. 

I always paid half of the mortgage, the insurance, 
everything like that, and actually she lived here free 
during that whole time period. At some point we bought 
the other half — This is after Joy and I were married. I 
bought the other half from her. At that point she left 
and went to where she lives now. I have to think about 
the dates there more. 
LEHMER: Where does Janet live now? 
HEINECKEN: She lives in West L.A., like the Pico 
[Boulevard] -Sepulveda [Boulevard] area. 

LEHMER: Okay. When you came to school here--I'm jumping 
back now — in I960-- No, no. It was earlier than that. 


When you went back to school full-time, she went back to 

nursing full-time. 

HEINECKEN: Right. Or part-time. I'm not sure exactly. 

LEHMER: Was this always at UCLA? 


LEHMER: Okay. So she's in the medical school at UCLA. 

HEINECKEN: Well, it's a teaching hospital. 

LEHMER: And she's there all the way through the sixties 

and seventies. 

HEINECKEN: Uh-huh, until she retired, which was, I think, 

after I did. She had been there a long time. 

LEHMER: You retired in '91, so she retired after that. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I think so. 

LEHMER: So she's looking at thirty years. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Yeah. Her story about her profession 

in relation to that school is interesting but not 

necessarily relevant. The reason she retired is that she 

became convinced that what she, a professional registered 

nurse, was being, at least at that institution-- They just 

kept elevating these people until you are no longer a 

nurse. You're running a floor or you're supervising other 

nurses who aren't registered nurses but are nurses' aides. 

That was what happened to the medical profession during 

that time. She wasn't interested in being the supervisor. 

She wanted to be what she always was, a nurse with the 



She also realized that the doctors she's worked with 
over a long time period and the residents and interns — 
She's begins to sniff out this kind of HMO [health 
maintenance organization] attitude that they had and that 
they were no longer compassionate to the degree she 
thought they should be. They were, in fact, becoming 
administrators, and even more of the medical stuff was 
being handed over to people who previously weren't thought 
of as qualified to do that work. That was her whole 
dissatisfaction. She stayed on, I guess, until she had 
full retirement. 

I was just thinking also at some point here before 
1975 — this was not a conscious thing, but it just kind of 
happened- -I always went by the name Bob. I mean, anybody 
who knew me, like Linda [Connor], will still call me Bob. 
Here's two people who when you know someone that long, 
that's what you call them, no matter what they call 
themselves. At some point in there during this time with 
Twinka and Henry Miller, somehow I got this tag name from 
him which was Raoul . So I began to use that name . I ' ve 
got some picture that he gave me, of his drawings or 
whatever, that says, "To Raoul, the mystery man," or some 
shit like that. I'm not pretending that I had any 
relation to him other than just as this guy hanging around 


his house or whatever. But I have a very clear impression 
of what he accomplished and how he lived his life, even 
though he was like eighty years old by this time and died 
shortly after all of this. It was a very interesting 
experience to be certainly not inside this circle, but an 
adjacent or tangent individual who saw what his life was 
like day to day. This was inspiring in terms of someone 
who was so important to a certain body of literature or 
certain time period still being this renegade person who's 
almost dead but still having writers over for dinner and 
lunch. They wanted to see him before he died, and he knew 
all that. And he played this renegade person. He was 
very outspoken, as older people are, about what's going on 
with no bullshit. He was a big--this has nothing to do 
with anything--Ping-Pong player, and I was a Ping-Pong 
player, and we did that. It was a very interesting 
experience . 

But anyway, what I'm saying is somehow I took this 
name, which I thought to be kind of romantic, like Raoul 
Hausmann. Then at some point I decided I would not be 
called Bob anymore; I'd rather be called Robert, because 
it was a new life. It was a shedding of whatever had been 
my life up till that point with my family, my marriage. I 
thought that was sort of typically romantic. 
LEHMER: This is '75? 


HEINECKEN: Well, someplace in there, yeah. But within 
that short period of time I was Raoul. Still when I talk 
to people or write people who I knew then-- Like Irene 
Borger always calls me Raoul as a joke. She's another 
person whom we don't need to get into right now but whom I 
was very much affected by- -with her and by her. I still 

Okay. So I'm in this studio now in Culver City. 
It's July. This I'm not quite certain of, but we can 
check it with Joy. We were on the phone all the time and 
writing letters all the time. But I'm in the studio. I 
was on the second floor, and there was no doorbell or 
anything, but there was this bell kind of thing that was 
outside, and when you pulled this rope it rang the bell. 
I looked down there, and there was Joy just out of the 
blue. I didn't have any idea she was coming. She's with 
this friend of hers named Robert Loescher, who's this big, 
huge, fat guy who's a gay man. He's her best friend 
probably still. 

LEHMER: And he's the art historian from the Art Institute 
of Chicago. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, right. 
LEHMER: Where she's employed? 

HEINECKEN: Right. His field is pre-Columbian art 
history. His subfield is the whole history of sex in art, 


particularly gay sex and gay people within art. So he's 
very interesting. His is a side of life that I never 
really understood. I think one never understands it 
unless you are in it or you have someone very close to you 
in it or some context for it. For me he was the context 
whereby I began to really understand what this was without 
a sense of it being strange. Because I just never had any 
contact with it. I probably had a typical bourgeois 
attitude about it. But he helped me, and Joy. 

Anyway, they just show up, and it's like midnight. 
They have a cab. I see who it is. I go down and get her, 
and he goes off to whatever he's going to do in the cab. 
That was like the first time that she ever made a move 
that was clearly something like I wasn't visiting her or I 
wasn't following her around. She was there. 

Then I'm not sure whether it was that visit or a 
later visit, but it's now July 6, 1976. 
LEHMER: July '76. 

HEINECKEN: Right. So we're both living there, but 
briefly. I mean, maybe it's a weekend, or maybe it's 
she's visiting, or maybe she's been out here a while, I'm 
not sure. I can straighten that out with her. 

But anyway, what happens is Darryl [J.] and Doris 
Curran were obviously-- He's been a good friend of mine 
for a long time. We were socially involved with them. He 


let us know that he and Doris were going out of town for 
the evening and coming back the next day. Would we feed 
the cats? --which there were a dozen cats or whatever. We 
agreed to do that. 
LEHMER: In West L.A.? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, in West L.A. So we did that. We went 
over there probably at eight or nine o'clock in the 
evening. This would become pertinent later. 

But anyway, I have these books. I think I mentioned 
they were my grandfather [Friedli Heinecken]'s journals 
with his drawings or whatever. I had one of those books 
with me in the studio in Culver City. I didn't have a lot 
of stuff there. It was just a meager art place rather 
than anything comfortable. So I had this book, which is 
really a treasure to me and the only original book that I 
had. The others I had in storage. I had it with me. I 
was always telling Joy how interesting this was. I think 
she said, "Well, bring it along. I'll take a look at it." 
Anyway, I took this book over there to feed the cats. I 
don't know whether we decided we were going to stay over 
there before or not. I think we got there, and it was 
late. We just thought, "Well, we'll just stay here rather 
than go back down to the studio." Maybe we had to come 
back the next day or something to feed the cats again. 
Anyway, we stayed overnight. 


It's early the next morning that this explosion 
happens on Venice Boulevard in the block where our studio 
was. I can tell you about the explosion later, but it 
just levels pretty much the whole block-- Maybe ten 
buildings are gone, one of which is this building that we 
would have been in that morning if we wouldn't have gone 
to feed the cats. If we didn't decide to sleep over there 
rather than go back, we would have been dead, there is no 
question. There were like forty people who died in this 
thing who were the occupants of that entire block. There 
were survivors, but-- 

LEHMER: This is the third close call. 
HEINECKEN: Well, we didn't know anything about this, 
because we're still over there having breakfast. When the 
phone rings, I think one of us is in the shower and one 
person answers the phone. It's Eileen Cowin, who had a 
studio or a house also in Culver City near where we were. 
She's calling Darryl to find out if he knows anything 
about what happened--! think she knew Joy was there 
probably--to me and Joy. I think I'm in the shower and 
Joy picks up the phone to get this message from Eileen, 
"Do you know what happened to Heinecken?" I can't 
remember who was on the phone or whatever, but she's 
calling to tell Darryl that the building is gone, and I 
think her assumption was that we were gone, because the 


block was this level plane. So we weren't. We were safe. 

Bart Parker was teaching at UCLA at the time. He 
lived not too far from Culver City, too. She called him, 
also. But anyway, it was one of those lucky situations 
where we weren't there. 

So that place is destroyed. I was absolutely 
despondent, because I had just come off of a Guggenheim 
[Fellowship] on a sabbatical leave. I had the whole 
studio laid out with all these prints. I had just 
finished printing a whole edition of these Cliche Vary 
prints. I had a lot of other materials stored there that 
were all gone, which was very devastating. We just got in 
the car and drove for maybe a week or two. We went up 
north and tried to forget the whole thing. 

But what happened on Venice Boulevard, it turns out, 
is that the main pipeline for raw gasoline going from the 
refineries and-- 
LEHMER: El Segundo. 

HEINECKEN: --E1 Segundo or wherever down to the next 
assisting main distribution, it's a pipe maybe ten feet in 
diameter which has raw gas in it, just like it comes out 
of the pump. It's moving it from one place to another. 
The city of Culver City is doing some repair work not on 
the gas pipeline but on something else. There's a 
bulldozer in that median there. Now there's no median, 


but there was a parkway down that street. He's got a bad 
map that he got from Standard Oil [Company of California], 
who owns the gasoline, how deep he should go to do 
whatever he's doing. He's correct on the map, but the map 
is wrong. He hits this pipe and breaks this pipe open, 
which instantly vaporizes into the air under extremely 
high pressure. So what you've got is this raw vaporized 
gasoline, and somewhere somebody lights a cigarette or 
there's a spark or something, and it just boom! They 
never even found this guy or the bulldozer. That just 
disappeared. Because the map was wrong. Standard Oil was 
responsible for the accident. Standard Oil is 
represented, or it's a conglomerate situation. 

I didn't mention before that the guy who owned the 
building was a sculptor who had all his sculpture stuff on 
the first floor, and on the adjacent lot were his big 
metal outdoor sculpture pieces. Mike Todd was his name. 
So he owned the building and also lost a lot of his work. 
His wife actually was a lawyer. 

We took them all to court. It took like eighteen 
months to get it. I think I probably got $30,000 or 
something like that. I used that money to get into the 
next studio, which we also made some money on. We moved 
to Inglewood to a studio there, which we turned around 
okay, which finally gave me the money to get back in here 


[Viretta Lane] . So it was fortuitous that that money 

happened as a result of a tragedy. 

LEHMER: But the sacrifice for that money was losing that 


HEINECKEN: Well, in the long run-- I was upset at the 

time, but it's not as bad as losing your life, which we 

would have. The place was a two-story building. All of 

these were two-story buildings. There were bars there. 

One of these buildings was a place where the Mexican 

families all lived, where all the guys were working here 

and there. So there were about, I don't know, forty women 

and children in this one building living in this 

destitute, crowded poverty, and that whole building went. 

LEHMER: Okay. So you get back in here after three 


HEINECKEN: One of the reasons we went away was we just 

had to get out of town definitely. I'm pretty sure that 

the lease — Or that I was going to leave that building 

within a month or something, because I had lined up the 

other studio on Washington Boulevard, which is only a 

couple of blocks from this one. Joy wouldn't remember it, 


When we came back after our drive, we moved into this 
other studio, anyway. So we had a place to go. 
LEHMER: This was during the summer? 


HEINECKEN: Yeah. I think it was right around July 4, 
'76. It was the bicentennial celebration of 1776. 
LEHMER: Okay. So now you're with Joy. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think I'm wrong. I didn't go into 
that studio inunediately. 

Stan Mock-- By the way, do you know him? 
LEHMER: I know the name. I've heard the name. 
HEINECKEN: He and I eventually bought this building 
together. He was already on the ground floor of the 
studio, and somebody else was in the upstairs where I 
finally went. 

I think before that happened we went back to Chicago. 
I went back there with her, because whatever leave time 
she was on was over. I have to check with Joy about this, 
because she's more accurate with it. I think we went back 
to Chicago and lived there, and she went back to teaching. 
Then probably a year later we came back and went into this 
other studio. Because '76 was the first year. I think I 
was still on leave through the academic year there, and I 
went to Chicago at that point. I have that written down 
somewhere . 

LEHMER: So you set up a studio on Washington because you 
were in a transitional state, ready to do that within a 
HEINECKEN: I think. I'll get this straight. 


LEHMER: And then you ended up going back to Chicago for a 


HEINECKEN: Or maybe six months the first time or 

something like that. 

LEHMER: I was going to say that you and Joy had worked 

out an interesting cooperative arrangement where you would 

spend a couple of years on leave from UCLA and she would 

work full-time. 

HEINECKEN: Well, that actually developed a little bit 

later, I think. Initially, I know the first time that we 

did this, it wasn't two years. It was one year or 

something like that, and maybe she came out here for one 

year. But within the next three years we had established 

this two-year, back-and- forth plan. That, again, I can 

look up to be accurate. I think the point simply is that 

it was this huge destructive thing- - 

Oh, the book. I forgot about the book. So we took 
this book to Doris's. If I had lost that book I would 
have been very upset, because it's a family treasure. I 
never should have had it in that studio in the first 
place. So that was why I was telling it that way. 

Of course, people like Stan, who is living in this 
studio there — Eileen was there. Bart Parker lived down 
there someplace. They all assumed we were dead. Because 
you couldn't even get within a half a mile of this thing. 


It was just a disaster area with all the fire people. The 

fire didn't even get put out. It's just like the top of 

an oil well with this stuff burning off until they can get 

it all capped off. 

LEHMER: Incredible. Okay. I'm trying to wrap up this 

family- - 

HEINECKEN: Yes. The situation develops out of this fire 

thing. I'm pretty sure we didn't move into that studio. 

We went back to Chicago. 

This is important, too. At some point in here--I 
guess it must have been before this- -I had this 
opportunity to go to Hawaii, or I was doing an exhibition 
there and they wanted me to come over and do a workshop 
and a lecture and whatever. And I said yes, I would go. 
I think Joy was in Chicago still. I called her and said, 
"Look, you need to go to Hawaii with me." Well, she said, 
"I don't have any money." And I said, "I don't have any 
money," because I didn't. She borrowed the money from her 
grandmother or something, which was about $500, and went 
to Hawaii with me. I remember at that point we got to 
talking more seriously about what we were going to do. I 
think she was still married at that point or recently 
divorced or going to be divorced. But it was on this 
Hawaii trip where I think we had a rather serious 
discussion about what we were going to do as adults and 


possibly even discussed going back and forth. Actually, 
we said we loved each other and decided that we would try 
to figure out what to do with it. 

LEHMER: Yeah. That's a tough situation. I'm sure the 
initial thought, which would be more traditional, is that 
one of you is going to have to give up your situation if 
you love each other and you decide you want to live 
together. I think it's kind of ingenious. I don't know 
that I ever heard of people being able to create a 
situation where they actually don't give up their careers. 
HEINECKEN: Well, it could only happen if you're two 
higher-education teachers. No other teacher, like at a 
high school or whatever, could do that. And most people 
who are in business or whatever, they can't do that. 
LEHMER: I wonder how many higher-education teachers can 
do that, too, in a sense. I mean, you have to be fairly 
reputable for them to give you that leave. 
HEINECKEN: Well, maybe. You have to be more willing to 
accept the idea that you're really going to work for half 
pay. I mean, you're going to work half-time. There are 
going to be blocks of time with full pay and zero pay. 
Well, we've got two people with tenure making the decision 
to spend their time differently. It wouldn't have 
happened unless you had two artists or two similar people 
in regards to their personal work. 


LEHMER: Robert, what's the date of Hawaii approximately? 
HEINECKEN: I can tell you that, probably. It's one of 
the things that didn't show up in this book, but I think I 
wrote it in there. In fact, let's just look while we're 
thinking about it. You can shut that off. 

At some point Geoffrey gets married briefly. I don't 
know exactly what year, because it's not in here. Janet 
can figure that out. But he lives in Los Angeles. 
LEHMER: Okay. He's graduated from high school. He and 
Kathe graduate from high school in '73, approximately, or 
early seventies. Then a few years out he's married. 
HEINECKEN: Well, they're born in '55. 
LEHMER : ' Fi f ty- f i ve . 

HEINECKEN: ' Seventy -three they're out of high school, 

LEHMER: Okay. Karol graduates approximately four years 
later, '77. That's when you're in Chicago on a leave. 
She's living with Janet, and Janet is living in West L.A. 
HEINECKEN: Well, she's living here [Viretta] , actually. 
LEHMER: Oh, that's right. Okay. Karol is going to 
school at Uni[versity] High School from Viretta. She's 
another Beverly Glen-Uni High kid. Then she graduates, 
and Geoff marries. 

HEINECKEN: Somewhere in there, yeah. 
LEHMER: And you said briefly or something. 


HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, this is vague because I was 
disinvolved. I think he was married for less than a year. 
I remember the wedding. 

LEHMER: This is approximately that same time period that 
Kathe was in Venice? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, it would have been. Right. Karol ' s 
still in school or just getting out of school. 
LEHMER: Now, you said disinvolved. When you were 
separated from Janet and you were living in Culver City, 
what kind of a relationship did you have with your kids? 
I mean, time-wise did you get together with them weekly or 
monthly? Or was it more sporadic than that? What kind of 
relationship did you have with your family and Janet, too, 
at this time? 

HEINECKEN: Well, we had a plan that we would get 
together, the kids and I. They were certainly-- Kathe and 
Geoff were completely devastated by it. I don't know how 
much they knew about what was going on that Janet and I 
knew about between us. You sense things like that, but 
they certainly weren't ready for this eventuality. And 
Janet I don't think would have seen me. I would say 
disengaged, or this state of mind where your focus is not 
on what you did wrong or your devastation but you ' re 
leaving. It's on what the opportunities are now, with 
Twinka in this case, and so on. 


They, like all tragedies, they got over it. Janet 
certainly got over it, even though there was no 
reconciliation of it. But it was a resolution that they 
understood as time passed. It had to happen; there was no 
question about that. It was one of those things which I 
just did wrong. I mean, I could have done it completely 
rationally like some people do--trial separation, 
counseling, trying to figure out how to get back together. 
All of those things we never did. I don't think Janet 
would have. She was too hurt. I think luckily they were 
gone from the household, the older kids. 
LEHMER: The twins. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Because it would have been even worse. 
Karol probably took the brunt of that problem. 
LEHMER: You mentioned earlier that the kids, the twins, 
were devastated or hurt by this, but you didn't mention 
Karol. Karol 's in high school, I think, and-- 
HEINECKEN: Or just finishing, '77. 
LEHMER: It's got to be. 

HEINECKEN: We wished we'd ended it the following year, 
but — 

LEHMER: Was she more independent from the family, do you 
think? Or how do you think she responded to this? 
HEINECKEN: I haven't discussed it with them, actually. 
Maybe I will just in terms of a more full record of 


everybody's feelings. That's possible to expand that in 
some ways with them. 

Now, for instance, everybody understands what's now 
is now. I certainly understand that whatever was going on 
with Janet and me was not productive for anybody. I think 
there was a period even when I was not pleased with all 
this. I had remorse. Everybody has that. But you kind 
of move on. 

I think I am very fortunate that because of Janet ' s 
personality and her temperament we're on better terms now 
than we ever- -not ever were- -but I mean during this time 
period. So she's completely or probably pleased with what 
finally happened out of all this rather than going through 
more time, which was not a good time. I think of her as a 
good friend now. We were over there yesterday. Joy and 
she fully discussed her medical problems and whatever. 
She's empathetic to things like that. She knows what the 
inside of her operation is and so on. So it's like a 
family again in the sense of we see each other, we get 
together, we have dinners with Janet and the group. Joy 
is simply a part of that extended group. 
LEHMER: Well, on the surface it might seem that you 
didn't necessarily resolve the devastation, but it sounds 
incredibly well resolved when you think of how many 
relationships never get resolved. It's a working 


situation that I think is somewhat unique. 

The chain of events is marrying, having children, and 
the children growing up. You and Janet separate and then 
finally divorce around '80. 
HEINECKEN: ' Eighty- four . 
LEHMER : ' Eighty- four . 
HEINECKEN: I think that's it. 
LEHMER: You and Joy marry at that point. 
HEINECKEN: Nineteen eighty divorce, yeah. But '84, I 
think, is when we bought the house from her. 
LEHMER: So she lived here till '84 in the Viretta Lane 
house . 

HEINECKEN: She actually lent me about $100,000, Janet 
did. She took the mortgage on this house, and we paid her 
until that loan was paid off. That was another clear 
indication that she was trying to help us, at least 
financially, and fully understood the situation, or else 
she wouldn't have lent me the money, which I thought was 
just amazing. In fact, she called me and said that she 
had found this house that she liked and she could afford, 
and would I like to buy my half of the house. I'd always 
been asking her every once in a while, because I wanted to 
get back here, obviously. 
LEHMER: To the Viretta house. 
HEINECKEN: So she's the one who actually initiated that 


exchange. And I said, "Then lend me the money," which was 

I may have said this before, and I don't know if it's 
pertinent, but she never wanted to be married. I told you 
that whole story, I guess. Marriage was something that 
was sort of pushed on us. She dates people. It wasn't 
because our marriage failed that-- She just never was a 
person who would have needed to be married or needed to 
have children. She had her own professional goals in life 
that didn't necessarily include the conventionality of 
marriage and family and things like that. Her father 
left. She has a younger sister [Doris Storey], maybe two 
years younger. She never knew her father; he was never 
there. When the second child was born or was going to be 
born, he left. They never saw him again. Nobody ever saw 
him. She grew up with her mother and this younger sister. 
Her mother was a nurse, her grandmother was a nurse, her 
great -grandmother was a nurse, that kind of thing. 
LEHMER: You marry Joy in '84. 
HEINECKEN: I think so. 

LEHMER: Joyce Neimanas. I don't know if I mentioned it 

HEINECKEN: This is her married name from her first 
LEHMER: She kept that, like many artists do. 


HEINECKEN: Yeah, because that was the name she was known by 
professionally. Incidentally, we're good friends with these 
people who lived a couple of blocks from us in Chicago. 
LEHMER: The Neimanases. 

HEINECKEN: The Neimanases, right. I don't think she 
minds me saying this. The thing that broke them up really 
was — I don't know, certainly there were probably other 
factors, but he [John Neimanas] definitely wanted to have 
children desperately. I don't know why. His father's a 
Lutheran minister in Latvia or Lithuania and is a 
fantastic person in another right, this guy. As I 
understand it, the situation with them was that at this 
point Joy would be either out of school, beginning to 
teach, or whatever, but realizes that there's no way she 
can have the career she wants if she has children. As 
much as she might love children, there was just no way 
that she was going to do that. For a woman at that age to 
have the insight to know that that isn't something-- She 
has to make a choice there that's either you're going to 
work hard at being an artist or you're going to have to 
dilute that if you have a family. He now has four kids or 
something like that, which he's very happy with, I'm sure. 
He was also an art student and taught art in high school 
but left that. 
LEHMER: Okay. You're married in '84. At that same point 


you and Janet work out a system for you to move back into 
the Viretta house. 
HEINECKEN: Or buying it. 
LEHMER: Buying it. 

HEINECKEN: Buying my half. In the divorce settlement we 
switched from joint ownership to joint tenants or vice 
versa. As I said, I paid all the taxes and repairs and 
the stuff during that time, because it just seemed 
appropriate to do that. 

LEHMER: Now, after going through a divorce, why--? One 
last question: Why did you and Joy finally decide to get 
married after you'd both been through marriages? 
HEINECKEN: Well, that's a good question. I'm not sure. 
We certainly wouldn ' t have had to be married to have the 
same life that we had. But I think both of us agreed 
that — I certainly would feel this way now, at least, that 
with our relationship developing the way it did we had to 
do something symbolic to, I guess, solidify the idea that 
nobody's going to screw around anymore. Her list of 
people that she slept with is extensive like mine, because 
it was the time. So I think the marriage was not 
important for any legal reasons necessarily, although that 
always helps. It was a commitment to say, "Okay, we're 
going to be together until we decide not to, but we're 
going to have a life that's the two of us; no extramarital 


bullshit and all that." I think that's the way I think of 

it, and I think she would agree. 

LEHMER: Where were you married? 

HEINECKEN: In Boston. I don't know why we did it there. 

But it was because Carl [Chiarenza] was there. Carl and 

Deke Morrison were the best men or whatever. 

LEHMER: Deke from your Marine fighter days? 


LEHMER: And Carl from your teaching. 

HEINECKEN: Right. And actually we got married-- There 

was a church next to Carl's house, which I think was a 

Unitarian church or something. We did it there because it 

was close, and then we had this reception at Carl's house. 

LEHMER: And that was in '84? 

HEINECKEN: I think so. 

LEHMER: Fall? 

HEINECKEN: I don't know. 

LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: August, I think. I'll ask Joy what her 

perception of that was, because it would be interesting 

for me to hear it or know it, I guess. I don't think 

there was a long discussion about it. We had been 

together for nine years and had been in a sense married 

that long-- I mean, living together and not having any 

other activities outside of that. 


MARCH 31, 1996 

LEHMER: Today, Robert, I wanted to go over a few things. 

I wanted to back up just a bit to the beginning of your 

teaching. We've covered the start of that somewhat, but I 

had a few questions I wanted to start out with on that. 

Then that will get us rolling into teaching up to '75 or 

something like that, which is where you were pretty much 

continuously teaching, except for sabbaticals. If I'm not 

mistaken, from that point on you started doing two years 

on, two years off. 

HEINECKEN; Yeah, that's correct. 

LEHMER: Okay. First question I have, who were the 

tenured faculty at the time of your coming up for tenure? 

I think you had mentioned to me before that it was not 

simply you coming up for tenure, but the art department at 

UCLA was going to expand their curriculum to take in 

photography. Second- - 

HEINECKEN: There are two distinctions there. One-- Well, 

I talked about the undergraduate program versus the 

graduate program, because those are two different entities 

in a sense. 

LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: I interrupted you, which I shouldn't. 


LEHMER: Okay, maybe we could start out with that. Then 
the third question that I have gets into the faculty. 
First, who were the tenured faculty at that time, if you 
can think back. Secondly, who was in support of that 
expansion, because I know you had mentioned that there was 
a concerted effort. Maybe we should go into a brief 
description of the consolidation of the curriculum and the 
elimination of some directions in the art department and 
the effort to narrow the scope- -then at that moment you 
were asking them to broaden to accept photography. It was 
a lot to ask. Maybe you could back up enough to tell us 
what the struggle was in that case. But first off, who 
were the tenured faculty at that time? I've got some 
names down here. Maybe we can add to it. 

HEINECKEN: Right. Some of these people, like the younger 
ones like Elliot [J.] Elgart, maybe wouldn't be tenured at 
that point. Bill [William J.] Brice, which you have 
there, and [Jan] Stussy and [Samuel] Amato and Gordon [M. ] 
Nunes you don't have here. And I think Diebenkorn — 
LEHMER: Richard Diebenkorn. 

HEINECKEN: Richard Diebenkorn came at some point in here. 
I can't recall his direct participation in these early 
debates, because maybe he came after that, but I think 
that's really all the people that were there. You note 
they're all men, although-- Let's see. I guess I did 


mention that when I was there at first there were women 

because of-- 

LEHMER: Two, I think. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, principally two that I had studied with, 

but by this time I think they would have been gone. 

Although-- Well, I shouldn't say gone. They were probably 

there, but they were at the edge of their career, being 

ready to retire. They probably weren't involved in these 

confrontations, because I don't recall that, but they 

might have been there. Dorothy [W.] Brown, I think I 

actually worked for her while I was in school. I'm just 

not sure whether it was prior to this time. 

LEHMER: That name reminded me of Ray [Raymond B.] Brown, 

and he ' s not on the scene yet . 

HEINECKEN: Ray Brown would be a contemporary with me but 

not involved in this decision. Ray Brown's situation, I 

think, was interesting, because-- Oh, and John Paul Jones. 

I forgot Jones . 

LEHMER: Okay. And Chipper — 

HEINECKEN: And [Donald W. ] Chipperf ield, right. Although 

he was not part of this so-called pictorial arts 

department; he was in the design department. 

LEHMER: John Paul Jones was-- 

HEINECKEN: A printmaker. 

LEHMER: The year of that was 1966? 'Sixty-five, '66? 


HEINECKEN: Yeah, I would think something like that. 
LEHMER: Even though you didn't come up for tenure until 
'66, I'm sure this was beginning to take place beforehand. 
Was It a year, two years before? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Maybe this Is a good time to just kind 
of start It. I would be kind of hard-pressed to come up 
with an actual number of classes or whatever in the 
undergraduate division, although, from the time that I 
started there in 1960 there would have been courses in 
[UCLA University] Extension that I was teaching and 
actually using as a way to construct teaching ideas, even 
though these were adult people rather than students. But 
their motives and their Interests in the medium were 
pretty much the same as anybody ' s . They don ' t know 
anything about art and photography. They're interested in 
photography; they know what that is. So the point I'm 
making here is that Extension served as a basis for the 
inclusion in a regular program, because we used Extension 
that way all the time. If students weren't sufficiently 
prepared, whether it be undergraduate students or 
graduates, they would go to Extension, as I mentioned that 
I did, which was a different situation. So Extension was 
a kind of proving ground not only for students who were 
not adequately prepared but for faculty. Like all of the 
part-time faculty in painting would have come out of 


Extension first. That's where they would have started. 
Not these guys, but all of the part-time people were 
chosen based on their experience with Extension classes, 
because they could be observed, graded, evaluated, 
whatever. That's aside from the point, I guess. So let's 
just put the undergraduate thing on hold for a moment here 
until I can collect more data about that. 

It was clear that at that time I was teaching drawing 
courses-- I taught all the courses that this other guy 
had. Chipper field, which would have included beginning 
drawing classes. I'm trying to think of his courses. He 
taught these drawing courses, basic design courses. 
There's something else here I'm forgetting about. Oh, he 
was involved in what we would have thought of as practical 
work in terms of exhibitions, and he was connected to the 
[Wight Art] Gallery, also. So there were courses he would 
see as like putting together exhibitions-- 
LEHMER: Preparators? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, preparator, but not really the physical. 
But there was just stuff that he was interested in which 
were exhibition ideas-- 
LEHMER: Exhibition design? 

HEINECKEN: Design, exhibition content. He actually worked, 
I suppose, on top of everything else he did, in the 
gallery or for the gallery in their program. Somewhere I 


probably have good records on that. 

I think what we want to suggest or understand here Is 
simply that beginning in 1960, when I started, it would 
have been with those courses. Throughout that year or 
year and a half he was still thinking that he would come 
back, and then at some point he doesn't. 

By 1962 we have the first — This Ken [Kenneth] 
McGowan guy that I mentioned before, who was a painting 
student, excellent graduate student or undergraduate who 
then went into the graduate program-- But in 1962 I think 
he took his degree. What he showed in his M.A. show were 
photographs, personal photographs he had made, along with 
his drawings and paintings. I can't help but think, 
because he was such a talented guy, that-- I mean, he was 
sort of the star of that graduate period of time. If it 
would have been some other student who wasn ' t so talented 
in some of the other fields it wouldn't have had the same 
effect as he did. And he was terrific. Now, he later 
died of AIDS, which is simply a side note on him. But 
after he got out of graduate school most of his personal 
work remained in photography. That's how he got his 
exhibition record going. As gifted as he was in these 
other fields, he just sensed that photography was 
something that he wanted to do. 
LEHMER: So he died of AIDS? 


HEINECKEN: By that time he had established himself as a 

photographer. He was showing In different places and had 

publications going, was Included In group shows and things 

like that. 

LEHMER: This must have been like twenty years later. 


LEHMER: His graduate show was In '62 — 

HEINECKEN: ' Sixty- two, yeah. 

LEHMER: So It must have been like twenty years later. He 

must have been one of the first people to — 

HEINECKEN: Certainly It was Interesting, because the time 

period wasn't that someone was In or out of the closet. It 

was that he was who he was. His pictures now would 

suggest that kind of lifestyle or that kind of method, but 

no one had any problems. It wasn't an Issue. Of course, 

the AIDS thing Is always an Issue, but that was certainly 

much later. 

LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: I wish I had my records on this, because these 

things are easy to look up but hard to remember. Like who 

those guys were making the decision about this. But was 

Diebenkorn there? I don't know. Things like that. But 

that we just have to float with at this point. 

LEHMER: I think what would be good in this segment of the 

oral history is, to the best of your recollection, now — 


What I think will come out is not necessarily the cold, 
hard fact, because for all we know we might be able to go 
through-- I don't know if there were very well-kept notes 
of the art department faculty meeting, and I don't know-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, there would have been, but whether they 
survived any time period I don't know. 

LEHMER: Yeah. And then in a couple of weeks you're going 
down, and then I'm trying to get down, to Tucson. We 
could probably look up what they have there. 

What I think would be interesting on this level at 
this moment was you were trying to recall--and I put a lot 
of value in that- -who you would feel was, of that tenured 
faculty-- I think we probably pretty well figured out who 
they were. Who was really in support of that? And who 
resisted it, to the best of your recollection? And you 
probably know why they resisted it. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think I mentioned Bill Brice as a 
proponent, and I cited that not only was he a broad- 
thinking individual, his family had come out of the 
entertainment business and so on. I think he definitely 
would have been the most supportive person. I don't know 
what their discussions were about, but his discussions 
with me were always very positive about what I was trying 
to do, and I think it's simply because he was a broad- 
minded individual. 


I think Gordon Nunes would probably have been the 
most adamant detractor in this. He's an interesting 
character in all of this, because he's probably there 
longer than any of these people. He was like the 
patriarch. He was older than most of those people by at 
least five years. He pretty much ran it philosophically. 
You just didn't do something offhandedly. Or you wouldn't 
have set up a proposition to vote on that you thought you 
could win over him, because it wouldn't win. It's hard to 
explain a guy like this. He constructed the whole UCLA 
art department philosophically in some sense, which was a 
very rigid, serious business. Art was a serious business, 
and it wasn't decoration and all of the kind of things 
that fly around art. He was definitely the leader of this 
group, and he was not convinced that photography was going 
to fit into whatever he determined that department to be. 
I don't know how that was reconciled within this group, 
but I keep stressing it's not anything that was like one 
day it wasn ' t there and the next day it was . When I start 
there till when I get tenured, that's a seven-year period 
in which these things are constantly being evaluated. I'm 
pushing it, not knowing whether I'm going to be there or 
not, but it's not, bang, someone decides this. It's a 
working process where not until probably 1967 do we have 
our first graduate student graduating. Something like 


that. Even that we can look up in our notes. 

Prior to that it was this McGowan guy or Carl Cheng 
or Pat [Patrick] O'Neil, who were working mostly in other 
fields. The structure of the department at that time was 
that you could have, as I did, one artist, one historian, 
one design person was my committee. So now it's rigid. 
You have to have four people. They have to be from the 
art department and so on. It was much more flexible then, 
because no one knew what they were doing yet . I don ' t 
know what the point was there. 

LEHMER: Where would you put Elliot Elgart on this scale? 
HEINECKEN: Well, I think he's contemporary with me, or 
maybe he came a year before. 
LEHMER: He's newly tenured. 
HEINECKEN: No, he's not tenured. 
LEHMER: He's not tenured? 

HEINECKEN: No. He would have been an instructor or 
assistant professor or something. I think because of our 
similar situations he's the only person there that I ever 
became friends with, really--close, personal friends. I 
think it was because we were in the same system of being 
evaluated, although I think he was a year or so in front 
of me, because he was there when I came. All of the rest 
of them remained colleagues--some closer, some further. 
Nunes, for instance, I don't know of anybody that got 


really close to him except Ray Brown. They were sort of 
buddies. This is not a criticism, but Ray Brown got a lot 
of his attitudes, his way of behavior, his way of 
obstructing things that he didn't feel were right, from 
Gordon Nunes. That was exactly the way that he controlled 
things . 

LEHMER: You might say Gordon Nunes was his mentor. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, exactly. And they had similar 
personalities. Nunes was like that. You never quite knew 
what something was going to turn into. You needed someone 
like Gordon Nunes holding this whole thing together in 
terms of philosophy and direction. Maybe Ray saw himself 
in the same position, and he was also very effective in 
some ways as a leader. 

LEHMER: Let's back up on a couple of people. Jan Stussy 
had been there since the forties, if I remember correctly. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Brice and Stussy and Amato all came at 
the same time. They were all right out of the service, 
probably, 1946 or '47. And those three people, maybe with 
Nunes, were in fact the-- I mentioned before UCLA was 
rated one of the highest-ranking art schools in the 
country somewhere in the late fifties, and it was 
primarily because of these three or four people. They 
were the ones that were there. 

There were other people in that time period like 


Peter Voulkos-- 

LEHMER: Did he teach down here? 

HEINECKEN: You know, as a part-- Not part-time, but a 

year or two-- 

LEHMER: Visiting lecturer or-- 

HEINECKEN: It wouldn't have been that, but something like 


Fred [Frederick S.] Wight, who was the director of 
the gallery at that time, was a very well-known local 
painter, even though he was an older person, but he 
painted right up until the day he died. He was a very 
visible name in many artist circles here. 

John Paul Jones was probably the most visible 
printmaker in Los Angeles during this time period, along 
with maybe four or five other people. 

These people were important. They were young 
artists, but they were all very ambitious in terms of 
their own work and creating at UCLA basically what was 
called pictorial arts at that time. They renamed it 
because that's exactly what they wanted it to be. 
Photography doesn't fit in or outside of that, 
necessarily. They're seeing it as something you — You 
manipulate paint and manipulate whatever to make it a good 
picture, whatever they determine that to be. 
LEHMER: So they're looking at having a lot of control 


over the medium- -creating, manipulating the canvas, the 
paint, the print, the ink — 
HEINECKEN: But see, it's — 

LEHMER: --where a straight photograph would not fit into 
that. Where all you're doing is click and turn. 
HEINECKEN: No, I wouldn't say that, but that's an 
interesting question, because I think in a lot of people's 
minds — You can certainly say Edward Weston to these 
people, and they would say, "Yes, this is an artist." His 
photographs, of course, are not manipulated, but they 
certainly recognize that the quality of his own work is a 
contribution to the idea of art in photography. So I'm 
not sure that that would have been the case. 

Stussy, I think, made montage photographs either 
during this time or before. His inclination towards 
photography was the collage or montage, that type of 

LEHMER: So he would probably be on the side that would be 
supportive? He'd be on Bill Brice's side of-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. When I was first in school I took 
courses with Stussy, and I got to know him. For some 
reason he remembered me, and he was always telling me I 
was a bad-- Not a bad student, but not a good student of 
anatomical drawings. It might have been one of the 
courses I flunked, I'm not sure. He was a stickler for 


that anatomy stuff. That, of course, is all gone now. In 
fact, he gave it up. But you knew every bone in the body, 
and you drew it endlessly from skeletons and whatever. 
LEHMER: And Sam Amato, I think of him as a serious 
painter. Now, the reason I'm asking this is that if we 
look ahead from this point, you've definitely made some 
nationally recognized contributions to photography 
education, and you, I'm sure, have won over a lot of the 
faculty. I think you contributed to the conversion of a 
lot of people as to the credibility of photography. But 
at this moment it's new, and you're trying to educate 
them. You're trying to justify the medium. You're trying 
to explore something that's new. I'm not trying to set up 
a situation where there's good guys and bad guys, but it's 
a situation where there's at least two things that you've 
mentioned that could contribute to the resistance of 
photography. One, of course, which I think is interesting 
and that we should explore more, is, does it fall into 
that category of pictorial arts? The other is-- And now 
I'm forgetting what my point was, but there are various 
reasons. It's new at that point, and-- 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, and it's not maybe dissimilar from other 
institutions at the same time beginning to have the same 
inclinations. I think UCLA was different, with such a 
strong painting art department that it probably took 


longer, in a sense, to get something really going there 
than it would have in San Francisco State [University] , 
where you have the same thing going on. Jack [W.] Welpott 
is starting a program there, not a graduate program at 
that point. And the [San Francisco] Art Institute there 
had photographic programs from Minor White and Ansel 

The difference here is I don't think there would have 
been any question--and maybe there wasn't really any 
question in their minds- -about whether photography could 
be an undergraduate course. Anybody would think if you're 
going to be a painter, or whatever you're going to be, you 
are going to use photographs in some way, because 
everybody does for models and even for stupid things like 
documentation. You have to know that in order to really 
be an effective artist of any type. You have to know 
something about it . 

And maybe it ' s not the easiest thing to convince 
anybody of, but one of the more simple things is that you 
put that camera up to your head, and you make a photograph 
of that, and you make a print of that, a black-and-white 
print, and you realize you can print it any way that you 
want. It's not like seeing it. And we all know that; 
that's the simplest thing there is about it. You make a 
snapshot of your kids or whatever. You sense the 


difference between the event and the realistic 
representation of that or the facade of that event. And 
to make that distinction for a student artist is 
important. Not that the photograph matters so much, but 
there is something that is different. 

So I think any mature artist in any medium during 
this time period would certainly understand that if you're 
educating someone you certainly can ' t leave out 
photography. But whether that becomes a viable vehicle 
for personal expression as they would want it was 
questionable . 

LEHMER: In other words, whether you — 

HEINECKEN: I mean, it's almost like saying you want to 
know how to photograph and know about it so that you can 
reject it in favor of the manual methods. In other words, 
it's to understand the difference so that you don't even 
have to go through the problem of how to make it into art. 
It's just what it is. It's just an important medium that 
any person should know about that's going to be an artist, 
or be an educated artist. 

What I was trying to say about the undergraduate 
program was it was really being supported by that idea 
that it's not whether undergraduate students or Extension 
students make art or not. They're involved in something, 
and there's a definite sequence of things that you learn 


about making photographs that can be taught . And it ' s 
valuable. That was never a problem, never a question. 
Whether this became part of the undergraduate curriculum, 
which is different than having a course, and certainly 
whether it became part of the graduate program, that was 
the issue. Whether you would actually take students in 
not just because they understood photography and how to do 
it or not do it, but they would use it to be artists. 
That was the big question. It still is a big question, I 
think, for some people. 

LEHMER: You may have been on committees, graduate 
committees, but you did not have a graduate with an 
emphasis in photography until '67 or '68 or '69-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, for that we have to look at the — 
LEHMER: What you're leading to is that UCLA did not have 
a graduate program until you were tenured. And UCLA 
didn't really have photography as part of the curriculum 
that you're discussing until you are tenured. 
HEINECKEN: I think that's correct. That's something we 
should look at, definitely. 

LEHMER: Most of the time I think of people coming up for 
tenure based on their qualifications as a faculty member, 
based on the teaching, research- - 

HEINECKEN: And their promise as an artist. Yeah. But 
all these people were functioning artists. It wasn't 


about what you sold or even if you exhibited. You had to 

have the lifestyle that these people represented. It's 

not unique to UCLA. 

LEHMER: No. But you've got another roadblock that you 

have to circumvent, and not necessarily circumvent but 

tear down, and that is the whole idea that your career is 

also based on whether or not they accept photography into 

the curriculum. 

HEINECKEN: On a graduate level. 

LEHMER: On a graduate level. 

HEINECKEN: As it now is. I mean, now it's just a unit 

more or less equal to anything else as opposed to 

something where you-- As I said, the first students 

really- -McGowan was one, Pat O'Neil was another, and Carl 

Cheng — very skilled and very highly developed in other 

fields like sculpture and painting. Pat O'Neil was still 

in the design department or something but doing 

experimental films which were right up there with the best 

being made in the city. 

LEHMER: So he's well respected for — 

HEINECKEN: You wouldn't say those people were given an 

M.A. degree or even an M.F.A. later on the basis that they 

were-- Well, they were filmmakers, they were sculptors, 

whatever, but — I'm just reminiscing — that seems okay. The 

film is obviously something, and experimental films at 


that time were a very big thing at UCLA in the film 
department, so we understood all that. Not to bring up 
McGowan again, but it's like all of these early people, 
whether they were in the photography graduate program or 
not, were viewed as being as good as young artists as 
anybody else was, whether they were painting or not. 
LEHMER: Where do you think Sam Amato fell on this 

HEINECKEN: I think Sam probably was, as he is today, a 
modulator kind of guy. He's not ever going to raise his 
voice at anything, or rarely. He's a-- What's the word I 

LEHMER: Consensus- - 

HEINECKEN: Well, he's a mediator. And I don't think he 
ever likes-- Like Gordon Nunes would sit down and want to 
argue with you for an hour and a half. Sam would never do 
anything like that. It just wasn't worth his time, or it 
wasn't that interesting. So I think he was probably 
someone who was understanding of the whole thing and 
probably was helpful in it. I can't imagine that he was 
resisting it, because it wasn't his nature to resist much. 
LEHMER: And then Richard Diebenkorn was there. He might 
have taken part, but he wasn't like a voting member. 
HEINECKEN: There's a whole other story about him which we 
don ' t need to go into here . I'm not even sure he was 


there during this time period. At some point he was a 
good friend of Bill Brice's. They were friends before any 
of this. And it was largely at Bill's, I think — 
Actually, getting Diebenkorn even to consent to be 
teaching- -because he wasn't that famous at that point, but 
he knew that he would be- -was really a-- He sort of 
consented to do this work. He was full-time, but it 
wasn't like he was there all the time. 

There was the other story I'll tell you later. I 
think it was probably after this time period. We'll see 
where the dates fall here, because we have to look that 
up, but at some point you have the first person--I'm going 
to have to look and see who that might be- -who is not a 
well-rounded graduate student but is there to make 
photographs and is convincing in what he or she does and 
has that-- It's an M.A. or M.F.A. in photography. That's 
what we don't know. I have to look and see who that is, 
because there will be a time associated with that. 
LEHMER: And I'm wondering if William Doherty would fall 
into that? 

HEINECKEN: Doherty wasn't — He was also — 
LEHMER: A filmmaker. 

HEINECKEN: — a filmmaker, right. His photographs were so 
demanding of him that he gave up filmmaking. He switched 
that moment when he first saw what that could be. If he 


wouldn't have killed himself he would have been-- He 
wouldn't have been [Garry] Winogrand, but he would have 
been someone like that. He was so intense about 
everything he did. I don't know what happened to him, why 
he did it. 

LEHMER: Okay. I want to get this on the record but not 
go into it at this moment. I want us to think about down 
the road. As a tenured faculty member you're facing the 
same decision with someone else who faced it with you, and 
I'm thinking of new genres and Chris Burden. I think 
that's important for us to discuss too, because this is 
part of your career as a faculty member. 

HEINECKEN: I forgot one thing. Oliver [W.] Andrews was a 
sculptor in this, which I forgot, and he was very 
LEHMER: Andrews? 
HEINECKEN: Andrews, right. 
LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: This is not so important, but sculpture at 
that time was not a major force at this program. So I 
think Oliver and I always — We weren't close friends, but 
we were like the outsiders in a sense. When certain votes 
would come up about this or that, we would discuss how we 
would vote, because we represented the non-painting 
faculty, which is always interesting to me, that he — 


LEHMER: Robert, what I've learned that I never really 
understood and obviously still don't have a full grasp of, 
but I have begun to respect since I've been at UCLA, is 
this relationship that you have with other tenured 
faculty. In a sense you're in bed with them for thirty 
years on a certain level. You have to coexist. I'm 
wondering if you could go into that, as an artist and as a 
faculty member what it was like in the art department. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Let me just think of something here. 
Well, one thing which I keep mentioning, and I'm thinking 
that I'm not clarifying it much, but 1960 starts either 
the first M.F.A. degree given or is when that program 
starts as opposed to the M.A. degree. Every art -related 
teaching unit within what was then the College of Applied 
Arts in the university is figuring out how to respond. 
Home economics was part of it, all of the things that are 
still part of — Music, dance, whatever, although dance 
probably wasn't developed much at that point — maybe, I 
don't know. The point is that in the spirit of re- 
evaluating what kind of educational divisions you will 
make within the newly formed College of Fine Arts — Right? 
So I don't know what happened exactly in the music and 
theater and the other departments, but in the art 
department the first thing that was dropped was art 
education completely out of the university. So all those 


people who had those jobs, bang, they're gone or they're 
given notice. We had silversmithing. These were all 
within the-- I guess at that time it was called the 
Department of Art History. 

The ceramics program, which was a big program under 
Laura [F.] Andreson. Students would come from all over 
the world to study with this woman. 
LEHMER: What was her name? 

HEINECKEN: Laura Andreson. She was probably the most 
well-known ceramicist in Southern California. And it was 
her program. She was older. I actually took courses, or 
took a course, with her when I was there as a student. 
Ceramics remained, but for some reason she was gone, the 
program was cut. Ceramics was probably half of the design 
department. She had all kinds of famous people in there 
all the time in one of the largest teaching areas. But 
that got cut back severely. 

LEHMER: Was it that time that she was there that Peter 
Voulkos came in? Or later? 

HEINECKEN: I would think later, but I'm not sure. She 
was a pure ceramicist. She made these vases that were 
just beautiful, and glazes were her whole thing. She was 
famous for this. But it's one of the things that got cut 
or redefined. 

So the thing is, how are we going to redesign the art 


department in terms of what's no longer there? I think 

pictorial arts was what the name of painting people was. 

Design was split off, which part of that time it wasn't, 

into the Department of Design. Art history separated 

later, in a sense, into their own unit. So there were 

three teaching units in the Department of Art during this 

time period after 1960. 

LEHMER: So it's been there for quite a while, because 

that was up until three-quarters of the way through the 

eighties. Because when I came in in '86, art history and 

design were all in one department [Department of Art, 

Design, and Art History] . 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, that was — Maybe it was later. 

But you see, art education would have been another 

division in there which was gone completely. There are 

other things that are escaping me at the moment — courses, 

not necessarily programs- -that simply were deemed not part 

of what the College of Fine Arts was to be. 

LEHMER: So in 1960 you redefined the curriculum and you 

narrowed it to pictorial arts. Or is that a term that 

maybe was dropped? 

HEINECKEN: No, I think — 

LEHMER: When did it become fine arts? 

HEINECKEN: Well, let me just stop here a minute. College 

of Fine Arts — When you said fine arts it struck a thing. 


This was a big decision to make on the part of the 
university, because what it meant was that there was 
something called fine arts that they were going to teach. 
And associated with all of these changes was the 
introduction of graduate degrees in things like dance, 
musicology, and whatever else. Film, for instance. Then 
it was a department of film, theater, and television, or 
something like that [Department of Theater Arts], as 
opposed to now it's cleaned up into whatever else. So you 
cannot ever not consider what the university was doing-- 
UCLA--what the UC [University of California] system was 
doing. This is when [University of California] Santa Cruz 
is someplace in here, which was set up as an alternative 
kind of university. You've got [University of California] 
Riverside becoming something. In other words, it was sort 
of the glory days, I would say — 1960, 1970 — before all the 
money got to be a problem. So it's a restructuring of 
the — This is important, although it may not seem to be. 
This is when the Master Plan [for Higher Education in the 
State of California, 1960-1975] is invented. The master 
plan designates that [University of California] Berkeley 
and UCLA would have graduate programs. Nobody else would 
have graduate programs. 
LEHMER: In art. 
HEINECKEN: Anything. This is the plan. All of the other 


UC campuses are somewhere between Berkeley, UCLA, and the 
next level. They have certain programs, but Ph.D.'s are 
basically what they don't have. 

Then the state college systems were set up to feed 
into the graduate programs in the UC system. The junior 
colleges were to develop the first two years of education 
in California. It was a system by which the lowest level, 
community college, would still be vocational but would 
give you the first two years, and you could get into any 
state university--not into the University of California. 


MARCH 31, 1996 

LEHMER: So the defining of the role of the community 
college, which would feed into both the state — 
HEINECKEN: Then-called state colleges. 
LEHMER: State colleges — But also the UC system? 
HEINECKEN: Well, there was no-- [University of 
California] Irvine wasn't there. Santa Cruz, maybe, is 
later. Riverside is an agricultural division that's 
really called an experimental station before it was a 
university. So these things are all happening. The seeds 
of all this are happening during this time, at which point 
everything happens. But definitely UCLA and Berkeley were 
going to give the advanced degrees. The state colleges 
would have no graduate programs. Now they all do. So 
this plan, whatever it was, got altered by the money, by 
the change of attitude, or too many people, or who knows. 
They modified it. In the United States higher educational 
system this master plan for the university and the arts 
within that was the biggest thing that happened in 
education. A lot of states immediately began to follow 
this thing where you'd have the junior college, the state 
college, university, because it made sense. 
LEHMER: All right. I want to go back and briefly touch 



HEINECKEN: So all of this master plan stuff affects 
everybody in the university from the ground level up in 
redefining. It's because of the redefinition and the 
Utopian view of what this could become, where all of this 
stuff is allowed to happen, and some things are not 
allowed to happen, like art education. So it was kind of 
a big housecleaning . 

Painting — and I don't argue with this--is, or 
certainly at that time was, the most flexible medium in 
which a lot of things could happen. And drawing was the 
basis of painting. I don't think that's changed 
necessarily; I think that's still the way it is. Although 
things like videotape, performance, new genre, whatever 
you want to call that-- The absolute change in filmmaking 
and in photography really, all those broadening effects, 
are because of what schools like UCLA did. They did it 
right, I think. 

It doesn ' t ever change the idea in anybody ' s mind . 
If on an airplane they say, "What do you do?" you say, "An 
artist." "Well, what do you paint?" I mean, that's just 

LEHMER: Yeah. And if you say you're a photographer they 
don't understand, either. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Or if you said, "I work in new genre," 


they — "Wow. Swell. What's that?" 

LEHMER: So you got your — 

HEINECKEN: And let me finish something there I forgot. 

Now what we have in 1990-whatever, you have new genre, 

which includes video, you have-- 

LEHMER: And performance. 

HEINECKEN: And performance. You have sculpture as a 

separate entity but obviously very much inclined towards 

new genre thinking. You have others, like photography. 

What else do you have? Printmaking in some ways was still 

there, but reduced. All of which point to a distribution 

of money and faculty to the divisions of painting and 

drawing, which now still, as I understand it, would be 

twice as much money, twice as much faculty, twice as much 

space as any of these so-called equal things. Obviously 

it was a good device to double the-- 

LEHMER: The budget? 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah, and double the graduate students, 

double the undergraduate courses to provide for what 

probably still is thought of as the most important unit 

within the art department. And maybe it is. I mean, I 

could say it is. 

LEHMER: Something that I have observed is the number of 

applicants received — I think photography was down to like 

twenty-one, twenty- three, something like that. I thought, 


well, maybe that's because we were in transition from your 
retirement. But I also heard that the numbers were low 
on, like, sculpture. And there we have an internationally 
renowned, highly visible person at this moment, Charlie 
Ray. And Nancy Rubens. 

HEINECKEN: And Paul [McCarthy]. Well, Paul's not in 
sculpture per se. 

LEHMER: But I think we had well over a hundred painting 
applicants, and so in a sense what you're saying is not-- 
The applicants are not strictly a representation of the 
visibility of the faculty, which one might think would be 
possible. What also seems to be even more important is 
what you're alluding to, and that's the power and the 
strength of the tradition of painting and drawing. 
HEINECKEN: I don't think it's necessarily that much 
different in any other university, that things would fall 
differently, but the thing is the principle is there. 
LEHMER: There's a question that I want to get discussed, 
and that is that by not being part of the painting or 
drawing faculty you are supposedly a contemporary, an 
associate, and yet represent somewhat of a minority in 
thought in some ways. I don't know exactly the right 
term. How did you delicately work with faculty who might 
vote differently from you in meetings? I think of you as 
someone who has shown great skill in being able to coexist 


with very diverse people and their philosophies. 
HEINECKEN: Okay. Well, my situation or UCLA's situation 
maybe isn't that different from maybe the English 
department at UCLA, which has completely changed itself 
from one thing to another with the postmodernist kind of 
thing. I'm just saying that it's probably happening to 
some degree similarly all over this country, which I think 
is interesting, with certain things emerging. 

Like a place like Irvine. If you go to Irvine to do 
graduate work in photography, you're going there because 
of that faculty and the program and the clear emphasis 
which is there. 

If, on the other hand, you-- [University of 
California] San Diego has emerged because of the faculty. 
Political photographs basically is what they make, which 
is fine. I may not know enough about it to speak this 
way, but generally, you can see this. 

Riverside has no graduate program at this point. 
What you have there is the [California] Museum of 
Photography associated with that place. I guess maybe you 
have better historical or philosophical ideas developing 
for those undergraduate students because of that museum 
and because of what seems to be a critically focused 
faculty. Not John [Divola], but the historians. 
LEHMER: That's right. 


HEINECKEN: On the other hand, UCLA, with the art history 
department moving to the history department, there was 
nobody on that faculty interested in contemporary art, 
video, whatever. They wouldn't hire anybody who would 
ever teach that permanently. It wasn't a big blow to us 
that they left. In a sense it might be more so to the 
painting people, because they were teaching the whole 
history of art, which painters need. 

Anyway, it's the political shifts of this. Berkeley, 
for instance, still has never developed their graduate 
program in art. They have it, but you never see anybody 
coming out of there, and you never know anything about it. 
LEHMER: That's true. They've elected to go a certain 
direction or moved into a certain direction. How would 
you define Berkeley versus UCLA as far as their art 

HEINECKEN: I really don't know much about it, but it's 
simply not visible. There isn't anything to know about, 
as far as I can tell. 

LEHMER: Did you ever have any intercampus meetings or 

HEINECKEN: We did, actually, yeah. Mostly they turned 
into kind of drunken arguments when it became social-- We 
had one in this house once. Some people that I'd never 
seen before in my life stayed three days. 


But look at [University of California] Davis. Davis 
has, or did have, and still-- If you're going to study art 
in the University of California in Northern California, 
you go to Davis. You don't go to Berkeley. 
LEHMER: People from San Francisco State [University] 
ended up at Davis. Faculty-wise there was a connection — 
HEINECKEN: Well, and San Francisco State probably has a 
better art department than Berkeley. 
LEHMER: I've heard that. 

HEINECKEN: But Berkeley is not-- I suppose when all the 
people that are still associated with it who should be 
dead by now are dead, then maybe they could just stop it 
or something. They have the architecture school. They 
have no art department. I think it's all sort of --or 
photography is certainly- -funneled through the 
architecture department still. 

LEHMER: Well, do you think their art history is where 
their emphasis went historically or critically? In other 
words, how would you define Berkeley versus UCLA? I'm 
thinking there's a studio direction, or a theoretical, 
critical direction, or — 
HEINECKEN: Well, for those of us-- 
LEHMER: Or even a draft direction- - 

HEINECKEN: It's kind of a joke, but, I mean, you can't 
compare — I mean, UCLA has got a football and basketball 


team. Berkeley has the intelligence. They're the 
intellectuals. Nobody at UCLA that would-- This is 
bullshit, kind of, but I never compared the two. If you 
look at the list of the ten best universities in the 
country, Berkeley is number two. UCLA doesn't make that 
list, I don't think. It's just not an important 
university in that sense. It's like the difference 
between Los Angeles and San Francisco somehow. We have a 
population here, we're supporting twenty or thirty 
universities in Southern California. Above Santa Barbara 
you've got like four or something. You go to Berkeley, 
you take a Ph.D. in history or something, you have 
something. I'm not saying UCLA doesn't, but Berkeley is 
Berkeley. It was first. It's still first. 
LEHMER: You're saying that the state of California 
whether intentionally or by default, that art was not 
fostered in the most serious institution. 

HEINECKEN: Well, no one has room to do everything, right? 
You have places like Harvard [University] , Yale 
[University] . They have photography courses, but you 
don't go to school there to study it. It's for the 
undergraduates to learn about it. 
LEHMER: Exposure. 

HEINECKEN: You know, get their hands wet in something. 
It's terrific, but Yale and Harvard, they have the 


museiims. Berkeley's museum, not much there. 

I don't know how important all this is, but there's a 
bigger picture than I'm able to describe here. I'm just 
sitting in the bottom level of all this, but there's an 
education-- For instance, when the student riots happened, 
UCLA had a little bit. We had a few helicopters and the 
National Guard, but Berkeley came apart. 
LEHMER. Right. 

HEINECKEN: They were the ones. Santa Cruz didn't even 
know what happened. 

So it's a very interesting system that began with 
this master plan, and then it simply lost track of that 
and modified it in ways that are probably very effective. 

At some point in here you can take [California State 
University] Fullerton, and now I think probably other 
places have the M.F.A. degree. Wouldn't you rather go to 
Fullerton, where it costs half as much, have a studio, or 
have facilities, and study photography rather than UCLA? 
It's an equal program, the degree is equal. If they 
didn't get the M.F.A. , they had the M.A., then people 
would have to go to UCLA to get the highest degree. Well, 
somebody figured out that these state universities should 
be able to give those degrees. There are enough students 

for it. 

LEHMER: All right. Now, what I want to get into in the 


last section of today- - 

HEINECKEN: We're all over the place today. 
LEHMER: — would be your decisions, your choices, your 
evolution of curriculum within photography. We can bring 
it back down to, how did you teach photography? How did 
you structure your course? Did you actually have a 
conscious structure? Or did you let it just kind of flow? 
How much emphasis did you have on the classroom, the 
discussion of the work, versus the darkroom or the studio? 
How did you start out? And how did you finally level out 
into a curriculum? 

HEINECKEN: A couple of things come to mind. One is that 
there's a, I suppose, curricular idea which goes 
undescribed in any field, and the content of the 
curriculum is dependent upon each individual instructor. 
So you might have someone like Paul McCarthy working next 
to who knows-- But Paul McCarthy is an absolute individual 
in what he does and the way he teaches and so on. I 
shouldn't put it there; I should put it in photography. 
So a person like Mark [Alice] Durant, or even Mark McFad- 
den, very strong theoretic base. In Mark [McFadden]'s 
case, a failure to bring whatever wonderful intelligence 
he had to what he knew all the time was a necessity to 
make pictures that at least you could look at, at least 
they'd be exhibitable. He failed to do that, so that was 


a big blow, actually, to me, because I thought he would 
come through and do it. It was my fault. That was a very 
bad choice on my part, because he took a lot of the space 
for a long period of time there without ever fulfilling 
what he knew he was supposed to do. He was a very 
effective teacher. All the students that worked with him 
got stuff that they'd never get from me or anybody else. 
I mean, he had particular kinds of insight that he 
brought. I think his interest was probably not so much in 
the pictures they made as much as the basis on which they 
would make them or the theory behind all of that. So he 
was excellent that way. I know no student that ever took 
him seriously who was not absolutely committed to what he 
was as a teacher. He was very good. But wrong time, 
wrong place. How did I get on that? I don't know. 

But you can't say exactly what the curriculum is if 
you have someone-- Like for one year, two years, [Robert] 
Fichter and I taught together. We were the faculty. 
LEHMER: Robert Fichter? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. So that people who did either 
undergraduate or graduate work during that time period 
probably got a hard push of iconoclastic stuff from 
Fichter and using offset and a completely different kind 
of thing than when Winogrand would have been there or 
[Lee] Friedlander. If you look at the whole long picture 


you have a kind of balance. At any given point you can 
look in there and see, well, if you got [Edmund] Teske 
teaching, you know what's going to happen there. Or if 
you have, well-- 
LEHMER: Michael Bishop. 

HEINECKEN: Michael Bishop, yeah, or any of these people. 
They're all people who either were beginning to be well- 
known as artists and as teachers or who were well known- - 
people like Winogrand or Friedlander, which were just one- 
shot things . 

LEHMER: What you're saying is that-- 

HEINECKEN: So back to my own thing. What I would try to 
do with an undergraduate class was conform, to some 
extent, to this idea which I discussed earlier about when 
you make the photograph you learn something about the 
difference from what the photograph is to whatever else 
there is, drawing or reality or whatever. I was always 
very interested in having people understand that. If they 
never understood anything else, that it was not a passive 
tool, not a mechanical tool — or it is, but it's not — 
Because it's like eyeglasses. They're not mechanical, but 
you see things differently when you wear them if you need 
them or you don't. They're not neutral; they do 
something. Or a hearing aid or whatever. This is not the 
right analogy. 


So anyway, that idea was always something that on an 
undergraduate level I would think of as a primary idea, 
that this is different. You don't expect undergraduate 
students in any course to become artists. That's not why 
they're there. They're there to see, in this case, how 
making art with photography is different than making art 
with painting and sculptures and so on. The balance 
between what an undergraduate student has should allow 
that person to have formed an effective, practiced notion 
about how these things work; a history, to some extent, of 
each of these media, which in our case we had to provide 
rather than the art history people providing; and a sense 
that art can be made, and it's hard to make art. It's 
work. It takes time. You have to think about it. I 
mean, you have to do something, and, in fact, it can be 
made. You can make something that you weren't capable of 
making ten weeks earlier and so on. 

I never actually taught lower division courses, 
because that started after I left. I would have liked to 
have done that, because I think that was the place to 
start people with these ideas rather than upper division. 

Try to identify within a period of four years or two 
years where are the people who are your students who can 
actually compete for graduate school with other students 
from outside or who can compete if they go to another 


graduate program, if they can't get into UCLA-- That's 
maybe--what?--two, three people a year? Where you really 
can say, "Well, you've got something. You may not 
understand it, but trust me, you need to go further with 
this. Not necessarily UCLA, but somewhere." So what I'm 
getting at is the other 97 percent or whatever are simply 
taking another course in studio art--a different medium, a 
different set of tools, a different set of principles, 
whatever. But it's basically, in my view, that at a 
university like that, you major in art, you take twenty 
courses out of two hundred or something in that major. 
You're really getting a whole different education than 
what you major in. It's a much more practical set of 
things that you learn about than art could ever teach you-- 
except art history, which is good. 

I think, incidentally, a lot of the time for all 
people teaching in this which could have gone to teaching 
photography and whatever went to teaching art history or 
photography history, which is a shame, because you can't 
get that-- I mean, you can make people read, and we had a 
wonderful library — which was my library, which I lent out, 
basically — but you can't get the history of this medium 
that way. You have to have somebody organizing it for you 
and presenting it, people like myself or Mark [McFadden] 
or even Mark Durant, who are amateurs at this. But you're 


trying to allow them to see that they are not sitting in a 
vacuum. Albeit a short history, you are in a history of 
people who have made photography what it is. It goes back 
far enough that you can relate it to other countries and 
other time periods and impressionism and all kinds of 

I spoke to the art history faculty numerous times 
about this, and they knew that they were deficient in 
this, but it was too recent for them. That's not an 
excuse, that's just saying, "Look, we're still trying to 
get people to cover Egyptology here and the Renaissance 
before we even get to film or photography." That's just 
the way it is. Or even contemporary painting. There are 
surveys of contemporary painting but no scholars on that 
faculty working on it. Maybe Al [Albert] Boime is an 
exception. That's aside from the fact, I guess. 

Is that a clear answer about what I'm trying to do 
with undergraduates? 

LEHMER: It gives us an idea of, philosophically, how you 
made decisions. It sounds to me like this begins to make 
it more understandable as to the importance of and your 
conscious choices in faculty who worked with you or came 
in and worked in the program that you had elected to bring 
in, and that list is impressive. You were capable of 
convincing and arranging to have some of the best artists 


in the country come in and work in this program. When I 

look at the faculty list of people who have taught here 

while you were here as visiting faculty, it's a very 

impressive list. 


LEHMER: Maybe we could list some of them. It would be 

Edmund Teske, Robert Fichter-- I'm thinking we should get 

these down on tape. 

HEINECKEN: Lee Friedlander. 

LEHMER: Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Michael Bishop, 

Jerry McMillan. 

HEINECKEN: And Winogrand is in there. Well, he's later, 

I guess, in this list, but-- 

LEHMER: Robert Cumming, Carl Chiarenza, Bea Nettles, Bill 

[William] Larson, Henry Holmes Smith, Anne Tucker, Todd 


HEINECKEN: That last group was at some special summer 

symposium. Are those the end of this? 

LEHMER: Judith Golden, Bart Parker. It's an incredible 


HEINECKEN: And John Divola. 

LEHMER: John Divola. 

HEINECKEN: Judith Golden starts at UCLA. Karen Truax, 

Mark McFadden, Ken [Kenneth] Josephson, Garry Winogrand, 

Barbara Jo Revelle, Lee [Leland] Rice, again, John Divola, 


George Legrady, and Chris Enos. That's up till 1984. 
LEHMER: And now we have people like Mark Durant and 
Kaucyila Brooke and — 

HEINECKEN: Connie [Constance J.] Samaras-- 
LEHMER: Connie Samaras and Judy [Judith Anne] Fiskin and 
Joyce Neimanas. I'm sure we've left some people out. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. The other thing that comes to mind in 
relation to this is that because of photography being a 
small unit within this, as were sculpture, new forms, 
whatever, there's never more than two full-time people 
there all through all those years, as opposed to the 
painting, drawing, printmaking component in later years 
with Ray Brown, which would have been half of the faculty 
in those things, or more. So what I'm saying is that none 
of these people other than myself, probably, and Mark 
McFadden and later Mark Durant had any continuum in the 
thing. Most of these people are in and out of there, 
obviously, for shorter periods of time. Robert Fichter 
would have been the other one who was there a long enough 
time to make an effect. There was never a possibility of 
broadening the number of courses or faculty to start to 
cover other areas that would have been — I mean, if you 
had had someone like Nathan Lyons in here, for instance, 
for a year, you'd have another thing entirely, which would 
have been very valuable. But there was never that 


opportunity, even in any three-year period, which had been 
a graduate student's period of time, to build any 
comprehensive kind of faculty. Maybe by that time you 
don't need a faculty that much, anyway. You're looking 
for faculty comments and assistance and whatever, but — 

I forget who it was, but somebody, whom I can't 
necessarily identify, afterwards we were talking and 
saying, "What was the most valuable experience you had 
with Winogrand?" I think it was [Robert] Flick who said 
this. "Because he absolutely rejected everything that I 
did or made, and it was a valuable lesson to learn." It 
wasn't somebody telling him what to do; he was telling him 
what not to do. So that, in his view, was as positive a 
way of having a faculty relationship as any other one. 
LEHMER: That's interesting. Let's try to explore a 
little more in detail the way you set up your specific 
courses on the undergraduate level. Your intent, as 
you've described, is to expose these people to the 
potentials of this medium, and you're talking about a 
comparison. You're always reminding them, or you're 
consciously trying to remind them, of the comparison of 
photography to other mediums- -how they compare, their 
uniquenesses, their strong points. But in the actual 
structure of your teaching you have to get them operating 
within the program. There's got to be some technical 


exposure, training. There's got to be a discussion, 
critique, of the results. There's got to be some final 
projects. Can you just explore those? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Something comes to mind here which I 
think is not necessarily unique to me, but in any 
undergraduate class, especially in the beginning class, I 
try to explain the problem of grading this kind of 
material. It's not something you can be tested on. And 
the university runs basically on a system of testing and 
rating people and graduating some and not graduating 
others. As I said, you can't do that here or in any of 
these courses that you'll take here. It's a different 
thing. So I would lay out a series of general assignments 
around some idea that everybody would do throughout the 
ten weeks. 

LEHMER: What were some of those general assignments? Can 
you think of a couple offhand? 

HEINECKEN: Bring that up again. But the point I'm making 
here is that I say, "If you do all of these assignments on 
time, and you're working at it, then you'll get a passing 
grade. Automatically. No failures. This passing grade 
is a 'D.'" Then their jaws dropped. Nobody wants a "D." 
And I said, "If you do all of these exercises and you show 
up all the time and you participate in whatever it is that 
we're doing and these problems are done in my judgment or 


in the TA [teaching assistant] 's judgment in a superior 
kind of way, then you get a 'C, ' which is a perfectly 
good, average grade. Nobody gets an 'A' out of this 
course unless you really do something outstanding, which 
is what 'A' means." So I don't give "A"'s, whereas--and 
this is not a negative comment- -the grade point average of 
art students is rarely below 3.8 or something like that. 
Most people think--and I could agree with this--that there 
isn't any reason to grade these people anyway. But if 
you're going to have to grade them, you might as well give 
them "A"'s and "B"'s and not sweat it, not worry about 
making those other distinctions, which I personally don't 
agree with, but I-- 

So that ' s a condition I think everybody understood 
right from the beginning, that probably there's going to 
be one or two ''A"'s out of these twenty people or fifteen 
people, no more. How could there be? If you simply don't 
show up or don't participate, then you will not pass the 
course. This is not a course that's impossible to fail. 
I would take a kind of hard-nosed, drill sergeant kind of 
approach to them. I'd say, "This is the way it is. If 
it's not something you want, then don't be here." 
LEHMER: Okay. You've discussed the grading situation, 
and you-- 
HEINECKEN: And their participation. 


LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: "The studio room and the darkrooms are open at 
these hours, and you will need x dollars to do this, and 
you will need this much time to do the work that you're 
being asked to do. If you can't do that, then you won't 
pass. " 

LEHMER: Okay. At the beginning, part of your curriculum 
is to try to lay out a clear picture of what is expected. 
Then you go into teaching some fundamentals so that as 
soon as possible they can get self-sufficient in the 

HEINECKEN: Well, my whole thing really — I hadn't thought 
of it until just now, but I always had the TA's do the 
technical stuff, to get the film and the camera, because 
it ' s not something I ' m interested in nor did I know as 
much, really, as a competent graduate student would know 
about that. But the printing I always liked to do, 
because that's where it is for me. All the things are 
going to happen in there, and that's just amazing to 
people who all their lives have been sending something to 
the drugstore and getting it back in a fixed way and 
mostly in color. They don't have any idea about that 
until you get them in there doing it. I love the 
darkroom. You know, it's like magic stuff goes on. You 
could take any negative that anybody makes and make ten 


different pictures from it, all equally interesting, and 
each completely related but different. 

LEHMER: If I were teaching a class, one thought I had on 
this whole idea of exploring the subjectivity of 
interpretation would be to take our slide duplicating 
machine, and instead of duplicating slides you would 
duplicate negatives and hand them out in an envelope to 
every student, identical negatives. 
HEINECKEN: Well, this is interesting. 

LEHMER: And then have them print it, and then put the 
work up on the wall. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I don't think so much at UCLA, but in 
workshops I'll do that. I'll say, "Give me a negative," 
and I'll redistribute them so they're not working from 
something that they saw or even care about necessarily. 
That's a good exercise. 

LEHMER: I think the proof of that would be one of the 
things that I remember at San Francisco Art Institute. In 
Jerry Burchard's Monday night classes, we had some 
interesting people come through, and we all went out on 
photo shoots together. We went everywhere, from the local 
Tick Tock burger stand to somebody's apartment to whatever 
event at different places, but we all went together, and 
then we all did the same work or the same subject. The 
work was always incredibly endeavorous in results. That 


was a very impressive exploration. 

I don't know that we ever discussed what this meant. 
You've got product now. I don't know if I'm jumping ahead 
too much, but in a course, in a foundation-level course, 
you've got product. How did you explore that? Did you 
discuss it in a class? Did you put it up on the wall? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, I suppose in that sense it's sort of 
conventional. I mean, some exercise has been assigned, 
and it's due on a certain day, and you're going to put 
everything up and discuss it. In those discussions, 
whether I'm saying it to them or not or I'm making it 
happen, I'm one individual. I'm running it. "You've got 
the TA's there, who are as skilled as I am in their own 
way about looking at things, and each of you are as 
skilled in your own way at looking at these. If you don't 
feel like you have enough intelligence or insight to 
discuss each of these pictures, then it's going to be 
difficult for you, because it isn't something that — " It's 
not that it can't be graded necessarily, but it's only — 
Each one of these things, which is a kind of exercise, is 
designed to fit into the next one into the next one into 
the next one, and I'm the only one that makes a judgment 
about how that's going. You won't see all of people's 
other work in relation to where I'm seeing it, because 


that's my job to see and to make corrections and 
recommendations or whatever. And to some extent it's the 
TA's job to do that, too. 

But I'm very convinced that if you've got people who 
aren't able to participate and be open and not be 
frightened by it, then something's wrong. We have to open 
that student up differently. Everybody's embarrassed 
about this stuff. They don't know anything about it. But 
if they're convinced that there's no right or wrong way to 
do something and that everything could be something, it's 
very freeing for people. And I think in a lot of ways 
other media-- Like a bad drawing is very simple to see. I 
mean, it's hard to make a good drawing and to make a good 
painting, much more than like the way a photograph is 
going to be something. So it's not like what it looks 
like, it's what it fits into in sequence to some other 
thing. How you can take something that's so public and 
make it private is the real issue. 

LEHMER: That's very interesting. I've never thought- - 
HEINECKEN: Even as undergraduates, I mean. And of 
course, a lot of these students are taking one course, two 
courses, but you might have ten or twenty people, like you 
do now, that take three courses, four courses. They get 
involved in it. 
LEHMER: How did you start out your foundation courses? 


Did you give direct assignments? Were they very specific? 
Or were they very abstract, open to individual 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. There were maybe five different 
basic ideas I would always try to introduce. One exercise 
would be to--it wouldn't be this didactic, maybe, but--to 
photograph only early in the morning, late at night, and 
late in the afternoon, so you have some angled effect of 
light on the things rather than down on it. Always make 
three or four exposures of the same thing using a 
different depth of field and a different shutter so that 
you get effects of movement, you get effects of focus. 
You get all the things that have to be retaught, because 
basically their background in it is to do it right the 
first time. Then there's only one negative to make — which 
is why color doesn't work very well for this idea. And 
then to try to make pictures that are about what's in 
focus and what's not, pictures about what's moving and 
what's stopped, pictures that are basically leaning toward 
an abstraction because of the harsh light that's being 
cast from the side, these kinds of things. 

One of the first things I would do in maybe a second 
course would be to have them make self-portraits of 
collage using black paper, white paper, and newsprint. 
You have only three values basically to work with. You're 


looking at yourself in the mirror, you're tearing a piece 
of paper to conform to an eye socket or something that you 
see. You teach them how to squint. These things are 
fantastic. This is a weekend thing that they do. When 
they bring all those things in, I put them in a stack, 
face down. They're all the same size like this. They're 
all self-portraits. And I put them up on the wall and 
have them look at them. Some of them are very crude, and 
some have maybe got five hundred scraps of paper, some 
have thirty. So you get the whole range of what's 
possible. Then I have one person just walk around the 
room and stand next to each picture and see that every one 
of those pictures, even though when you get down to the 
end and its process of elimination, you can see who that 
person is. It's a life-sized head seen only in three 
values. Basically what photography does is crush those 
values. I mean, you can do that. It's a fantastic thing, 
and it gives you confidence that you would never have in a 
drawing class doing a self-portrait or something like 
that, because it's so crude. This shape, paper, is going 
to designate one of three values. That's all there is in 
the picture. 

LEHMER: This reminds me of that piece that you did of 
Susan Sontag. 
HEINECKEN: It's like that in a sense, yeah. It's not a 


mosaic kind of idea, but it just makes you look at 
yourself and learn that you're not dealing in colors, 
you're not dealing in a whole range of values in this 
piece, you're dealing with three values. And because the 
third, the middle one is newsprint, then you get all this 
text stuff coming into it, so that it's not just a value, 
it will say something, which I always like. 


APRIL 10, 1996 

LEHMER: Today, Robert, I wanted to go over some of your 
objectives, maybe an outline of how you developed the 
graduate program in the photography area of the art 
department at UCLA. One of the first questions I wanted 
to ask-- Let me start out with some quotes from the 
catalog that commemorated two decades of photography done 
by the Grunwald Center [for the Graphic Arts], an 
exhibition that I guess you formed or curated. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, Cindy [Lucinda H.] Gedeon, who 
was the staff person at the Grunwald, was the curator. I 
simply contributed the pieces of writing and kind of 
oversaw it. It was really her job as curator. Then she 
had- -I can't remember who they were- -maybe four or five 
students who were active at that time still working on 
that, so they also had input into that. 
LEHMER: This was in 1985? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, whatever it says. 

LEHMER: Okay. Here are some quotes. I think these came 
out of Jim [James] Hugunin, who was one of your students. 
He wrote a very good article describing your program, kind 
of a historic overview of your program and the times them- 
selves. I have some ideas that I'd like to elaborate-- I 


think this oral history interview is the place where we 
can expand on some of the ideas that are always touched 
on. There are a lot of code words and terms that define 
and are signposts for that era that are delineated. I 
think what we can do is maybe expand on a couple of those, 
which will help. 

LEHMER: Here are some quotes: "Doing your own thing." 
"Counterculture." "Idealism." Another quote, the last 
one, is "Sixties: elite and popular consumption of fine 
art," which was being established. There was economy, 
there was money. There was money for social programs, and 
the arts were expanding. The combination of 
counterculture-- Jim Hugunin, I read in the article, was a 
pre-med[icine] major, and he ended up in art. It was a 
unique period where people elected to pursue another 
direction, from, what Jim said, the sciences and 
engineering to the arts and humanities. You were there at 
that moment to receive these people and to expand that 
educational pursuit. Can you, with that idea beginning, 
expand on--? Do any thoughts come to your mind as to what 
you were dealing with in that kind of an environment as 
far as graduate student intentions, how you pursued it, 
how you worked with that environment at that time? 
HEINECKEN: Well, it would obviously be an evolution of 


all of that through the time period that we're talking 
about . 

LEHMER: Which would be what? The late sixties? 
HEINECKEN: Well, I'm just saying the concepts or 
intentions that were set up in the sixties evolved, I 
suppose, without anyone really knowing it. It evolved in 
ways that were parallel to other educational developments, 
which is what he touches on with "counterculture" and all 
of that. They always say "the sixties." It was really 
the seventies when all of this took effect. I mean, in 
the sixties the germ of it starts. 

But the radical part of all of that-- I don't 
remember when the riots were- -what year, for instance. 
Well, this is an aside, kind of, but at some point the 
school shuts down briefly. We didn't have nearly the 
problem that [University of California] Berkeley had, but 
the school shut down. The National Guard was there and 
stuff like that. So I'm trying to figure out whether-- I 
know that all that's important for all the students who 
were in universities at that time. They'll never forget 
that. Because I think for the first time- -at least in my 
history--the students actually took things over and 
demanded educational reforms that I suppose most faculty 
would have agreed with, but the administration didn't 
necessarily. I'm not talking just about UCLA but all 


over. There is a kind of empowerment students feel. Not 
Just graduate students but the whole range of people were 
affected. Their attitudes were affected by what I think 
was then perceived to be a power they didn ' t know they 

LEHMER: How does that relate to--? I mean, if we can take 
that lofty thought or philosophical idea and put it into 
the classroom or into the seminar room, what were some of 
the concerns of the graduates with their work? What were 
your concerns? How did you respond to their production? 
HEINECKEN: Well, one thing comes-- Basically I think the 
effect of, let's say, the cultural and educational changes 
that were going on would support the premise that I would 
have had anyway, which was that it's largely a matter of 
the graduate student to determine what their education 
will be. They have certain resources there — faculty and 
studios and libraries and slide collections--but it's no 
longer even a possibility of thought that you would follow 
some curriculum that everybody else was following. As I 
said, this was not an idea that would have been new to me. 
But certainly when you suddenly have the support of the 
university or at least partial support — If the attitude 
in a graduate situation is opened up suddenly, the 
students realize, even if it's unconsciously, that the 
faculty is not going to fill in what's open. It's up to 


them to fill that in, I support that very much, 
obviously. That's what graduate studies should be, an 
independent personalized investigation of what it is that 
art is for them, each one of them, given in this case the 
loosest definition of what would be considered to be 
photographic . 

Because often there were cases when you would go to a 
graduate M.F.A. exhibition and sense that it wasn't 
necessarily photography that was being talked about, but 
the metaphor would be there for it-- Or even a kind of 
sense of what photography does could be present in 
something which wasn't photography. I think probably UCLA 
was a good model for that. That is to say, basically it 
was opening up the definition of what photography is as an 
art idea beyond formal constraints, which of course is 
where it all starts. You can say that the same decisions 
about structure and all of those kinds of formal ideas can 
be put as an overlay over any medium, including 
photography. But what it looks like is actually quite 
different than what theory it's from, if that makes sense, 
or what it can be or should be. So I just-- I don't know. 
I'll say things as they come to me. 

But I think one of the things that every graduate 
student right from the beginning would have had the sense- - 
The way that I approach it was that they had to invent 


something that we've never seen before. I parallel that 
with Ph.D. work, which is when you have to reveal 
something about something that no one else has ever done 
before. No one has ever researched a certain thing. And 
there's a form and a way that a dissertation is put 
together. I don't know if I'd use the word, but these 
shows are dissertations in the sense that they're 
personal. They're using history and theory, but it's a 
personalized account of that particular — I wouldn't call 
it research; it's not research — activity of making art. 
How is that personalized to an individual? That's the 
basis of the whole thing. You don't have the opportunity 
to refine something that already exists in a research 
situation. Research is new. So in a sense my attitude, 
because it's an academic situation at a major university, 
was you can get away with that because that ' s what 
everybody else does in graduate school. It's simply that 
it's not research but its motives, its ideals, its 
obviously originality, which every artist has to have 
anyway. So you're really forcing that situation on them. 
Nobody's going to tell them what to do. They have to do 
something . 

LEHMER: This is an interesting twist, because my 
observations for thirty years — As you know, my first 
introduction to a serious approach toward photography was 


in the spring of '66, so we're celebrating that thirtieth 
anniversary here in this intejrview. I've always felt that 
art education was always bucking the system. Yet what I'm 
hearing from you is you have turned that, in a sense, 
research environment-- You've always approached it in a 
positive way. In other words, you have somehow understood 
the idea of research and exploring the unknown to 
complement art aesthetics, that creative pursuit, on a 
positive level. Rather than fighting the system, you used 
the system as a vehicle, which is kind of interesting. 
HEINECKEN: Right, yeah. There's a point here I want to 
mention. It would be understood, I guess, but because 
it's photography and because it's this time period in a 
department that ' s recently accepted this idea and is 
obviously looking at how graduate work in that area 
compares to all of the other areas-- And of course, when 
you have new forms or new genres and the shift in 
sculpture or whatever, you have other models that we 
haven't seen before. The new genre was a big thing to do 
then. That was certainly more problematic in a lot of 
ways than photography was. I mean, you're talking 
performance, you're talking conceptual art. All of these 
things were fresh. So it's not photography per se that 
I'm talking about here. Because, as you know, while each 
of us had our own special courses, obviously we were 


looking for the bigger picture of the department rather 
than anything as a separate element in it. [tape recorder 

LEHMER: That goes along with the whole idea that we've 
discussed earlier, which was that it was a very 
interdisciplinary attempt by the department to encourage 
students to work in multiple areas. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. The development of the university, of 
the College of Fine Arts, as I keep saying, and of course 
the individual departments within that college and then 
the areas within them-- I mean, it is like a hierarchy 
starting with the students, working up to the chancellor. 
There are like five steps there or something that are 
important . 

But I think for our purposes here it ' s the idea that 
it's not a matter of a student refining, let's say, 
concepts that were set up by [Edward] Weston or someone 
like that. That's not going to do it. I mean, it would 
be good if a particular student used Weston or knew 
something about Weston and whatever-- Also, I think 
implicit in this is if you're asked to be original, the 
people — faculty in this case — making judgments about this 
may or may not have enough intuition or insight to know 
exactly where the quality is. How do we determine what 
the quality is as opposed to just being original? At that 


point the corollary between it and a dissertation stops, 

because a dissertation is all written in English. It has 

to go into a particular form. If you can read, you can 

understand this. It's different in the arts--dance, 

theater, whatever. You suddenly don't have a common 

language that you can revert to. If, in fact, the work is 

truly original, you should have no language to understand 

it. It has to speak to you. You have to learn how to 

look at something like that. That's particularly true of 

something like performance, where there's no tangible 

ob j ect . 

LEHMER: One of your former students made a statement that 

I'd like you to respond to and elaborate on. In a sense 

other disciplines could look at it as a sign of an 

irresponsible program, so I want you to defend the 

statement or elaborate on it. Victor Landweber said in 

the catalog that we're working with today: 

It was understood that students admitted to the program 
were always working as artists. I always felt that I was 
respected for my work. It wasn't required that I do 
anything other than what I was doing or learn anything 
more than what I needed to know. I appreciated being left 
alone in the sense of not needing to change, knowing that 
so long as I continued to produce satisfactory work I 
would be supported in the program. 

Now, that could be looked at as "I'm going to just 

continue doing-- This program has no influence on me." 

Can you defend that? What does that statement mean? 


HEINECKEN: Well, of course, this is one person's way of 
articulating his experience there. I think it's actually 
kind of telling about Victor. He was one of the more 
interesting students because of things like he's talking 
about-- He's taciturn, you know. He was a person who I 
think had some difficulty aside from what he's saying 
here. But in the end, as so many people do, somehow they 
see the light after three years of it. And they're 
looking at these other thirty graduate students who are 
their peers and seeing what they're doing--not necessarily 
in his sense — and seeing what you're not doing. You're 
not in competition with them. You're in competition with 
that degree and all other degrees. That's my point about 
it, that no one actually has to understand what you're 
doing except you and the four people who are giving you 
this degree. But if there are not four people there's no 
degree and so on. So something has to be original, but 
has to ultimately be understandable over a period of time 
of, in this case, three years working with a variety of 
people, getting their opinions, getting their takes. 
Eventually it has to come together to look like something, 
to show that there's an individual behind this. 

As much as Victor might have thought he was being 
left alone, he wasn't. That's the ideal educational 
situation, I think, where you feel like you're generating 


your ovm movement but you're being guided in ways that 
you're not even aware of. It's this little rejection here 
or that little praise there. You know, those are the 
things that add up. It ' s a good statement. I think it's 
accurate for an attitude that certainly I would project. 
But it shouldn't suggest that there's a softness involved 
in this, because there isn't. It was unusual, but there 
are people who didn't finish these programs. Some maybe 
because they couldn't handle that freedom, or others maybe 
who couldn't handle the discipline. I don't know if that 
answers it. 

I think basically--again using the dissertation as a 
model --there are times when you have to meddle in 
something with a student because you can just see that 
it ' s not going anywhere or it's wrong or it's been said 
before. You have to control that development. But if 
you're a good teacher it's a subtle kind of thing. The 
best thing would be--it's almost like brainwashing--where 
you don't even know that you're being taught anything. 
Someday you wake up and you know all this stuff. 
LEHMER: Let's see if this goes along with it. Hugunin 
says — 

HEINECKEN: I wanted to say something about that. Again, 
back to the dissertation, no one gives a damn, really, 
what that history Ph.D. student does after graduating. At 


that point the university is through with that person. He 
or she may find a job teaching or researching, whatever. 
It's not--for me, at least — the problem of the university 
or faculty to worry one bit about that. You want to keep 
track of them, you want to help them if they need help, 
but your job is over at that point. They're only at the 
start of something. It's not like the end of — Well, it's 
the end of formal schooling. But the real work obviously 
then starts. 

LEHMER: I always liked that idea of commencement 
ceremonies . 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, as something forward from that. 

Also, it should be noted, because it's very important, 
that — I don't know when that time period would start; maybe 
right at the beginning--all of these students who now are 
full professors at USC [University of Southern California] 
and so on graduated in a time period where it was very 
likely that they could get a teaching job in photography, 
because the whole field was expanding all over the 
country. So all of these people-- Victor was an 
exception, who probably was so taciturn he wouldn't have 
been able to teach anyway. This is not a negative thing. 
He's just not that kind of person. He found another way 
to do it, that's all. But the educational system of the 
country in the arts is, especially in photography and 


video, beginning to need new, young teachers to teach this 
stuff. So there's a whole group of people in here- -we 
don't need to name them- -who were very fortunate, because 
their graduate studies ended at a time when there were 

Now, of course, there are no jobs, which is much 
healthier, I think, in a sense. It's very easy to get 
kind of fat and sloppy at a university-- I'm not saying 
who is or who isn't-- But there is no job in the world 
better than a university professor. I mean, there's 
freedom, good money, all the time you need. So it's not, 
I think, particularly conducive to generating more 
artists. It's generating more teachers of art. There is 
a distinction always to be made there, I think. I mean, I 
think — I hope — I'm the exception to that, but it's hard 
work. You can't do both of these jobs without some-- 
Well, in my case I just simply didn't teach that much. I 
left and came back and so on. 
LEHMER: I think that should be noted. 
HEINECKEN: And the students are not unaware of this. 
They're seeing it — If I'm a model of anything, I'm a 
model of "I'm interested in what you're doing, but at five 
o'clock I'm not interested in what you're doing. And I'm 
not interested in what you're doing until I see you next 
time, because I have a life to live here as an artist. 


I'm not here just to teach you." I mean, I'm getting paid 
to do that, but it's not my job to-- It's not my interest 
to take this job so seriously that I stop being an active 
artist. Of course, in universities and in our art 
department we have several people who- -and all the 
universities would have the same thing- -go right through 
their thirty years and never do anything except teach. 
It's that kind of system. The system is bad that way. 
LEHMER: Well, when you say-- I mean, I understand your 
choices . 

HEINECKEN: Well, the point is I think the graduate 
students would recognize, certainly, a difference between 
myself and someone not like myself. It doesn't mean that 
you can ' t get equal amounts of information from these 
kinds of people. But their respect, I think, of someone 
who is actually doing what you're trying to teach them to 
be is a very big point. 

LEHMER: Yeah. I have observed that very directly. I 
think if there's a difference between you and me — There 
are many differences, but one very important distinction 
at this point is that you have always been and continue to 
be very productive in your own work, where I have taken on 
a very input-absorption type of approach, where I'm just 
not outputting. When I know something and I am very firm, 
I still don't have the clout or the influence that you 


might have, because I lack the credibility. You know, 
talk is cheap. Where is this coming from? Where's the 
product? Where's the experience? So in a sense, yes, 
there may be people who are very knowledgeable about the 
subject, but without the actual practice it's hard to make 
students believe in that. That is a very important point. 
HEINECKEN: Also, it better defines what the roles are of 
all the individuals in situations like this, from the 
faculty on down to the teaching assistants--they ' re always 
confused about what they're supposed to do--and the lab 

And Bill [William] Bowman-- He's nothing, in a sense, 
but he's organized along lines that make him very 
effective in certain ways and not in others. 

I'm just trying to say that--not your job 
necessarily--all lab assistants in the sciences are there 
because they provide technical assistance to the faculty. 
That's basically what they do. It's obviously a very 
valuable job. We thought that because it wasn't science 
there were no lab assistants for years. You know, it 
takes another 20 percent of your time to do all the work. 
So getting lab assistants in the department was a very big 
thing to get. 

LEHMER: I think what I was talking about was more when I 
was teaching previous to my coming here. 


HEINECKEN: I don't want to interrupt you, but you'll 
remember things that I won ' t . 

The point--which I've now lost--is that a lab 
assistant is working forty hours a week. Well, nobody can 
work forty hours a week and be an artist unless you're a 
writer and you don't need anything but a pencil or 
something . So it ' s almost unusual that you would have 
someone like Bowman. But you never expected him to do 
anything. He did his own work, but he had no ambition for 
it. He had no drive to make it go to the point that he 
could quit being a lab assistant. Once you get into a job 
like that, as you know, you can't quit it. I mean, you 
could go to another job like it, but it's also a full-time 

LEHMER: It's a strange kind of trap. 

HEINECKEN: But very valuable. I'm relating that to the 
idea that it's the same as the faculty, because the 
faculty could consider teaching to be a full-time job. 
Let's say if you're not an artist but you're a scientist 
or something, if you're not able to take the work that 
you're teaching about and apply it to what you're doing as 
a scientist, you also wouldn't have time to do this. 
Teaching has to somehow overlap what it is that you're 
interested in or else you wouldn't have time to do it. 
LEHMER: Which is why even though you're paid a full-time 


salary, people don't understand that just because you work 

a portion of the work week for the university directly you 

are expected to fulfill the rest of that week for the 

university on an indirect level . 


LEHMER: That's part of that "publish or perish" 

mentality, I think, that is just so very important for 

establishing credibility with students. 

HEINECKEN: But the very term "publish or perish" is, of 

course, a negative way of looking at this. And like a 

negative thing, it's true. You know, it's not a bad term 

for it, but it has a derogatory kind of sound to it. 

Whoever coined the phrase meant it to be derogatory. It's 

a problem. 

LEHMER: But I think on a positive note it's establishing 


HEINECKEN: Also, I'd have to say, not only in our 

department but other departments, you do have people who 

emerge out of this. [Richard] Diebenkorn is an excellent 

example. Here's the premier West Coast painter. He can 

have any job he wants. He can sell whatever he makes. 

He's an excellent teacher and a wonderful person, but he 

couldn't handle the system because — Well, it's a 

complicated story. Anyway, you can't have people — and 

maybe this is happening even more now- -where the 


credibility of someone as an artist surpasses their 
capacity to function in the university effectively. Some 
of our current faculty would fit that. 

LEHMER: What do you mean? Can you expand on that? You 
would think that the greater the artist- -on a naive 
level — the better the educator. 

HEINECKEN: Well, the better the artist, the more time 
that you have to put into that career. You have to 
travel. You have to go to shows. You have to do 
everything, all of which comes off of the time for 
teaching. If you can go in there for four hours and still 
wander around behind people's easels watching them paint 
and be a thousand miles away in your mind, all you have to 
be is in the room if you're that kind of person. 
LEHMER: Right. But I can also justify the limited 
contact, because I've known faculty who were so effective 
in just a short period of time. They were able to 
accomplish in a couple of hours what would take someone 
else a couple of days. I knew an architectural instructor 
like that. 

HEINECKEN: Well, sure. What I'm trying to say is it's 
still trying to strike a balance between being an 
effective teacher, and to some extent everybody has some 
administrative work to do and be effective at that. If 
you're an area head or something, you spend a lot of time 


on that. It's still trying to strike a balance between 
all these things that are — My point is, the career can 
become something that takes up so much time. You get the 
notoriety--! 'm not speaking of myself--but at some time 
the university is no longer important to you intellec- 
tually or financially. 

LEHMER; I see in your own situation where at a certain 
point you opted to work approximately two years on, two 
years off. On the two years off you were doing primarily 
your own work, which you've never really discontinued when 
you were teaching. But you obviously had to split your 
production with your teaching responsibilities. This 
allowed you to continue to effectively produce your work. 
HEINECKEN: But there's a caveat which you really have to 
fight in that you're there two full days. So those two 
days are gone- -Tuesday and Thursday or whatever. This 
means that if it were Monday and Tuesday it would be 
better, because then just those two days would-- So 
anyway, what I'm saying is that you lose Wednesday. It's 
not even worth getting set up or getting in a frame of 
mind — You just have to do something else that you have to 
do. So you really have four days. And if you're married 
and have a family, you lose Sunday, and maybe you lose 
Saturday. So what it does give you is, let's say, twenty 
hours that you have to work, which is not enough time. I 


mean, ideally you stop work, you go to bed, you get up, 
and you just get right back at it where you left off. You 
don't have to wait a day or a week. So what I'm getting 
at is that the art that's made--at least this was my 
observation of myself and others--is sort of quick art. 
It ' s something that you can almost put together in a day 
or two without necessarily having it be a longer-range 
kind of thing that you keep adding to. 

Painters, I think, are fortunate in this way. You 
can have a painting or two or three going at once. You 
can walk in there and work four hours and accomplish 
something and then stop. But other fields, I think- - 
Well, I could never do that. Maybe because there's a 
process involved which involves getting set up. You have 
to get things organized to work. You have to have a 
studio, obviously, which can stay the same while you're 
not there. 

So I think university artists tend to be no less 
significant in some ways, but their work is not — They're 
small ideas that you can pull off. That's a problem, I 

LEHMER: That's something I have never thought about. 
HEINECKEN: Well, I don't know. Some people may have a 
different temperament and can just shut it off and start 
it up again. The reason that this comes to mind and the 


reason for leaving the university during those times is 

exactly to counter the problem of having to show up even 

those eight hours or sixteen hours. 

LEHMER: So then you have to have a space, a studio. You 

have to have an environment where you're not interrupted. 

HEINECKEN: And not having to think about someone like 

Victor Landweber or whomever and to not give up part of 

your time to other things. 

LEHMER: Here is a quote that you made in this Grunwald 

catalog. Hopefully it's not too far out of context for us 

to be able to deal with it: "That out of such 

'university' of beliefs might come a diversity of 

aesthetic production." 

HEINECKEN: Is that Hugunin? 

LEHMER: That's Hugunin quoting you. That's actually 

something that you observed or favored or hoped for. What 

does that mean? 

HEINECKEN: That sounds clever. [laughs] It means — it's 

a kind of language idea--that universality would imply a 

leveling or — what's the word here? — commonality. I don't 

know that the word "university" comes out of universality; 

it's probably the other way around. But a "university," I 

guess, would define- - 

LEHMER: Giving people weight. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I mean, that's the last level of formal 


education, usually, that people have. It's defined by 
grades, units, common courses that everybody takes in a 
university. So the word "university" would tend to be a 
kind of leveling device--which it is; it's a high level, 
but it's a leveling device--and doesn't call for 
diversity, which is part of the word or sounds like the 
word. If we could coin a different word which would 
suggest commonality but with differences, then that's 
diversity. So it's really just kind of a comment in which 
I think I'm trying to say something. But it's too-- Like 
I'll often do, I'll use language in ways to make it a 
little bit more unique or interesting to look at or read 
or write. 

LEHMER: But you have "a diversity of aesthetic 
production." In other words, I'm thinking of the 
individuality of the graduate students, that you respected 
that. You weren't trying to mold them into-- 
HEINECKEN: Quite the contrary. It gets back to the 
originality idea and the kind of innovation that I've 
always felt was necessary for artists to have. What I'm 
trying to say is that the nature of the university is to 
not produce diversity. Its goal is to elevate everybody 
to some kind of common level of intellect except on the 
graduate level. And artists just don't fit that 


LEHMER: The next question I have is if you could expand 
on a quote of yours: "Pushing the boundaries of the 
photographic medium. " Can you think of some examples of 
what that meant to you during your career? More on the 
level of an educator at this point. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I have to go back again to the model of 
the dissertation in the sense that it ' s got to be 
something that only you know about, that you put it, in 
the case of the dissertation, into a language that can be 
read by other people who can understand what you ' re 
talking about. That's where the model of the dissertation 
breaks down. It's not a dissertation. It's not being put 
into English, in most cases, so it can be read. It's 
another language. It has to be something that — I use the 
word "photography, " but it could be used with "painting" 
or "dancer" or whatever. At a university graduate program 
you have to originate something. It has to be in some 
ways made clear what that origination is, how does one 
project individualism. Six paintings in a room that show 
you what an idea is, not six paintings that represent six 
different ideas. That's not a way to make something 
understood . 

The boundaries are no less interesting in any medium, 
but in photography, especially during this time period, 
this is a fresh idea. You have Weston, you have [Alfred] 


Stieglitz, and you have this whole history of people who 
laid the groundwork for whatever else would happen, 
because each one of these people either had an idea that 
looked at the medium differently or-- Stieglitz tried to 
make artwork which pushed the boundaries of what was 
acceptable. Weston was doing that. We don't tend to see 
it that way, but we didn't live then, right? I'm just 
saying that it isn't-- Using the word "boundary" implies 
at least a kind of pushing or stretching of some idea 
rather than just stopping this and starting that. That's 
not stretching; that's reinventing something. 

So I think graduate students are caught--well, 
everybody's caught — between some kind of expansion of 
ideas as opposed to radically stopping something and 
starting something else, like a revolution, like Marcel 
Duchamp . 


APRIL 10, 1996 

LEHMER: I'd like to be able to expand on this idea that 
we've been exploring here. We have in front of us an 
outline of academic years- -faculty that taught and the 
students that received their M.F.A.'s. You can kind of 
get a handle on what graduate students worked under what 
faculty in what time period without going-- This is a copy 
that maybe we don't have to put on tape. I'd like to use 
this to have you expand on some of the ideas. Are there 
certain projects — ? And I'm sure we're going to leave some 
important things out this way. But I think what we want 
to get across in this interview is some ideas that — Maybe 
there ' s a product that we can talk about that would 
confirm some of these ideas that you've discussed, such as 
"pushing the boundaries." There was certainly attention 
paid to process but also to content, as you mentioned 
earlier. When you look over this list, are there any 
people here who you can think of whose work as a graduate 
student reassured your ideas? 

HEINECKEN: Well, let me go back to one thing first, which 
is the kind of notion that you run into — I don't want to 
say regularly. But if you're putting pressure of any kind 
on an individual to conform to whatever it is that you 


want, two things can happen: either the person rejects it 
for whatever reason, and that's not so good, or they 
follow it too much to the letter, and that's not so good. 
So it's always a thing of trying to find some approach 
with each individual that may be completely different than 
it would be with another person- -which is not inconsis- 
tency, it's trying to tailor whatever comments you're 
making to that individual. You know them pretty well 
after three years or so. I think the point I'm trying to 
make here is that it's a very interesting job in the sense 
that you have your own ideals in mind and in my case for 
the program, which was always, during the early time 
period, under fire in a sense. "Well, we're trying this 
out, we're trying — " 

The same with the other — I keep saying "new genre." 
Whenever that came in, same thing. You had to fight or at 
least justify your students' work in light of a group of 
people who weren't understanding it necessarily but saw 
the value of it. It's a common idea. 

But I guess I'm missing my point here, which is when 
the student reaches a point, let's say, when pushing the 
boundaries of photography is no longer useful for them 
because they've pushed the boundaries in photography as 
much as they're willing to do-- I'm thinking of Susan 
Hornbeak [Ortiz], for instance, moving even at the last 


year of her work out of photography into sculpture, which 
was much more inventive and much more powerful and 
demanding than anything she had made before. Well, that's 
wonderful. That happens sometimes. 

But there's also the sense that when you're in a 
minor program here--you're not in painting and drawing--if 
you begin to paint, let's say, and it doesn't develop 
along lines that have anything to do with photography or 
doesn't even depend upon in its thinking anything about 
photography, then you wonder if that's a mistake in one 
sense. I mean, I would say this to people: "You're 
sitting in a chair; there are only six chairs here, and 
you're using up a chair--" I wouldn't say this because 
they had moved out to something else. But if they're not 
really doing anything, I'd say, "You're occupying a chair 
that somebody else should be in." That sort of thing. 
LEHMER: How does that differ from someone who moves from 
one medium to another but who is active? In other words, 
you're saying someone who's nonproductive is taking up a 

HEINECKEN: Well, that, but I'm also trying to get to this 
idea that you obviously want the student to develop along 
whatever lines are the best for that student in relation 
to making art. That's the picture. All I'm saying is 
that when you're in an evolving media, you do have a sense 


that — I'm back to how to choose the graduate students In 
my mind. You can't guarantee what they're going to do, 
fall or not. You can't even determine what they're going 
to make. But that's why we have something called a 
"photography area" or "new genre" or "sculpture." There 
are certain implications there that if it's conventional 
sculpture it's something that has volume, whatever. And 
of course, they break that down right away. They did that 
in photography, which is wonderful. 

What I'm saying is that through the early years of 
this, if you had people defecting to other areas of art, 
something would be wrong. Because that would in a sense 
prove that the medium of photography, no matter how far 
you can press it out of what it's been may not be enough. 
Maybe it ' s not a medium that belongs in this art 
department. Or maybe "new genre" wasn't a medium that 
belonged — There were certain strong feelings that it 
wasn't. Chris Burden proved that it should be, that's 
all. I proved that photography should be here, and those 
students did. Certainly whatever permutation will be next 
will have the same problem. 

During this time period then — these are my friends — 
the painting faculty were beginning to see the idea that 
painting is dead. I mean, that was the watchword for 
this. And it was true. They no longer were sitting on 


the top of this media heap in this university. In some of 
them that produced attitudes which were good and some 
which were bad. The students reflect that. That's what 
I'm getting to, is that you want them- -graduate students-- 
to move into whatever realm of the unknown that they can 
originate in. But you also-- 

I mean, I've made a lot of different things, but 
somehow there's a photographic idea in it or even just 
using the process or something like that. But once you 
run out of that, then you don't have an area. The 
photography area is not characterized by the undergraduate 
courses; we all understand that. Neither is painting nor 
undergraduate courses in anything. It's the graduate 
students who are getting the highest level of education 
with their degree. That makes sense. It's kind of like 
there's always a dilemma there, and no less a dilemma for 
painting at certain points. 

LEHMER: When we look through this list, what were some--? 
HEINECKEN: Well, what comes to my mind first, before I even 
start thinking about this, a very good example of someone 
like this is Ellen Birrel. She wasn't someone who moved out 
of photography. She's moved out of everything, in a sense, 
to become a kind of theoretician. She was very effective in 
that, especially as a graduate student. I tended to try to 
use her as a TA [teaching assistant] with me as much as I 


could, because she knew a lot of stuff, and she was 
developing a lot of stuff that I had no idea about. So I 
used her, in a sense, that way for myself, mostly I think 
to test how effective or how necessary the theoretical 
approach was for these students at this level of 
development. I mean, I'm still not sure of that. 
Luckily, I don't need to worry about it. But in any 
event, when someone like Ellen-- I don't know whether 
she's making artwork now, nor do I care one way or the 
other. I do know that she's an effective educator. She's 
been elevated through the ranks of that field. Without an 
M.F.A. degree from somewhere, she would never have been 
employed , and she ' s a person who needed to be employed in 
order to develop these ideas. Initially in her work in 
graduate school she did that, but it wasn't anything that 
anybody else could relate to, probably, except me, because 
I knew what she was doing and why she was doing it. So it 
doesn't bother me that she's not making art, because she's 
doing something probably more interesting than making art. 
There are other people like that, too. 

LEHMER: What about some other examples of people that--? 
HEINECKEN: See, because they're a couple it's kind of 
strange, but David Bunn also was similar. Maybe it's 
because they were together or not, I don't know. He's not 
making photographs anymore, but he is definitely a working 


artist. Whatever it is he's doing it's being seen and 
being talked about. So that's the difference I'm trying 
to make. These two people, even if they were not a couple 
I would still compare them that way. But if someone began 
to develop-- [tape recorder off] 

LEHMER: Well, that would be an evolution whether it was 
still anchored with photographic ideas but that it moved 
into a theoretical — 

HEINECKEN: My point is that Ellen's M.F.A. show was a 
model for what she perceived to be not only her exposition 
of a certain set of ideas, kinds of didactic ideas, but 
was the model for what she would begin to be interested in 
as a teacher and theorist. So I think in some ways a 
person like that is more important to the program. I 
mean, when she puts down "M.F.A. , UCLA" and people 
understand what she does, that can only throw a good light 
on the program, even though she's not, or seems not to be, 
a functioning artist. Which doesn't matter, right? If 
she were living on the streets I would worry. 
LEHMER: That brings me to another question that I had. 
Maybe we can expand on that through your ideas that are at 
the surface at this moment. The quote is--let me see if I 
can paraphrase it- -you came into an era of "problematic 
zone, a postmodernist 'quotation and effect,'" which is a 
statement from Jim Hugunin. How can we define that? What 


effect did that have on the program, if any? It's called 

the "problematic zone" of postmodernism. I would imagine 

it's problematic because it's colliding with modernism or 

something . 

HEINECKEN: Right, sure. 

LEHMER: But when he's trying to define that as "quotation 

and effect, " do you have any idea--? Can you expand on 


HEINECKEN: The first answer is no. I don't know. 

Hugunin knows. It just always seemed to me that-- Well, 

I'm not a person who works out of a theory, so it's always 

difficult for me to actually grasp in what ways other 

people could be happy with that, but obviously they are. 

It's just so far removed from my temperament or my way of 

thinking about art that it's not anything that I'm clear 

about. I've been called that, and I don't even know why 

I'm being called that. 

LEHMER: You're being called what? 

HEINECKEN: A postmodernist or whatever. I think in some 

ways I invented it without knowing anything about it, 

which is not to invent "it," it's just to do whatever you 

do naturally. 

LEHMER: Well, the word "quotation" means that you are 

using someone else's thoughts, I would imagine. In other 

words — 


HEINECKEN: It's a vague term. It's an art history terra. 
We have a lot of them. What's "quotation"? I don't know. 
You'd have to ask them what's the difference between that 
and the next term and so on. 

LEHMER: Well, the next term might be that it's an 
original thought, but a quotation is like appropriating 
other ideas or other people's theories. 

HEINECKEN: Artists have always done that. Nobody comes 
out of the blue with any of this stuff that I know about. 
I mean, it starts someplace--with education, or you see a 
painting. You can hardly do anything- -see, I won't even 
use the word "quote"--that ' s absolutely original. It has 
to come from something. If you were that kind of person, 
you wouldn't be an artist. You'd be something else. 
You'd be schizophrenic or something. 
LEHMER: Well, I'm sensing--correct me--that the 
difference between postmodernism and modernism could be 
possibly that in modernism you may have appropriation, the 
use of ideas that preceded you, but that what you have 
done is to dovetail these ideas for your own use to 
express your own ideas . Where what I ' m sensing in a 
postmodern environment is a disassociation of you from the 
work and that it's ant i -personal. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, I think I would agree with that. 
There's also no stylistic identification in postmodernism, 


or there theoretically shouldn't be. There obviously is 
when someone makes enough things along a certain-- Like 
Richard Prince. You know that that's his picture. Or 
Barbara Kruger, if she fits this — I don't know--style. 
But I've never made anything, no matter how automatic it 
might seem, that isn't looked at and changed or discarded 
because of its look. So I'm tied to that, I guess, as a 
modernist idea. The structure of it is what makes it 
interesting to make, not the quotation of it. Well, it's 
part of both, I guess. Making the photograms of the 
magazine pages, which you made dozens or hundreds of, we 
ended up with twelve pictures there, all of which were 
based on what the structure of the picture is and what it 
looks like, not its meaning. All of them have the same 
meaning . 

I just looked at-- [Allan] Sekula had a thing in 
Camera Austria — it's a slide show--a hundred and some 
slides, which the article didn't reproduce. You see the 
description of the slides, and you see five examples. 
Well, I understand they're not going to print 120 
pictures, but there's just no distinguishing 
characteristic about these pictures. They're just 
pictures of people standing around or doing something. 
It's the social or the economic position that they're in, 
none of which is visible in the picture. It's explained 


in the text. I don't know why I'm bringing this up, but I 
was just struck by this guy. He's obviously brilliant. 
He knows exactly what he's doing. He's so wonderfully 
focused. I really respect this, but I don't get it. I 
just don't get it. I don't know why anybody gets it, 
except if you're in the frame of reference which is to 
understand how this fits into the next biggest overview of 

My point is that I don't know if I even care to-- I 
never worry about what it is I am or what I'm doing. I 
don't want that worry. It can make you stop. But I do 
know how I pick the pictures : it's how they look . I 
mean, whatever education I've had--which I've begun to 
reveal is not much, I guess — was modernist. We didn't 
call it that. But it was what the thing looked like. How 
complicated was it? How interesting was it to see? To 
experience it visually. It's still very much a part of 
what I do. As far as the materials, maybe, magazines and 
stuff like that are not conventional art materials, but 
the ideas are very conventional . 

LEHMER: Why do you think people would say that you are 
one of the original postmodernists? 

HEINECKEN: I think because I was doing things before we 
had the term. 
LEHMER: What were you doing? 


HEINECKEN: I was using as subject matter public images 
but with no theory, no quotations, no appropriation. 
These are all terms-- Appropriation, actually, in my 
understanding-- I forget what I was reading, but there 
were five or six critics in New York who sat down, in a 
sense, and invented this word to represent what it was 
that they were interested in or talking about. 
LEHMER: This may seem like we're off the subject, but I 
don't think so. Let me try to tie this together. You are 
an artist and an educator- - 

HEINECKEN: Was an educator, except through exposition, as 
we talked about. 

LEHMER: I balk when you say that "was," because I figure 
we're always learning from-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, it's true. 

LEHMER: Well, I'm always learning from you. But with 
this idea that you're an active artist, and when you were 
an active professor, the head of the photography area in 
the art department, one of your critically important 
responsibilities — and we've laid a lot of groundwork in 
this interview- -was to select graduate students from an 
application pool. It may seem oversimplistic, but you 
have a hell of a batting average for what the students 
have done. For instance, the year of this publication 
that we're using--1985--six of your alumni were given NEA 


[National Endowment for the Arts] grants. It's a small 
pool, but that's an incredibly high percentage for one 
given year. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, that's a very high percentage. 
LEHMER: Others of your alumni have received Fulbright 
[scholarship] s, Guggenheim [ fellowship] s, and are in very 
prestigious-- Not simply teaching, which is rare, but 
they're teaching in some of the most prestigious 
institutions in this country. Simple question: How did 
you select your grad applicants? What did you look for? 
HEINECKEN: Well, I don't know how to rank all of these 
things, which I may have mentioned. But one consideration 
I think always exists is, after some initial looking, to 
try to figure out — Well, I would try to avoid bringing in 
what I would think was maybe a marginal student who was 
doing work along the line of a student who was already 
there. Like Ron Kelley. By the time that he showed up 
here, nobody was doing so-called documentary photographs. 
Clearly he had a vision very early on in his-- He was a 
writer. One wouldn't expect him to make pictures that 
were not literate, in a sense understandable. The subject 
was there and so on. His vision of kind of the 
apocalyptic character of all of this was unique. But if 
he were in graduate school and another person like that 
showed up — If it's only going to be six people, you don't 


want to start something that makes one-third of the 

students moving in similar ways. 

LEHMER: You don't want to typecast the-- 

HEINECKEN: You always have fifteen people that could be 

accepted in this program, and each year you're going to 

choose two or three at the most. So I'm just saying one 

thing I'm always conscious of is it's so small a situation 

that you can't afford to double up something. You have to 

contact that person and say, "You're certainly acceptable, 

but you're not accepted here. I hope you find the right 

place." And maybe you say, "Look at Yale [University] or 

[University of] New Mexico." 

LEHMER: So you're looking for diversity. You're trying 

to maintain diversity within the program. 

HEINECKEN: That's right. Because it's so small you can't 

accommodate — I mean, if you've got three people doing 

stuff like Ron Kelley it begins to look like a deal or a 

setup or something, which is what we don't want. So 

that ' s one thing . 

It was interesting, the other night, when we were 
talking about the interview-- I've been extremely — I 
mean, I've had both sides of this, where the [prospective 
student's] slides look like really something and you 
accept them. Later you meet this person and you have no 
understanding of how this person ever got to that. 


[There's] no way to talk with that person about it, 
because it's just a fluke, maybe, that they did these 
things. So I don't know. There is definitely a kind of 
intuition. I think you don't have intuition until you've 
done it enough that there are gut feelings about 
something . 

Another thing which I-- It's kind of hard to define, 
but you're looking at something you don't quite get, but 
you know something's in it. That's very important. 
That's a characteristic that you don't necessarily want to 
have them achieve, but if they already have that coming 
in, somehow that's an advantage. It's like seeing 
something you never saw before, and you're seeing twenty 
slides. You can sort of figure out whether this is a 
fluke or not. 

LEHMER: Well, the criteria of the department is twenty 
slides of your most recent work and also a statement of 
purpose . 

HEINECKEN: I don't think we required that statement very 
much until recently. 
LEHMER: You didn't? 

HEINECKEN: I mean, I don't think the department did. 
LEHMER: So it was another means of pursuing whether or 
not this person knew what they were doing or on what level 
the work should be addressed. You may be reading too much 


into it or something like that. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think the first kind of go- through of 
something like that-- I would not want to know where that 
person went to school or what they were writing about or 
whatever. Because if it doesn't look like something to 
me — I don't want to have to read something to understand 

LEHMER: So the hierarchy is that the visual work has to — 
HEINECKEN: Also, I think you develop — it's beyond an 
intuition- -how to read slides, because they're just not 
the work. Especially if it's painting or something, you 
have no sense, really, of what that thing is. There's no 
surface, you know, all those things. 

But it can't just be my intuition. You always have 
at least one other faculty member, who usually would be 
someone who has a completely different frame of mind than 
you do. So you're using that person's particularized set 
of intuitions coming from a different point of view. 

Also, I can't really be clear about how the graduate 
students fit into this, but I always use the graduate 
students first and let them look at the applicants' slides 
and rank them. It doesn't mean we're going to accept 
their opinions, just that we want their opinions. Because 
their state of mind would even be something where this 
person is too good, this person is better than I am. That 


kind of thing comes up, you know. Do we want this person 
here? But mostly it's just to take their opinions 
seriously. Look at the current group of students, look at 
the applicants, try to figure out-- Well, let's say Ellen 
Birrel is graduating this year. We don't count her in 
this because she's gone. But what is the next three-year 
period going to look like? What kind of students would 
seem to expand the possibilities of that? And on top of 
that, the slides have to look like something. 

Once I get beyond that, the age of a person is 
interesting. If a person is right out of undergraduate 
school, I see that as a kind of a disadvantage as opposed 
to someone who's not. If you see somebody from an art 
institute versus university or college, you assume certain 
things about that. If a person has never lived in the 
city and they come to Los Angeles, that's going to take 
you a year to sort that out. Things like that. And these 
are all minor points, but I guess what I could say is that 
it's not something that I took lightly. It's a serious 
thing to do. You know, it's hard to do. I guess you 
could identify five, six, ten factors. Once you get a 
group of people that maybe is three times the number you 
want, and they're all equal, then you can start looking at 
things like age — I would look at things like age--or where 
they come from or who they might study with, things like 


that, but not before having made the decision about what 

they looked like first and getting that set up. 

LEHMER: The work? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. And maybe secondly how it would seem to 

fit into-- Like if you got somebody whom you might 

recognize as being- - 

Well, another thing comes into this. Let me think 
about this for a minute. The thing about women and 
wanting-- At some point they are very consciously aware of 
what you have not been achieving before in that regard. 
And then the gay and lesbian thing is equally important to 
that. But again, if you've got six slots, you can't 
always accommodate for that. I don't know when it would 
have happened in here, but I don't even think it would 
have been conscious to say, "Well, we need half women." 
There was certainly in my mind a kind of consciousness 
what that was about. I never could figure out accurately 
how the sexual preference thing would affect being an 
artist. At one point we had, I think, three gay men in 
this program at the same time, which changed it. I'm not 
saying it was bad or good, it's just-- 

LEHMER: It was interesting to me because it happened, but 
it wasn't a conscious choice that I could figure out. It 
happened when I was around. It seemed to be always the 
quality of the work. I mean, it just happened to be that-- 


HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah. Sure, sure. I'm just saying — I 

would guess that they were in three different years, if it 

was recognized that they were gay. 

LEHMER: I think you're right. I think they were. And 

then at that time we also had a faculty member who was 


HEINECKEN: Yeah, right. Well, that's interesting too, 

because all of these would be constructs about justice. I 

think universities and most large institutions were not 

conscious of this or were not sympathetic to it. It goes 

against the grain of the way — 

You know, my thinking about this always was an 
antiquated idea, but at some point I recognized that. 
It's more difficult to balance a program given such new 
factors when it's small. So you could get down to some 
point when it would be a political decision. Is it 
Democrat or Republican or communist or liberal? You can't 
represent all these groups. Basically, if you're making a 
decision on two or three people a year, and the 
department ' s making a decision about forty or something 
like that, it's still a very small situation. But, I 
mean, the idea of each area screening the slides first 
already gives you — Let's say if you have a woman running 
an area, that woman's going to be conscious of this. Or 
if you have a gay person, as you mentioned, conscious of 


it, then obviously they have their own set of principles, 

agendas, beliefs, all of which have to be reconciled. 

Then the quality of the work as is has to be modified by 

all these other important factors. 

LEHMER: I think what I'd like to do is see if we can tie 

this up today with an overview. Maybe some of the 

evolutionary, transitional highpoints of a very important 

institution connected to the academic program--that ' s the 

Society for Photographic Education. Is that the right 



LEHMER: Which we call SPE. You were in, I think, from 

the very beginning on this. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, pretty much. 

LEHMER: There are some points I can think of where there 

were evolutions, changes, transitions-- There was always 

the defining of the educator or the defining of the 

program or defining of photography in general, and the 

redefining. What this institution did was to kind of 

formally lay out the redefinition. I remember listening 

to a program where you were on a panel with other people 

to define graduate programs. I think there was a woman 

from [University of] Indiana who said, "We look at their 

grades first. We know that most of these people are going 

to go out into the teaching environment. We want to make 


sure that they can survive with the other academically 

astute faculty in a university." And you came with a 

different approach. At that time you said, "We look at 

the work . " 

HEINECKEN: Which is a wonderfully arrogant kind of 

position to take, but yeah. 

LEHMER: And then, "Based on that, if we like the work, 

and their grades aren't good enough to get in"--let's say 

didn't meet the standards of the graduate school--that you 

would petition to get them in. Since I've been involved 

with the program, I have observed not one situation where 

these people weren't incredibly intelligent. But your 

parameters were unique in the sense that you would do 

whatever you had to to get that person in based on the 

quality of their work, not necessarily on the quality of 

their grades. 

HEINECKEN: Well, they have to have a certain [grade 

point] average to apply, right? 

LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: But obviously that can be changed by petition. 

LEHMER: But your priorities were that of the quality of 

the work. 

SPE went through a lot of transitions. Can you think 
of some of the ones that would stand out in your mind? 
Let me give you one example so that you can see where I'm 


headed. I'd been out in the middle of nowhere up in 
Montana, and I came down to an SPE conference at Asilomar 
[Hotel and Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California]. 
Someone that I had known from my days in the sixties and 
the early seventies while studying at San Francisco Art 
Institute-- There was a body of work that was very strong, 
Les [Leslie] Krims's The Deerslayers. So he's the honored 
educator at this conference. It must have been 1978 or 
something like that. There were a lot of people in the 
audience who rejected his work and his ideas to the point 
where they practically booed him out of the auditorium. I 
was stunned at the assertiveness and the confidence of 
these people to act so disrespectfully in this situation. 
But there must have been other defining moments within the 
SPE, that this institution could show us, as to the 
evolution of, the change in, the ideas of art and 
photographic education. Can you think of any other 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I think the first distinctions that 
were made would be around the technical idea. Techniques 
were seen to be in the service of something- -in most of 
our cases for an art idea. It had no value beyond 
servicing some other thing, as opposed to a group of 
people that were teaching in programs which were basically 
technical. That's all there was in the very beginning. 


So that was a kind of crisis. There was a division, 
certainly, between the technical versus whatever else. 
These things don't happen like UCLA, and then only slowly. 

The idea of commercial photography, again, was a very 
strong component of a lot of undergraduate situations, 
including places like Art Center [College of Design] at 
that point and Pratt [Institute School of Art and Design]. 
Probably the institutions that would come to mind if you 
wanted to study photography would have been one of these 
places. Or you went to RIT [Rochester Institute of 
Technology]. So there's that hitch of not just the 
technical but the commercial application of the work. 
Commercial photography is what that is. There's nothing 
wrong with it. But it wasn't anything that a Society for 
Photographic Education would center on. It certainly 
would be in the beginning of that organization. The 
people you would have come, like Art Kane or people like 
that, were basically commercial photographers, but they're 
good at it. Somehow, slowly that became something that 
was no longer interesting. Because now all the programs 
for commercial photography were identified as opposed to 
something with an art idea to it. So that shifted. It's 
reflected in the programming and in the people who are 
asked to speak. [tape recorder off] 

Then I think maybe the next thing is how any of what 


I was previously talking about affects education per se. 
Not really graduate education, because that was still 
something that was developed later or at least became an 
important kind of issue. 

Then I think there's a period of time when it's 
finally stable — nothing, no real problems. 
LEHMER: What kind of year range are you thinking? 
HEINECKEN: I don't know. 
LEHMER: Was that the late sixties or--? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. I think maybe early seventies, 
something like that. 

But at some point you get- -I think first it would 
have been the students- -the question of whether students 
were to be accepted into this situation, or were they 
simply visitors to the conferences. Could they actually 
belong to the organization? These were issues that were 
discussed. But the student revolution that was going on 
in all these places anyway made it very clear that 
students were to be an active part of this. And then at 
some point it's the feminist movement, which changes it