Saturday, December 28, 2013

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - Bitch, I Love You

Garry Davis, Man of No Nation/World of No War, Dies at 91

Garry Davis, Man of No Nation Who Saw One World of No War, Dies at 91

On May 25, 1948, a former United States Army flier entered the American Embassy in Paris, renounced his American citizenship and, as astonished officials looked on, declared himself a citizen of the world.

Carl Gossett/The New York Times

Garry Davis, dean of the One World movement, in 1956. He had his own flag and passport, and often his own jail cell.
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The New York Times

In 1948, five years before starting an agency to issue passports, Garry Davis distributed handbills in Paris. A stateless man, he was a relentless force behind a movement to erase national borders.
In the decades that followed, until the end of his long life last week, he remained by choice a stateless man — entering, leaving, being regularly expelled from and frequently arrested in a spate of countries, carrying a passport of his own devising, as the international news media chronicled his every move.
His rationale was simple, his aim immense: if there were no nation-states, he believed, there would be no wars.
Garry Davis, a longtime peace advocate, former Broadway song-and-dance man and self-declared World Citizen No. 1, who is widely regarded as the dean of the One World movement, a quest to erase national boundaries that today has nearly a million adherents worldwide, died on Wednesday in Williston, Vt. He was 91, and though in recent years he had largely ceased his wanderings and settled in South Burlington, Vt., he continued to occupy the singular limbo between citizen and alien that he had cheerfully inhabited for 65 years.
“I am not a man without a country,” Mr. Davis told Newsweek in 1978, “merely a man without nationality.”
Mr. Davis was not the first person to declare himself a world citizen, but he was inarguably the most visible, most vocal and most indefatigable.
The One World model has had its share of prominent adherents, among them Albert Schweitzer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Einstein and E. B. White.
But where most advocates have been content to write and lecture, Mr. Davis was no armchair theorist: 60 years ago, he established the World Government of World Citizens, a self-proclaimed international governmental body that has issued documents — passports, identity cards, birth and marriage certificates — and occasional postage stamps and currency.
He periodically ran for president of the world, always unopposed.
To date, more than 2.5 million World Government documents have been issued, according to the World Service Authority, the group’s administrative arm.
Whether Mr. Davis was a visionary utopian or a quixotic naïf was long debated by press and public. His supporters argued that the documents he issued had genuine value for refugees and other stateless people.
His detractors countered that by issuing them — and charging a fee — Mr. Davis was selling false hope to people who spent what little they had on papers that are legally recognized almost nowhere in the world.
What is beyond dispute is that Mr. Davis’s long insistence on the inalienable right of anyone to travel anywhere prefigures the present-day immigration debate by decades. It likewise anticipates the current stateless conditions of Julian Assange and Edward J. Snowden.
Mr. Davis, who spoke about the One World movement on college campuses and wrote books on the subject, seemed impervious to his critics. In a voice trained to be heard in the last balcony (he was once a Broadway understudy to Danny Kaye), he would segue with obvious relish into a series of minutely reasoned arguments concerning the need for a world without nationalism.
“The nation-state is a political fiction which perpetuates anarchy and is the breeding ground of war,” he told The Daily Yomiuri, an English-language newspaper in Japan, in 1990. “Allegiance to a nation is a collective suicide pact.”
The quest for a unified earth was an objective on which Mr. Davis had trained his sights very early. It was born of his discomfort with a childhood of great privilege, his grief at the loss of a brother in World War II and his horror at his own wartime experience as a bomber pilot.
Sol Gareth Davis was born in Bar Harbor, Me., on July 27, 1921, a son of Meyer Davis and the former Hilda Emery.
Meyer Davis was a renowned society orchestra leader known as the “millionaire maestro”: at his height, he presided over an empire of 80 ensembles — employing more than a thousand musicians — which played at debutante balls, national political conventions and White House inaugurations.
Garry was reared in Philadelphia in a glittering milieu in which the family car was a chauffeured Rolls-Royce and family friends included Bob Hope and Ethel Merman. As a young man he was considered unserious, he later said, known for roguish wit but lacking direction.

After studying theater at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Mr. Davis made his Broadway debut in October 1941 in a small role in “Let’s Face It!,” the musical comedy. He was also the understudy for its star, Mr. Kaye.
Associated Press
Mr. Davis ran for the United States presidency in 1988.
Then the United States entered the war. Mr. Davis and his older brother, Meyer Jr., known as Bud, went overseas — Bud with the Navy and Garry with the Army Air Forces, flying B-17 bombers. Bud Davis did not return: he was killed in 1943, when his ship, the destroyer Buck, was sunk off the coast of Italy by a German submarine.
That, and a dark epiphany during a bombing run over Brandenburg, Germany, Garry Davis later wrote, would alter his life’s course.
“Ever since my first mission over Brandenburg, I had felt pangs of conscience,” Mr. Davis wrote in a 1961 memoir, “The World Is My Country.” (The volume was later reissued as “My Country Is the World.”) “How many bombs had I dropped? How many men, women and children had I murdered? Wasn’t there another way, I kept asking myself.”
The other way, he came to believe, was to eradicate conflict by eradicating borders.
In November 1948, six months after renouncing his citizenship in Paris, Mr. Davis stormed a session of the United Nations General Assembly there.
“We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give,” he proclaimed. “The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of total war.”
His act, reported worldwide, earned the support of the intelligentsia, including Albert Camus, and of the French public, so recently racked by war. Less than two weeks later, speaking at a Paris auditorium, Mr. Davis drew a crowd of 20,000.
In 1949, Mr. Davis founded the International Registry of World Citizens and was soon inundated with requests to join from around the globe. “We’re bigger than Andorra,” he told The Boston Globe in 1981, when the registry was a quarter-million strong.
Today, more than 950,000 people are registered world citizens, according to the World Service Authority, based in Washington.
Mr. Davis, who lived for long periods in France, appeared on Broadway a few more times in the early 1950s, including in a revue called “Bless You All” and “Stalag 17,” the prisoner-of-war drama. But the One World imperative occupied him increasingly.
In 1953, he founded the World Government of World Citizens. The demand for its documents proved so brisk that he established the service authority the next year.
More than half a million world passports have been issued, though there are no statistics on the number of people who have successfully crossed borders with them. A half-dozen countries — Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Mauritania, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia — have formally recognized the passport. More than 150 others have honored it on occasion, according to the service authority.
Fees for the passport range from $45 (valid for three years) to $400 (for 15 years). The passport has text in seven languages, including Esperanto, the artificial international language.
Carrying world passport No. 1, Mr. Davis spent decades spreading his message, slipping across borders, stowing away on ships, sweet-talking officials, or wearing them down, until they let him in. The newspapers charted his comings and goings:
1949: “Garry Davis Arrested in Paris”; 1953: “Garry Davis Held Again: Arrested When He Camps Out Near Buckingham Palace”; 1957: “France Expels Garry Davis”; 1979: U.S. Court Rules ‘World Citizen’ Davis Is an Alien and Rejects His Passport; 1984: “Japan Expels American ‘World Citizen’ ”; 1987: “ ‘World Citizen’ Announces Presidential Bid.” (It was the United States presidency this time.)
In 1986, Mr. Davis ran for mayor of Washington, receiving 585 votes.
Mr. Davis was arrested dozens of times, usually for attempting to enter a country without official papers. He had canny ways of circumventing authority.
In the 1950s, when France was trying to deport him, he conspicuously shoplifted items from a Paris department store. (His haul, United Press reported, was “$47 worth of peach-colored lace panties, black-silk brassieres, black garter belts, lace petticoats and pink slips.”) He made certain he was arrested.
As a result of his arrest, Mr. Davis was legally enjoined from leaving the country.
Mr. Davis was married two or three times, depending on how one counts. His first marriage, to Audrey Peters, an American whom he courted by mail while detained in France and whom he met for the first time two weeks before their wedding in 1950, ended in divorce. In 1954, the newspapers reported his “marriage” at sea to Gloria Sandler in a ceremony he performed himself; that union, too, was dissolved. His marriage to Esther Peter in 1963 also ended in divorce.
Survivors include a daughter, Kristina Starr Davis, from his marriage to Ms. Peters; two sons, Troy and Kim, and a daughter, Athena Davis, who confirmed her father’s death, from his marriage to Ms. Peter; a sister, Ginia Davis Wexler; a brother, Emery; and a granddaughter.
His other books include “World Government, Ready or Not!” (1984) and “Dear World: A Global Odyssey” (2000). He was the subject of a short documentary, “One! The Garry Davis Story,” released in 2007.
In old age, Mr. Davis was far from idle. Last year, he had a world passport delivered to Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Just weeks before he died, Mr. Davis had a world passport sent, via Russian authorities, to Mr. Snowden, the fugitive former national security contractor accused of violating espionage laws, whose United States passport was revoked in June.
Mr. Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake: The Complete First Series (1980) HD

The Unconscious Rules [Video] Thought, emotion and perception below the level of conscious awareness holds sway over our waking lives

The Unconscious Rules [Video]

Thought, emotion and perception below the level of conscious awareness holds sway over our waking lives

Freud spent much of his storied career trying to unravel how and why unconscious influences affect us. He was undoubtedly right about the importance of subliminal tweaks shaping the way we view the world. But social psychologists have a more modern take on the role of the unconscious, based on more formal methods of experimentation, rather than the case histories Freud used to derive his theories. John Bargh of Yale University provides an overview of what social psychologists have learned about unconscious processes, both in the January issue of Scientific American and in this video of a talk filmed at the University of Missouri–Columbia.
Video Courtesy of the University of Missouri

Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove covering The Beatle's "She Loves You".

Sunday, December 15, 2013

artist statement 12/2013

Julie Paveglio—artist statement 2013

Fantasy is not imaginary
my reality
If I wholly believe it,
objects, paintings, constructions
strawberries, horses
toys, flowers /pink/orange/green/

—without a doubt

grandparents, on either side
collected these things-
the stuffed animals
the statuary
the Egyptian heads
the occult books
        conspiracy theory
the crosses
       his mothers old rosary
pictures when I was young
my parents wedding

                  my love for it was birthed from them
    the paint is my body
  different lands-
the sea and moon
                                    breath and sun

looking to childhood
remembering                       remembering                       remembering                       remembering
remember? remember? remember? remember? remember? remember?

rememberingandtold     through                 adultcircumstance

my heart swells sooooooo biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggg
youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu maaaaaaaaaaaaaaake myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
hearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt swelllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

sooooooooooooooooo biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggg

Friday, December 13, 2013

Filthy Dreams--Emily Colucci on Mike Kelley

Evelyne Axell-John Yau 2012

The Rediscovery of a Forgotten Pop Artist: Evelyne Axell (1935–1972)

Evelyne Axell, "Autoportrait"
Evelyne Axell, “Autoportrait” (1971), felt-tip pen, pencil, gouache on cut paper and glued on metallic paper, 25 ½ x 23 ¼ inches (© Broadway 1602, New York)
The Great Journey into Space is the second exhibition of the Belgian Pop artist Evelyne Axell to be seen in New York. Her first New York exhibition, Axell’s Paradise: Last Works (1971–1972) before she vanished, which I reviewed for The Brooklyn Rail, was also at 1602 Broadway (October 1–November 21, 2009). (Note: The gallery’s name is different from the address, which is 1181 Broadway, third floor). Together, these exhibitions fill a gap in our knowledge of what was going on during the heyday of Pop Art as well as offer viewers a chance to assess the work of an artist who has largely been left out of art history.  An exhibition devoted to the “Erotomobiles that Axell did between 1964 and ‘66, at the outset of her rather short career, would fill out the picture.
In the larger historical context, Axell’s work was included in the important and revelatory exhibition, Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968, organized by Sid Sachs. That exhibition amplified what many people suspected for a long time: men weren’t the only ones to make Pop Art. In fact, many women artists — and here I would include Axell, the American artists Rosalind Drexler and Marjorie Strider, the English Pop artist Pauline Boty (1938-1966) and the Polish sculptor, Alina Szapocznikow (1926-1973) – made Pop Art that critiqued the male gaze and other mainstream assumptions regarding women as objects to be looked at and perhaps even appreciated, like a bottle of fine wine.
(Axell was friends with Szapocznikow and went to England where she met Boty. In addition to being actresses, artists and dying young, there are other parallels between Axell and Boty, particularly in their work, that I think should be explored in a two-person exhibition.)
(Before I discuss the current exhibition of Axell’s work, I would like to advance that there is an alternative history of Pop Art as it is presented by most museums, including the ones in New York. It is a history occupied solely by women, particularly the ones who deliberately subverted the tropes associated with Pop Art, the representation of women being foremost among them. This is the occult history we should be interested in, not another rehash that glorifies Andy Warhol to the point of excluding all else that was going on around him. )
*   *   *
Evelyne Axell, “Valentine” (1966), oil on canvas, gold leaf spray paint with zipper and helmet, 52 ⅜” x 32 ⅝” © Broadway 1602, New York (click to enlarge)
The exhibition focuses on Axell’s interest in space travel undertaken by women. It includes the assemblage painting “Valentine” (1966), which she made in homage to Valentina Tereshkova, who, on June 16, 1963, became the first woman to fly into space. The painting’s gold leaf, spray painted surface includes a white toy astronaut helmet — it belonged to Axell’s son — and a zipper of a white cat woman outfit that the viewer is invited to pull up or down. Behind the zipper, and synonymous with the painting’s skin, is a nude female body, complete with protruding breasts and belly button.
With her hands behind her head, and arms and elbows extending up, Axell’s silhouetted figure shares something with the prostitute in the middle of Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon(1907) and Ingres’ “Venus Anadyomène” (1848). The pose is modern and classical, inviting and self-contained.
Axell’s self-contained women done in high-key colors are the opposite of Roy Lichtenstein’s crying babes in primary colors and black. This what Martin Filler has to say about Lichtenstein in “Cool: Roy Lichtenstein & Andy Warhol,” (The New York Review of Books,June 21, 2012): “In 1957, the critic Thomas B. Hess called Antonio Canova, Neoclassical sculptor of icily perfect marble nudes, ‘the erotic Frigidaire,’ but that epithet might better be applied to Lichtenstein.” And throughout their careers, weren’t Tom Wesselman and Mel Ramos right there with Lichtenstein, humming merrily along?
Warhol focused on women’s faces, while Axell never shied away from calling attention to women’s breasts and genitalia. She wasn’t interested in dividing the head from the body or in being subtle.  When she did do portraits, it was of Angela Davis.
In “Self Portrait (1971), which is done in felt tip pen and gouache on cut paper, Axell utilizes the flat graphic style that served her well throughout her career. Her face is surrounded by cascades of black hair, which become the top of a dress that exposes her breasts. She is wearing glasses (her signature image), and the circles of the frames echo the circles of her breasts.  Axell’s recurring use of eyeglasses in her work openly challenges the sentiment expressed in Dorothy Parker’s well-known ditty: “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” In “The Painter (Self Portrait)” (1970), which is done in enamel on Plexiglas, and not in this exhibition, Axell depicted herself wearing glasses. She is nude and holding a loaded paintbrush in one had and a bucket of paint in the other. In cosmonaut Tereshkova, Axell recognized a metaphor for complete liberation from the rules of men. Her flight became synonymous with the desire for freedom, fantasy and the erotic imagination.
Axell’s female cosmonaut presents an alternative view to the one found in Robert Rauschenberg’s silkscreen images derived from the mass media or Gandy Brodie’s lone figure floating in space.
*   *   *
While Axell briefly studied painting with Magritte, it seems very likely that she also got a view of the erotic from Jane Graverol (1905 – 1984), a woman painter in Magritte’s circle.
 *   *   *
Jane Graverol,"L’Esprit Saint"
Jane Graverol,”L’Esprit Saint” (1962, courtesy private collection, Dilbeek, Belgium, © DACS 2009)
In 1969, Axell organized a “Happening” at the opening of her exhibition at the Richard Fonke Gallery in Ghent.  A number of photographs were taken of the event, and some of these are included in the current exhibition. The “Happening” consisted of a young woman wearing nothing but an astronaut’s helmet. Against a background of “lascivious” music, Axell, who is wearing dark sunglasses, slowly dressed the woman in panties, nylons, bra, slip, and a form-fitting dress with a zipper, of course. The woman’s identity is never revealed. Afterwards, a raucous debate about the sexual revolution, led by the French critic Pierre Restany, took place.
*   *   *
Evelyne Axell, "Happening"
Evelyne Axell, ”Happening” (1969), series of black & white photographs documenting a happening for the opening of Axell’s exhibition at the Foncke Gallery Ghent, Belgium, 28 x 23 cm(© Broadway 1602, New York; click to enlarge)
Although Axell’s career lasted less than a decade (1964 – 72), she created distinct bodies of work, explored different non-art materials, including Plexiglas and felt tip markers, and seemed always to be pushing herself in a new direction. She painted, made assemblage paintings, sculptures, prints, and a partition.
Her recurring subject is the relationship between a woman’s body and the erotic imagination. She links that imagination with speeding cars, tropical islands, and women astronauts—a desire for complete freedom.  She was, one might say, the star in her own movie; and it is funny and biting, filled with hot and cool colors. She has revisited Gauguin’s Tahiti and, except for an occasional appearance by Tarzan, removed all the men. In this and her depictions of a staged self, Axell anticipates Cindy Sherman. The difference is that Axell both embraces and revels in the overheated and erotic, while Sherman goes to great lengths to suppress it. Axell’s female is both indolent and in control. There are no signs of anxiety in Axell’s paradise, while Sherman’s alter ego never achieves such a state of liberation and hedonism.
Evelyne Axell: The Great Journey into Space continues through July 27 at Broadway 1602 (1181 Broadway, third floor, Herald Square, Manhattan).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mike Kelley By Tony Oursler-- Artforum Magazine May 1, 2012,%202012&subSection=By%20Tony%20&title=Mike%20Kelley

Mike Kelley
By Tony Oursler
Published in Artforum Magazine
May. 1, 2012
WE MET AT THE SUPER SHOP, the wood and metal shop at CalArts. He was a smallish guy with slicked-back hair and skin that looked like it had plagued him since adolescence. It was his soft eyes, though, that contradicted the overall tough-guy look of khaki pants, 'Nam-vet boots, and ragged T-shirt, the cutoff sleeves revealing his skinny arms. I'd seen the guy puttering around, making some kind of strange boxes, but it was the image on his T-shirt that struck me: a freaky, drooling caricature from the Basil Wolverton-inspired Odd Rods series. This was an unmistakable icon from my pre-adolescent days. I loved those bubble-gum cards: The Odd Rods were an alternative to baseball cards for kids who were into custom cars and hot rods. They were cheaply printed and bore images of demented, pockmarked, scrotumlike characters who emerged from smoking muscle cars with phallic stick shifts, leaking saliva, motor oil, and general effluvia in equal amounts. To me, these images are renderings of the brain of a male adolescent, out of control, under the influence of hormones. They were the first of many things over which Mike and I bonded.

Shortly after we met, Mike asked me whether I wanted to start a band. He had seen a few of my tapes (I had just recently put down the brush and picked up a video camera to make a series of black-and-white reel-to-reel videos with titles such as Joe, Joe's Transsexual Brother and Joe's Woman [1976]) and he liked the way I used my voice. We discussed the fact that he'd had a band in Michigan, Destroy All Monsters, with his friend Jim Shaw. The rest is history, as they say, and we began the frustrating and fruitful project known as the Poetics.

First, let me give a little context to CalArts circa 1975. The school is nestled in lovely grass-covered hills just next to Interstate 5, some thirty minutes north of Los Angeles. There was nothing in the area except encroaching cookie-cutter suburban homes that spread like mushrooms along blacktop ribbons. The hills burned, and at night it was like living in a Bosch painting with nowhere to go. Misfits from all over the place gathered there to study music, film, dance, and art. Among them were Jim Casebere, Christopher Williams, Dorit Cypis, Ericka Beckman, Sue Williams, Jonathan Lasker, Ashley Bickerton, Stephen Prina, Bill Wurtz, Jim Shaw, and John Miller. Teachers included Judy Pfaff, John Baldessari, David Askevold, Douglas Huebler, Jonathan Borofsky, and Michael Asher. John Cage was in residence. The swimming pool was nude. Alain Robbe-Grillet came to speak. And Mike was building strange birdhouses down in the Super Shop. These beautifully made wooden structures seemed perfect, yet on closer inspection they were completely wrong; the entrance holes were too small or in the wrong place. They were designed to trick and confuse the birds. This was my first encounter with Mike's work. In retrospect, the birdhouses were signature Mike: First we are struck by an anarchic and often biting humor, which unfolds to reveal a deeply mysterious yet considered logic, which then evaporates back into our world, leaving us to ponder our predicament.

In LA, Mike discovered swap meets and music, and scouring the two scenes became habitual for him. I'm sure that his weekend ritual of walking enormous fields of all kinds of cultural detritus for sale delighted him and sparked his mind. I remember talking about how much he liked the way the sellers arranged their disparate goods, laying out marvelous juxtapositions of fluorescent buckets, toys, wigs, electronics, and clothes organized by color or texture. The swap meet became our art-supply store. Later, I would feel echoes of those days in the formal structure of Mike's moving and fragile stuffed-animal pieces.

Mike had heard of a band called the Screamers, and we went to see them a number of times at the Whisky a Go Go, because Mike thought that the singer was doing something new--a hybrid between performance and music. We found all the small clubs and saw X, Human Hands, and Circle Jerks, and we paid $1.50 to be in a Devo video. One of our favorite haunts was Los Burlesqueto, an all-Hispanic transvestite club featuring a surreal and glamorous lineup of singers with names like the Real Donna Summers. Punk music was actually dangerous in those days; we were once clubbed by riot police at a show that was being shut down. We knew about Tony Conrad's music and films, and somehow he appeared on our doorstep in Hollywood; within a few days we were dressed as sad-sack enlisted men in a field along a godforsaken freeway, shooting a few scenes for Tony's movie Hail the Fallen I (1981).

Music, for Mike, was a way of exploring ideas about performance, collaboration, and friendship, and the Poetics were no exception. The first iteration of the Poetics was a threesome with Don Krieger. We were not much more than a sketch of a group with a small organ, a drum box, and an Echoplex. Around 1977, we began various projects such as a radio show, a sound track, and a janitor-gone-Bauhaus-style dance piece involving mop poles, titled The Pole Dance. Mike had a pile of squeeze toys and plenty of whoopee cushions that were put to good use, making liquid, gaseous sounds while submerged in buckets of water. And Mike was a drummer, so there were always percussive materials about, ranging from a classic drum set to faux-rubber Indian toy drums. I kept a notebook of the brainstorming sessions, replete with pasted-in lyrics and schematics that we passed around. Twenty years later, we mined the notebook to realize some of the unfinished plans we had, which led to the Poetics Project installations.

Jim Shaw, Mike's Destroy All Monsters bandmate and best friend, had migrated west with him. Jim occasionally sat in on guitar for the Poetics, and I think we had some of our first rehearsals in his studio. In those days, I associated Jim with the toxic smell of latex and airbrush. Jim and Mike were always casting udders or monsters or entrails, objects that emerged from the filth and detritus unique to art schools. Jim was the most amazing guitarist, who often played the electric with a knife rather than a pick and worked with tape effects in ways that would be radical even today. Mike was passionate about the drums and he seemed transported by the cacophony he could produce with them. While playing, he would go into a rapturous state, assigning meanings to the beats: military, polka, heavy acid, disco, garage, thunder, Indian, hippie. Out of these sessions came songs as well as invented characters. One persona that stood out was the Dream Lover, who was always accompanied by an up-tempo beat and a cowbell. The Dream Lover danced around like an idiot onstage, smelling flowers and laughing a low, submoronic laugh, like a cartoon character just before the anvil drops on its head. I remember Mike playing the Dream Lover beat and laughing hysterically. A host of other characters followed: Crazy Head (half man and half woman), the Vein Fucker, the Boneless Sack of Flesh, Heathens in Limbo, the Comedian (some kind of failed Rat Pack guy who told nonsensical jokes), the Crowd Pleaser (everyone enjoys an enormous penis).

Crossover was in the air in those days. At CalArts, Mike and I took a performance class with Laurie Anderson, who at that point had pretty much given up on performance art and was focusing on music. Performance artist Julia Heyward was talking about visual records--a fusion of film and music--long before MTV. Dan Graham came to speak and blew me away. Mike was also there with his friend Kim Gordon, who would go on to alchemically alter music and art. The idea that art could pass into the realm of pop culture had great appeal to Mike and me. Somehow, a side effect of studying conceptual art was that we came to believe that there could be new ways of making movies and TV shows as well as theater. The Poetics really operated as a think tank for performative ideas, but also as a kind of male bonding. The band morphed as various members came and went, with Mike on drums and me singing, mostly, and we eventually played a few gigs here and there, famously emptying the room.

POP ART HAD POINTED US in this direction, but we were determined to go further, lower, and harder. In the mid-'70s, Mike was emerging from the spell of the Detroit scene: the Hairy Who, Blue Cheer, Iggy Pop, R. Crumb. I watched Mike destroy piles of old drawings in his studio at CalArts, and it was part of his process of reformation and self-mythologizing, double takes on his past. A kind of looping back and regurgitation ran through his work right to the end. I can't help but think that watching him sift through the Jim Nutt-like images from his Ann Arbor days was an early step in this process. Many of the drawings that were saved from the trash that day were painted over in the late '80s and re-presented. Mike was obsessed with keeping certain histories alive while rewriting and creating others.

The Poetics Project, our large-scale collaborative work from the late '90s, was a reworking, reexamination, and continuation of many of the projects we started in the '70s. We remastered the old music and made a new CD, Critical Inquiry in Green. We fleshed out and videotaped The Pole Dance with choreographer Anita Pace. Building half of the installation in Los Angeles and half in New York, we accrued a giant snowball of material. We created new forms by combining installation elements designed in the '70s. We invited key figures from that time to populate our art via video projection: Alan Vega, Arto Lindsay, David Byrne, and Laurie Anderson, to name a few. Mike understood that history is possessed by those who write it, and he was determined to harness that power. All artists drag their pasts into the future, consciously or not, but Mike's brilliance lay in his ability to amplify the strong ideas so they resonated, shedding new light on the past and suggesting unexpected paths forward. Versions of The Poetics Project traveled to New York, Barcelona, Kassel, London, Paris, and Tokyo. In Japan, we fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing Kabuki theater, and Mike laughed so much he cried when watching a particularly lewd seduction scene between an octopus and a sailor. In Paris, we rang in the millennium in an ecstatic, drunken mass of people on the Place de la Concorde. Mike ignored the light show, instead fixating on kicking an empty wine bottle across the paving stones, transported by the crazy sounds it made. By the time we installed the project at Metro Pictures in New York, four of the Poetics had been represented by the gallery for many years. The Poetics Project was hailed by the New York Times as the "most irritating show in New York City." Mike loved that quote, and we laughed about it many times over the following years.

One image that was important to Mike and his work was psychologist Harry Harlow's famous research into maternally deprived monkeys in the 1950s. The experiments involved charting the psychological effects of replacing a monkey's mother with milk-dispensing replicas made of either wire mesh or soft terry cloth. In the early '80s, a blowup of a baby monkey latching onto a crude replica of a mother hung high on the wall of Mike's studio, like an icon to aspire to formally, psychologically, and aesthetically.

In Educational Complex, 1995, Mike charted his own education by examining every space he'd attended during his education. The work linked architecture and suppressed memory with pop-cultural memes of abuse, which seemed inextricably woven into the self-analysis victim culture of America in the '90s. From talk shows to tabloid magazines, it seemed that everywhere lurked satanists, serial killers, abusive priests, Janus-faced violators of every form. In the same way, Mike's phenomenal Day Is Done project of 2005 can be read almost autobiographically, although I didn't realize it at the time. It was only when I viewed the single-channel videos a few years after the multimedia installation that I recognized some of the stories that undoubtedly came from his youth (the barbershop sequence in particular). It's not important in any way that these works resemble actual events in Mike's life, but it is important that they were a sort of exorcism of what he saw as the banalities and falsehoods of constructed culture-whether it be the 4-H club, the church social, the high school play, the cheerleaders, the classical family unit, or monogamy. He rejected these social systems as means of repression, exclusion, and division.

This relentless deconstruction of his own personal history, of what Mike saw as the falsehoods around him, took its toll in an existential crisis that I believe led to his demise. I remember discussing the Viennese Actionists with Mike, and how they played with rituals similar to those with which we both had grown up in the Catholic Church. In fact, I think he took part in a Hermann Nitsch performance in Los Angeles in the '70s, an event I really wanted nothing to do with. One of our friends had a psychotic episode during the performance, which involved copious amounts of blood and animal entrails. Somehow it seemed to us that Nitsch was simply replacing one empty ritual with another. (As we would later learn, the failed Actionist commune that we had so admired sadly replaced one abuse for another.) The Irish Catholic upbringing Mike and I shared continually posed these questions and remained a strong bond between us. I always valued Catholicism for its magical thinking, if for nothing else. I remember discussing with Mike the value of being taught to believe in things that others didn't believe existed and that could never be proved, how it was somehow akin to artmaking. But in the end, Mike had a dark view of this process, seeing it as cold, empty, and, finally, meaningless. His religion was now art.

Not to say that Mike was humorless on the subject; he mined this history, for example, when producing his felt-banner series "Half a Man," 1987-1991. Throughout the next thirty years of our friendship, we continued this deeply funny exploration of Catholicism, including one collaborative performance from 1983 at Beyond Baroque called X-C, as in "ex-Catholic." We both thought plaid was quite sexy. Of course, all the girls in Catholic school wore plaid skirts, resulting in a lampshadelike pleated prop. We titled this "Sex of Plaid," which had to be matched with "Sex of Tie," in reference to the phallic neckties that symbolically choked us in our youth in Catholic school. And as worked on the script, the black-and-white priest's collar became analogous to the gap-toothed mouth of a teenage girl gone bad, having become drug-addled and a member of a biker gang. We also constructed a "Bloody Tooth" and a "Bloody Nail." In X-C, much of the sound track was prerecorded and involved heavy layers of organ music, a kind of church music turned psychedelia. Naturally, the use of wine in transubstantiation worked its way into the performance, with gallons of cheap Gallo overflowing during the performance, covering the stage. We left it a bacchanal mess, and it was so late that we missed our appointment to clean the space the next morning-with disastrous results. An AA meeting was scheduled there early the next day. We both felt terrible because they had to hold their meeting in this room that stank of cheap wine.

WHILE I PREFERRED the eye of the camera, Mike preferred the frenetic anxiety of live performance, and he began to work on a string of performances with titles such as My Space I, 1978, The Monitor and the Merrimac, 1979, and Parasite Lilly, 1980. While the Poetics continued, we also helped one another with our separate projects. We were part of a loose group of young artists trying to get things done: John Miller, Jim Shaw, Mike, and I swapping cameras, instruments, books, music, lending a hand. Mike would perform in my tape The Loner, 1980, and I would be a stooge in his performances.

We both made props for our projects, and we thought of them as disposable-which gave them a certain freedom, as they were made simply and directly; we were surprised to find, in the process, that we had ended up making artworks, too. Mike's props were marvelously inventive, equal parts Bauhaus and county-fair science project. He would operate megaphones, cardboard tubes, tinfoil, speakers, which would later morph into his sculptures and drawings. In fact, many of his early exhibitions really came out of his performances-for example, our 1980 three-person exhibition with Mitchell Syrop at lace, "By-Products." Or his first Metro Pictures show in New York in 1982, which included Monkey Island and Confusion and which marked the beginning of a long relationship with directors Helene Winer and Janelle Reiring. At Metro there was a mix of objects and images that were once animated by the magic of his performance and now held their own as drawings and paintings. Mike was a magnetic and captivating performer, and he generously shared this talent by acting in works by Ericka Beckman, Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, and others.

At the core of both of our projects was language. We were both interested in a kind of kaleidoscopic art form, wondering at all kinds of combinations of text, music, performative actions, images, and sculpture that came almost out of nothing: Some plastic garbage bags, string, blocks of wood, a dime-store plant can, a cassette player, and a cardboard tube became an intricate system of oration performed by the sublime and dark Mike Kelley. A natural writer, Mike had studied literature as an undergraduate, and his poetic use of language was stunning when combined with his unique droning voice. He had a gift for understanding and transforming low or "base" materials, as he called them, and in his hands a bowl of mud would become a psychosexual volcanic landscape as he pressed a clean white cup into it while incanting, "Raise a rim around it," over and over. He yelled through long tubes, banged big drums while doing dances; he would quiet down and place a small paper flower on his chest, mesmerizing the audience as the flower pulsed to the beat of his heart. One of his first public invitations, "My Space" at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in 1978 (curated by Richard Armstrong), involved moving his head and measuring distances around a plant that was negatively affecting his thoughts. Finally, Mike attacked the plant and ripped off a few leaves, and a collective gasp of horror emanated from the audience. Mike thought that was the funniest thing-people believing that plants had feelings, a sign that hippie culture was still alive and well in Southern California, even though something else was happening: Mike was original punk.

Unfortunately, many of Mike's early performances are documented only in photo and script form, if at all. He refused to allow them to be filmed, stating that they should exist only in the moment. As far as I know, there are only two videos of these early pieces: The Monitor and the Merrimac, 1979, at Hallwalls in Buffalo, and Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile, 1986, shot at Artists Space in New York, a phenomenal performance he backed musically in collaboration with Sonic Youth. I recently saw the Hallwalls video for the first time and was catapulted back in time to April 30, 1981. Before performing, Mike would hang out in a bathroom, pacing, revving up for the event, running through things in his head, hitting a small whiskey flask, and running cold water into the blocked sink. He would splash his face over and over until his T-shirt was soaked, pull his pants away from his belly and shovel icy water onto his genitals, and, for good measure, dunk his head into the sink with the alarming thud of bone bouncing off porcelain. Then he would slick his hair back and be ready to go, perfectly tuned, clearheaded and in the zone. The poetry would flow, drums would beat, Mike would stomp around with some black plastic sacks attached to his feet, hide in a tent, wear a dunce cap, and lie among some cones as a white cloth rose up and down above his crotch in syncopation with a dim bulb.

A few years later, in 1983, Mike made his first videotape, Banana Man, and I came out to Minnesota to watch and help. The following year Mike came back to Buffalo to perform in Evol, for which I had taken over an old TV studio in a rotting, abandoned Elks lodge. On the same trip we both performed in Tony Conrad's legendary work in progress "The Jail Movie," where we all play women in prison. And in 1993, we collaborated on White Trash and Phobic, an installation that pitted two droning, projected effigies of Mike and me in opposite corners of a darkened room. In a trance state, Mike describes everyday scenarios such as walking in an orchard; all of them end with the same claustrophobic outcome: "You can't move, you're stuck, you can't breathe, you can't get out."

Later, Mike's "Kandors" series, 1999, fixated on his obsession with the comic books of his youth. Mike insisted on going deeper and deeper into the minutiae of Superman to an absurd degree, drawing the lonely allegory of Kandor, Superman's lost home, which had been depicted differently by numerous comic artists through the years. I can't help but see this as the existential endgame for Mike, after he had decimated his own history and much of American culture. He was now looking at the home he could never return to, producing haunting replicas, glowing multicolored towers that were lacking in detail due to the great distances, psychological and otherwise, involved. Again I had the feeling that Mike was digging deeply into his past, but this time the results were disturbingly sealed in a bell jar. One of his final projects, Mobile Homestead, 2010, is a sweeping public work based on a disquieting image of the artist's childhood home-freshly painted white, conspicuously empty, uprooted, mounted on wheels, and aimlessly hauled around Detroit by a big rig. Mike described the video that he was producing for the house and some of the plans to use the house as a creative catalyst in Detroit. He was excited about the video and how it explored the streets and shops of his beloved native city; he was fascinated by how the city lived on after the economic meltdown. It's a portrait of eccentric survivors, stubbornly rebuilding after the deconstruction of an American dream, and I wonder whether Mike was looking for a way forward in this work. He would revel in our confusion.

While writing this piece, I leafed through the Poetics notebook and found the following poem:

Hey, I'm Mr. Poetic
A worker in aesthetics
I work to make the mundane mysterious
I work to make the unimportant serious