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The Permission of Mike Kelley, by Karl Erickson

The recent traveling retrospective exhibition of Mike Kelley reveals the artist’s artwork to be generous, permissive, moral and caring; though not kind, gentle nor easy. There also exists in equal measures cynicism, cruelty and negativity. Caring, in that he strove to ruthlessly expose systems of repression in our lives; unkind, in that his withering attack left few beliefs unexposed, and no sacred goats left unshorn. This permission and generosity can be experienced in three overlapping ways: 1) Mike Kelley provides an example of how to make intelligent, critically engaged work. This provides permission to artists to wholly invest in their subject matter; 2) Kelley’s drive to over-stuff his subjects with meaning to the bursting point. This is an act of generosity to the subject while damning our culture of over-analysis; and 3) Kelley’s work is generous in the sense that he served, as the well-known image of him documents, as a janitor, an astringent force working elbows deep in the pus and bile of mass culture to clear out blockages. When I first encountered Kelley’s work in the mid-1990s, l was a young artist living and attending undergrad in Detroit. I had never seen anything like his combinations of images, materials and texts. His art was a revelation that serious, smart, complex work could be made of and from the subjects he worked with: pop culture detritus, weirdos, noise, shit. To a 19-year old in the Midwest, this was mind-blowing; and a very long way from Van Gogh and Warhol. Sure, there was plenty of conceptual and pop art available, but not like this delirious assemblage. Conceptual Art, as represented...

Summer and the movies, by Paul Pescador

1. We’re sitting in traffic. It’s the first day summer. No, thats not true, its the first day that June gloom has burnt off and the heat has set in. We’re sitting in the car stuck in gridlock traffic. It’s Saturday and we’re trying to get to the beach for a birthday in Malibu. We’re dead silent; frustrated and exhausted by the heat and traffic. We sit and listen to Siri read us directions as she sends us on and off freeways. Somewhere between the 101, 105, 405 and the 710 intersection, I remember why I never go to the beach. The traffic is like Godard’s film Weekend (1967): miles and miles of traffic and car accidents. I shout out, “There better be a dead body!” When I think of summer, I think of Jacques Tati’s film, Mr Hulot’s Holiday (1954). Mr Hulot’s Holiday takes plays in a French beach town during a summer holiday. The protagonist, Monsuier Hulot (played by Tati himself), is a fumbling middle-aged man who wanders around with his trilby and pipe. We rarely hear him speak, as his humor is action-based. Hulot is reminiscent of characters developed by silent film stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton: underdogs and outsiders who constantly get themselves into trouble by pestering others. Most of the film’s characters don’t really develop — they are more types than characters: a sneaky kid who pull pranks, a naive shy heroine, and a grumpy waiter who constantly gets frustrated when anything goes wrong at the hotel. Although they are not fully developed as characters, I find pleasure in watching them....

A consideration of work by Thomas Winkler and Daniel Mendel-Black in the group exhibition “Sand in my Shoes” at Tif Sigfrids

Sand in my shoes I am cruising through the desert The wind is banging on my ear 10 000 miles away from home objects in mirror are closer than they appear There are blue flowers on the sidewalk I´m too fast to watch them grow Buy some frosted flakes and hot dogs while the sun is trying to go How am I driving? How do you do? How can I leave the past behind? Unfinished future, sad and true a bunch of questions on my mind I´m so lucky, I´ve got air conditioner, that´s great! The heat is just illusion Right in the middle of this state the system´s the solution I stop at nine at motel six The only place where i can go Take a shower, swing my hips in a room with HBO Here I am, all dreams fullfilled I am your governor´s lost son There are so many words, I can build using the letters in „Fun in the Sun“. It´s an empty time in an empty town With Ice-cream, orange-juice and white bread I met twentyeight girls in twentynine palms „Hi! My name is Manfred!“ Thomas Winkler, Twentynine Palms, Oktober 2003 © Verlag Heckler und Koch, Berlin   Sand in meinen Schuhen Ich fahre in der Wüste umher Der Wind klopft gegen meine Ohren 5 674 Kilometer weg von Daheim sind die Dinge näher als sie im Spiegel erscheinen Es gibt hier blaue Blumen auf dem Gehweg Ich bin zu schnell, sie wachsen zu sehen Kaufe mir ein paar geröstete Flocken und heiße Hunde während die Sonne versucht, zu gehen Wie finden Sie meinen...