Mike Kelley

Tony Oursler + Mike Kelley
Poetics Project

Very scarce Tony Oursler + Mike Kelley exhibition catalogue / artists’ book published in conjunction with a major two-person exhibition held 1997 – 1998 in Tokyo. Includes colour installation images of the exhibition as installed at Documenta X, June 21 – September 28, 1997. “The ongoing ‘Poetics Project’ serves up a rich mix of visual and aural experiences, while inviting viewers to question the reliability of the shows as history. Artist Mike Kelley says, ‘If you don’t create your own history, someone else will.” Kelley and Tony Oursler’s the ‘Poetics Project 1977-1997’ is a retrospective work that draws from their collaborative efforts in painting, video, sculpture, drawing and music. Although the ostensible subject of this project is Kelley and Oursler’s early experiences as performers in a loose-knit musical group called the Poetics, its broader concerns are the processes by which history is constructed, and the reciprocal relationship between the fine arts and popular culture. The conflation of past and present in the ‘Poetics Project’ makes it difficult at first for the viewer to penetrate the work. Video installations and taped interviews with visual artists, rock musicians and critics are intermingled with paintings, sculptures and stacks of drawings. A precise checklist and diagram prepared by Kelley and Oursler methodically pinpoint the authorship of each work, while serving as a serf-guided tour and critical record of the project. Only with this didactic help do viewers come to realize that the ‘Poetics Project’ is almost entirely made up of works created in 1997 and 1998, though based on what Kelley and Oursler tell us is a single notebook of sketches and a collection of audio recordings–some little more than notations for never-performed works–which date from the late 1970s and early ’80s (the Poetics disbanded in 1983). Filled with irony and steeped in serf-reflexive practice, this work builds upon the radical autobiographical prose of William S. Burroughs and art works and performances by artists such as John Baldessari, Allan Kaprow and Andy Warhol. Reminiscent of Warhol’s A:A Novel, which records one day in the life of the artist in 384 pages, the ‘Poetics Project’ is an expanding template of art works which explores how the past can be reconstructed to shed light on the present.” — Diane Shamash, Art in America, October 1998

First and only edition of this unique Japanese publication from these two American artists. Cardboard covers feature decal artwork reproducing the Oursler/Kelley collaborative artwork “Poetics Country”, 1997.

* Condition: Very Good (tight, clean copy throughout with only light wear) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.

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Foul Perfection : Essays and Criticism
by Mike Kelley

The work of artist Mike Kelley (b. 1954) embraces performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, and sculpture. Drawing distinctively on high art and vernacular traditions, including historical research, popular culture, and psychology, Kelley came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures composed of craft materials. His recent work offers dialogues with architecture and with repressed memory syndrome, and a sustained inquiry into his own aesthetic and social history. The subjects on which Kelley has written are as varied as his artistic media. They include the work of fellow artists, sound, caricature, the uncanny, UFOlogy, and gender-bending.

This book offers a diverse collection of Kelley’s writings from the last twenty-five years. It contains major critical texts on art, film, and the wider culture, including his piece on the aesthetic he calls “urban Gothic.” It also contains essays, mostly commissioned for exhibition catalogs and journals, on the artists and groups David Askevold, Öyvind Fahlström, Douglas Huebler, John Miller, Survival Research Laboratories, and Paul Thek, among others. Kelley’s voices are passionate, analytic, and ironic, and his critical intelligence is leavened with touches of whimsy.

Reviews
“This collection proves that [Kelley] has not only helped write history but has had an effect on it.” — Diedrich Diederichsen, Artforum

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Mike Kelley
Educational Complex (Afterall Books: One Work)


One of the most influential artists of our time, Mike Kelley (1954–2012) produced a body of innovative work mining American popular culture as well as modernist and postmodernist art—relentless examinations of subjectivity and of society that are both sinister and ecstatic. With a wide range of media, Kelley’s work explores themes as varied as post-punk politics, religious systems, social class, and repressed memory. Using architectural models to represent schools he attended, his 1995 work,Educational Complex, presents forgotten spaces as frames for private trauma, real or imagined. The work’s implications are at once miniature and massive. In this book, John Miller offers an illustrated examination of this milestone work that marked a significant change in Kelley’s practice.

A “complex” can mean an architectural configuration, a psychological syndrome, or a political apparatus, and Miller approaches Educational Complex through corresponding lines of inquiry, considering the making of the work, examining it in terms of education and trauma (sexual or otherwise), and investigating how it tests the ideological horizon of art as an institution. Miller shows that in Educational Complex, Kelley expands his political and aesthetic focus, including not only such artifacts as generic forms of architecture but (inspired by the infamous McMartin Preschool case) popular fantasies associated with ritual sex abuse and false memory syndrome. Through this archaeology of the contemporary, Miller argues, Kelley examines the mandate for education and the liberal democratic premises underpinning it.

Author John Miller, Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Art History at Barnard College, is an artist and critic whose work has been exhibited internationally. He was Mike Kelley’s friend and colleague from 1978 until Kelley’s death in 2012.

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Cosima Von Bonin
HIPPIES USE SIDE DOOR. THE YEAR 2014 HAS LOST THE PLOT

HIPPIES USE SIDE DOOR. THE YEAR 2014 HAS LOST THE PLOT, includes more than 100 works by Cosima von Bonin, ranging from her earliest to completely new works.

This retrospective exhibition also shows how von Bonin’s work has moved more and more in the direction of installations that increasingly come to take possession of the space they are placed in.

Another typical feature of her work is a complex network of relations between the fine arts and music that she has established, including longstanding colleagues and friends in her exhibition projects.

At mumok Vienna, Tocotronic and Phantom Ghost accompany the exhibition with concerts, and two further new formations from von Bonin’s circle of friends and acquaintances, The 3 Ypsilons and The Ypsilon Five, perform at the exhibition. The mumok museum facade gains a new balcony for this exhibition, with a figure standing on it and retching.

Appearances by Isa Genzken, Mike Kelley, Carl Andre, Martin Kippenberger, Christophe Verfaille, Okka-Esther Hungerbühler, Cady Noland, Helmut Baar, Colin de Land, Paul Thek, Michael Krebber…

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Cosima von Bonin: HIPPIES USE SIDE DOOR. THE YEAR 2014 HAS LOST THE PLOT at mumok, Vienna, 4 October 2014 – 18 January 2015.

Edited by Karola Kraus
Texts by Clara Drechsler, Diedrich Diederichsen, Manfred Hermes.

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