Mike Kelley / Paul McCarthy ‘Fresh Acconci’, 1995
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
NYC Museum of Modern Art
Fresh Acconci – Modern Art
Hey It may not be your type of Art … but its in a lot of museums and Art history Books … so it impressed the hell out of the stuffy modern art crowd. Its cool and interesting that this film with Heather in it is actually shown in major Museums around the world and is used as study curriculum within the Art departments of many universities. You can rent a full version from the NYC Metropolitan Museum of modern Art for several hundred dollars per day …. you only get a peek here … imagine the rest!
Other Art Reference Commentary and Links:
Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy’s Fresh Acconci (1995) is fresh in that it is new, with the pair remaking seminal 1970s video pieces by Vito Acconci. But it is also fresh in the way we might refer to a back-talking child. Kelley and McCarthy restage these once intimate videos, placing them in the context of Hollywood and the porn industry. While Acconci’s videos are sparingly staged and naturally lit, this updated version features naked models in a sun-streaked Hollywood hills mansion. The original stand-alone pieces, now sandwiched together into one cyclical 45-minute video work, become a nightmarish playhouse that the performers cannot escape. In choosing to cast glamorous models to play the actors (unlike previous collaborations between the pair where they themselves performed), Kelley and McCarthy are commenting on their own feelings of entrapment by Acconci’s legacy. Yet at the same time, the artists are making an Oedipal attempt to break free of it. In an earlier collaboration, Family Tyranny (1987), the two artists explore the relationship between an abusive father and his son (performed by McCarthy and Kelley, respectively). That video begins with the text, “The father begat the son. The son begat the father.” With Fresh Acconci exploring and criticizing the idea of artistic patrilineage, it could have opened with the very same lines.
Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy have collaborated on the realization of a a considerable body of work since the ‘eighties. Together they have created performances, installations and videos such as “Family Tyranny” (1987), “Heidi House” (1992), “Fresh Acconci” (1996) and “Picabia/Powers”.
‘Fresh Acconci’ (1995) began as Kelley and McCarthy’s response to a then current resurgence in body-art. The video and production stills show Kelley and McCarthy’s re-staging of several of Vito Acconci’s video performances from the 1970’s. Through a series of mass-cultural devices and conflations, Kelley and McCarthy present the Acconci of the 1970’s through an approach to the body that has been popularized in the art world of the 1990’s. Acconci’s performances are re-staged and intentionally misrepresented through contemporary art direction, which mimics soft-core pornography, the use of professional actors, and genre formulations such as the haunted house film.
“Sod and Sodie Sock Comp. O.S.O”
The exhibition by Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy at the Secession will consist of a new installation/video work built in and designed especially for the site. ‘Sad and Sadie Sack’ consists of an architecture composed of American military tents, various tunnel systems and military paraphernalia. The installation will also serve as the set for a single channel video work which will contain documentation of the piece during its installation as narrativized through ‘Sad Sack’, a children’s comic book about American military life. Kelley, McCarthy and a larger cast of performers will use the installation in a number of improvised and scripted scenarios, addressing military themes through the writings of Georges Bataille, Wilhelm Reich, and Clement Greenberg.The installation will also be used to stage a live performance with Japanese noise musician – Violent Onsen Geisha. ‘Sad and Sadie Sack’ is a continuation of an earlier performance with Violent Onsen Geisha. ‘Sad and Sadie Sack USO Tour’ performed in 1996 at P-house Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.
‘Organs’ consists of two plastic chord organs, one owned by Mike Kelley the other by Paul Mc Carthy. Although unacquainted with each other at the time, both Kelley and McCarty loaned these separate but nearly identical organs to Hermann Nitsch for his presentation of the ‘Orgies Mysteries Theatre’ in Venice, California in 1978. Recently Kelley and McCarthy discovered that they both still owned the organs. ‘Organs’ re-unites McCarthy’s broken organ, with its resulting random drone, with Kelley’s organ which has keys taped down to produce a specifically chosen chord. The resulting sounds formed the background drone for Nitsch’s performance. Utilizing these instruments the artists accompanied by Violent Onsen Geisha, will perform duets of new organ music at the opening of the Secession exhibition.
‘Out o’Actions’ was made as a memorial to Kurt Kren and chronicles Kelley and McCarthy’s organization of the Visitors’ Gallery for the inaugural exhibition of Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object 1945-1979. Kelley and McCarthy have decided to represent this footage using the editing structure of Kurt Kren’s documentation of the action ‘Mama and Papa’ (1964). Seen through the filter of Kren’s editing structure, this documentation of Kelley and McCarthy’s curatorial preparations can be seen as performative activity itself. Simultaneously, two separate cuts, both using Kren’s editing structure are projected on opposing walls forming a flickering hallway.
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