Born in a Detroit suburb to a maintenance worker and a Ford Motor Company cook, Kelley suffered all his life from agoraphobia, yet he made his first works on the stage. While an undergrad at the University of Michigan in 1973, he played drums with the influential noise-rock group Destroy All Monsters, which he cofounded with the artist-musician Jim Shaw, among others. At the California Institute of the Arts in the seventies, where his teachers included Baldessari and Laurie Anderson, Kelley became an incandescent performance artist who “drove himself into these frenzied states,” recalls the video artist Tony Oursler, Kelley’s then roommate. “He would babble faster than anyone could think.” Riffing off absurdist scripts, he could charge a room with the simplest of props: “transforming himself,” recalls Oursler, “with only a bucket full of water with a whoopee cushion inside it or a cardboard tube stuffed with tin foil and a microphone.”
Fellow Los Angeles artist Paul McCarthy, who became equally transfixed by Kelley’s stage presence during a performance festival in the early eighties, soon struck up a collaboration with him on a series of psychobiographic videos. Their first was Family Tyranny (1987), about an abusive father-son relationship. “We knew we had similar interests in family, architecture, low-culture objects, and this thing of costumes and pretend,” says McCarthy, who along with Kelley was a breakout star of MOCA’s seminal 1992 survey “Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s.”
McCarthy remembers how his hours-long conversations with Kelley would often lead to unlikely projects. “It was a lot of laughing, making jokes, and then all of a sudden we’d see something and go, ‘That’s an idea. We should do it.’ Then it’s like, ‘Should we really do it?’ And then we’re remaking Vito Acconci performances [with models portraying porn stars] in a house in Beverly Hills like it’s a commune, like a joke.”
Kelley was in the midst of a new project when he killed himself at age 57, leaving no note…
Claes Oldenburg put together an odd collection of kitsch, found objects, souvenirs, trivial everyday pieces and toys plus material and prototyps for his art works. The Mouse Museum was first shown in 1972 at the documenta 5 in Kassel.
Claes Oldenburg was born in 1929, in Stockholm. His father was a diplomat, and the family lived in the United States and Norway before settling in Chicago in 1936. Oldenburg studied literature and art history at Yale University, New Haven, from 1946 to 1950. He subsequently studied art under Paul Wieghardt at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1950 to 1954. During the first two years of art school, he also worked as an apprentice reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago, and afterward opened a studio, where he made magazine illustrations and easel paintings. Oldenburg became an American citizen in December 1953. In 1956 he moved to New York and met several artists making early Performance work, including George Brecht, Allan Kaprow, George Segal, and Robert Whitman. Oldenburg soon became a prominent figure in Happenings and Performance art during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1959 the Judson Gallery exhibited a series of Oldenburg’s enigmatic images, ranging from monstrous human figures to everyday objects, made from a mix of drawings, collages, and papier-mâché. In 1961, he opened The Store in his studio, where he recreated the environment of neighborhood shops. He displayed familiar objects made out of plaster, reflecting American society’s celebration of consumption, and was soon heralded as a Pop artist with the emergence of the movement in 1962. Read more…
Leopold Blaschka (1822– 1895) and his son Rudolf Blaschka (1857–1939) were German glass artists, known for the production of biological models such as the Glass Flowers.
See previous post
The exhibition at New Museum (NYC) conjures an imaginary universe in which Trockel’s own artwork shares space with objects and artifacts, spanning different eras and cultures, that map her artistic interests.
Since the early 1970s, Rosemarie Trockel has produced an impressive body of work that includes drawing, collage, installation, “knit paintings,” ceramics, videos, furniture, clothing, and books. She brings together a range of associations and references from art history, philosophy, theology, and the natural sciences. For “A Cosmos,” Trockel places her work in the company of others whom she regards as kindred spirits. Installations created for the New Museum illuminate the intellectual and formal connections between her practice and a range of historical figures including self-taught artists James Castle and Morton Bartlett, and the botanist/mathematician José Celestino Mutis. Objects whose impetus was primarily aesthetic will be juxtaposed with pieces that more conventionally belong to the realm of science. Trockel’s roughhewn glazed ceramics from the past several years will be displayed along with Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka’s delicate glass models of sea creatures created in the nineteenth century. A selection of new work by Trockel can be examined in conjunction with watercolors by the seventeenth-century artist Maria Sybilla Merian, whose impeccably precise yet beautiful renderings of flora and fauna proved invaluable to scientific study.
Seminar: The Museum as an Art Practice
16 November 2012, Krakow, Poland, 2pm – 7pm
National Museum in Krakow
The Main Building, no. 1, 3 Maja Avenue – Audiovisual Room
Organised by: Cricoteka and the National Museum in Krakow
Actors: Agency, The Archive of Tadeusz Kantor – Cricoteka, MoAA (Museum of American Art), MOLAF (Museum of Longing and Failure) and Antje Majewski & Alejandro Jodorowsky (screening).
The seminar aims to map out Kantor’s vision of a museum, as well as any reflections and actions in any way related to the exhibiting and collecting practices, in the context of the new mission of Cricoteka as an institution where the spectator, the artist, the creative process and the very work of art all become part of activities which straddle theatre, archive and museum. The tool used to achieve this goal will be a conceptual drawing derived from the intersection of different working methodologies within a museum treated as art practice, rather than merely as a space used to archive, secure or negotiate the shape of the canon within art history.
(curators: Ewa Tatar and Joanna Zielińska)
The Hand that Gives. A conversation between Alejandro Jodorowsky and Antje Majewski, Paris 2010
Join us in in Krakow
See previous posts: Agency; Lewis & Taggart; MoAA
The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (French: Les Mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines) is a 1966 book by Michel Foucault. Foucault endeavours to excavate the origins of the human sciences, particularly but not exclusively psychology and sociology. The book opens with an extended discussion of Diego Velázquez’s painting Las Meninas and its complex arrangement of sightlines, hiddenness, and appearance. Then it develops its central claim: that all periods of history have possessed certain underlying conditions of truth that constituted what was acceptable as, for example, scientific discourse. Foucault argues that these conditions of discourse have changed over time, from one period’s episteme to another. Jean Piaget, in Structuralism, compared Foucault’s episteme to Thomas Kuhn’s notion of a paradigm. Foucault demonstrates the parallelisms in the development of three fields: linguistics, biology, and economics. Foucault’s critique has been influential in the field of cultural history. The various shifts in consciousness that he points out in the first chapters of the book have led several scholars, such as Theodore Porter, to scrutinize the bases for knowledge in our present day as well as to critique the projection of modern categories of knowledge onto subjects that remain intrinsically unintelligible, in spite of historical knowledge. The Order of Things brought Foucault to prominence as an intellectual figure in France. A review by Jean-Paul Sartre attacked Foucault as “the last barricade of the bourgeoisie”. Foucault responded, “Poor bourgeoisie; If they needed me as a ‘barricade’, then they had already lost power!”
When one defines “order” as a sorting of priorities, it becomes beautifully clear as to what Foucault is doing here. With virtuoso showmanship, he weaves an intensely complex history of thought. He dips into literature, art, economics and even biology in The Order of Things, possibly one of the most significant, yet most overlooked, works of the twentieth century. Eclipsed by his later work on power and discourse, nonetheless it was The Order of Things that established Foucault’s reputation as an intellectual giant. Pirouetting around the outer edge of language, Foucault unsettles the surface of literary writing. In describing the limitations of our usual taxonomies, he opens the door onto a whole new system of thought, one ripe with what he calls “exotic charm.” Intellectual pyrotechnics from the master of critical thinking, this book is crucial reading for those who wish to gain insight into that odd beast called Postmodernism, and a must for any fan of Foucault.