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Worth It

Today on the site we’re lucky to feature an excerpt from an essay by Seth originally published in The Devil’s Artisan, on designing The Collected Doug Wright.

In very sad news, the great Mike Kelley died on Tuesday. Mike wrote a phenomenal essay on Gary Panter for the monograph I edited, and most recently we co-curated an exhibition in L.A. He was a brilliant and generous man and one well-versed in everything from Bob Powell to the Art Ensemble of Chicago to Fluxus. This is barely related to comics, I know, but his influence on visual culture was, and will continue to be, massive, and you should know about his work and legacy. His studio and close friends released the following statement, which should be read. Then go out and look at his work.

“Our dear friend the artist Mike Kelley (born 1954 in Detroit) has passed away. Unstintingly passionate, habitually outspoken and immeasurably creative in every genre or material with which he took up—and that was most of them, from performance and sculpture to painting, installation and video, from experimental music to writing in a thousand voices—Mike was an irresistible force in contemporary art and the wider culture. For Mike, history existed only to be reconstructed, memory was selective, faulty and willful and life itself vibrant but often dysfunctional. We can hear him disagreeing with us. We cannot believe he is gone. But we know his legacy will continue to touch and challenge anyone who crosses its path. We will miss him. We will keep him with us.”

-Kelley Studio and Emi Fontana, Kourosh Larizadeh, Paul and Karen McCarthy, Fredrik Nilsen, Anita Pace, Jim Shaw, Mary Clare Stevens, Marnie Weber, John C. Welchman [for all Mike’s many friends near and far]

Elsewhere online, Peggy Burns has a great summation of her experience at Angouleme. Here’s a fine piece on World War III magazine being displayed at MoMA. Oh, and this is an impressive 24-hour comic. Finally, the NY Times probably has the best coverage of the Watchmen debacle. It’s sad and stupid and hardly worth commenting about because what should we expect from such a cynical company? We could expect better, but that’s actually foolish at this point. It’s outrageous but not surprising.


5 Responses to Worth It

  1. Pat Palermo says:

    Mike Kelley was the best. Over my desk is a photocopy of a cartoon bunny leaping up in alarm, with the imperative ‘WORK!!’ emblazoned above it, from Kelley. My friend, who was installing a show for Mike and Tony Oursler, mentioned what a fan I was and Kelley gave him the photocopy and graciously autographed it for me. In an art world full of frauds, he was a bona fide genius, and a legend. He will be missed.

  2. BVS says:

    Watchmen has been the goose that lays the golden eggs for over 20 years. just by keeping it in print and leaving it alone it sells and sells year after year. I guess the temptation to finally inject with hornmones and maybe slice it open and see just how much gold you can take out of it at once finally prooved to much to resist.

  3. Joe McCulloch says:

    At this point I’m just hoping DC shoveled out enough money that some of the principals figure they don’t need to work again for a while and do something magnificently wrong. Like, I’m hoping the Rorschach series is nothing but panel-for-panel redraws of Charlton Question strips a la Ryan Cecil Smith’s SF Supplementary File 2, or Adam Hughes collages Dr. Manhattan together out of unused All Star Wonder Woman pages in total defiance of J. Michael Straczynski’s scripts. Or Jae Lee has Ozymandias doing shadow play cat poses in front of monochrome backgrounds for 120 pages while Len Wein narrates his personal history with Alan Moore via caption in allegorical continuance of the good intentions gone to extremes motif. Then the epilogue is a fully licensed and paid-for facsimile edition of Steve Ditko’s Lazlo’s Hammer, offered without comment. I think that would be the popular choice for this upcoming series.

  4. BVS says:

    this would be perfect

  5. MADdelaRosa says:

    Oh man, that is so great.

    That is indeed the best idea I’ve heard so far and the best comment on this whole nonsense.

    And, of course, I totally want to see this.

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