HISK. Charles de Kerchovelaan 187a. 9000 Gent - 30 06 2008 - 2PM
Screenings / Performances / etc
Monday 30 June 2008 - 2 P.M. - open to the public / free entrance / subscription required
Departing from a close reading of McCarthy's recent Pirate Project, part of his major 2005-06 exhibition LaLa Land and Parody Paradise (Haus der Kunst, Munich and Whitechapel, London), I discuss some of the wider social, political and esthetic questions raised by his work in performance, mega-installation, drawing and video. McCarthy engages with multiple declensions of the piratic including the inheritance of Anglo-European pirate lore, a densely associative redistribution of the pirate persona and the slapstick reconstitution of sea-bandit Americana. These and other resources are overlaid in a zoning system organized around three structures that are also locations--the house boat, the frigate and the underwater world--and then reanimated in a sizzling series of generic and performative interventions that twist and spin the semantics of the maritime buccaneer in a serio-comic centrifuge of artistic, subjective and politcal compulsions. Pirate Project, I will argue, dwells in the distressed social algorhythms lodged between events, historical records, representation, and reinvention. It is the fulfillment of McCarthy’s decade-long interest in both the historical and symbolic potency of the pirate figure, whose actions are caught up a beguiling compound of social and libidinal drives which the artist incorporates, satirizes and recathects. The pirate regime represents a continuous destabilization and revectoring of the violence and desires of the body: it participates in unique forms of community formation and group action; it is subject to special kinds of economic organization; and it engenders important forms of extra-legal, counter-statist dissidence. With video clips from Pirate Project.
John C. Welchman is Professor of art history in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego. His books on art include Modernism Relocated: Towards a Cultural Studies of Visual Modernity (Allen & Unwin, 1995), Invisible Colours: A Visual History of Titles (Yale UP, 1997), Art After Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s (Routledge, 2001), and Vasco Araujo (Lisbon: ADIAC, 2007); he is co-author of the Dada and Surrealist Word Image (MIT Press, 1987) and of Mike Kelley in the Phaidon Contemporary Artists series (1999); and editor of Rethinking Borders (Minnesota UP, 1996). He has written for Artforum (were he had a column in the late 1980s and early 90s), Screen, the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Economist and other newspapers and journals; and contributed catalogue essays for exhibitions at the Tate (London and Liverpool), Reina Sophia (Madrid), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the LA County Museum of Art, the Sydney Biennial, Vienna Museum of Contemporary Art, the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), the Ludwig Museum (Budapest), and the Haus der Kunst (Munich).
Wednesday 25 June 2008 - 7 PM - WIELS Brussels - in English / entrance: 5 euro
John C. Welchman: Lecture on Mike Kelley
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