Texte Zur Kunst #89

The March issue of Texte zur Kunst is dedicated to Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley, who died one year ago. During the three and a half decades in which he was active as an artist, the vast majority of criticism written about Kelley—both positive and negative—was produced by members of his own generation. For them, his oeuvre constitutes an intervention into what had been the status quo. His examination of culture’s objects, practices, and narratives revealed the contradictions between hegemonic culture and socially marginal cultural forms. In doing so, the work constructed a politics embracing difference and thus suggested the potential of living and working on the fringes of, but in relation to, given norms. In contrast to its initial impact, however, for growing numbers of younger artists and writers, Kelley’s work sets the standard by which others are measured. The authors of this issue know him first and foremost as a representative of the status quo—cultural analyst, subversive, and artist-critic par excellence. Their texts engage themes that were central to Kelley’s artistic practice, thus arguing by extension that room still exists for new and contradictory evaluations of the artist’s work in relation to the frameworks of culture and its history. A tacit assumption pervades all the texts: That it is possible to recognize complex inner workings of a division of culture through the mobilization and analysis of specific examples of its products. However, given the tendency of forms and practices to be assimilated by institutions as well as to fade out of use over time, it is Kelley’s analytic methodology, rather than his individual works, which holds critical potential both now and moving forward.

Plus a picture spread by Jim Shaw and reviews from Amsterdam, Berlin, Bordeaux, Chicago, Hamburg, Munich, New York, Tokyo, and Vienna.

Exclusive new artists’ editions by Jana Euler and Tony Oursler.

English Content:


Main Section

Victoria Camblin
Soft and Hard
Mike Kelley’s Tactile Return

Samuel Draxler
Working It
Kelley’s Crafts

Leigh Ledare
A Hole, but a Flattened Down Hole

Adam Putnam
Editorial Complex (A Reconstruction)

Matt Keegan
Playing House

Hannah Kahng
Behind the Scenes
Narrative and Filmic Convention in Mike Kelley’s Early Videos

Annie Ochmanek
Here Comes the Zoo
Mike Kelley and His Audience

Piper Marshall
Investment Returns
Mike Kelley’s Pay for Your Pleasure

Nicolás Guagnini
Italics Mine
Deformation, Modification, Exaggeration

Sam Lewitt
Stare Naked

More Than Could Ever Be Suppressed
A conversation about Mike Kelley between Philipp Kaiser, Jutta Koether, and Martin Prinzhorn, moderated by Oona Lochner


Sven Lütticken
Moving in Circles
On Oskar Fischinger at EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam

Claire Fontaine
Krebber in Bordeaux
On Michael Krebber at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux

Mathieu Malouf
Attitude Becomes Dorm
On Trisha Baga at Greene Naftali, New York

Rachel Haidu
Bonfire of the Vanities
On Rosemarie Trockel at the New Museum, New York

Daniel Horn
American Idol
On Mike Kelley at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Maggie Taft
Surface Studies
On R.H. Quaytman at The Renaissance Society, Chicago

John Beeson
Louder Than a Dull Hum
On Nina Canell and Rolf Julius at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin

Artists’ Editions

Jana Euler
Die individualisierte Editionsnummer besichtigt das subjektive Fenster (Bild) und guckt auf ein Stück der Welt, 2013

Tony Oursler
Ear-Worm, 1976/2013


Texte Zur Kunst #89
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