October 21, 2008

Notes on Kippenberger at MOCA

This is the best image I could find of the famous photograph of Kippenberger after he was beaten up: "Rioting punks had beat up the former manager of the SO 36 Club in Berlin because they found the price of beer there too high." (Source). A blown up small digital foto of a painting of a photo of the convalescing artist... a placeholder until I can find the exact image.

This was the image I was hoping to find upon entering MOCA's The Problem Perspective, because nothing says "problem" better than a swathe of bloody bandages.

I was a bit let down by the show as shown. Doug Harvey's reference to the artist as a "sleazy trickster" was spot on, and as I cruised the galleries on Grand Avenue, I kept wishing that the curator kept that spirit alive. Instead, I felt that Kippenberger was demystified, overly explained. The work exhibited seemed categorically arranged... I mean, if you went all the way upriver to see Colonel Kurtz, the last thing you would want to hear is an analytic exposition of any kind.

At one point, the show finally snapped together for me. I wasn't feeling it... I wasn't feeling it... why wasn't I feeling it? It wasn't as if there was something missing in the show (other than the foto of his bandaged head), the show was packed with his astounding production... it was just that...

...there was too much... and too organized too. As I cruised through the galleries, one in particular stood out. I've roughed up a drawing in sketchup of the room:

Here, Kippenberger's assemblages are cordoned off and taking up the core of the space, no doubt his design. On three walls, his working drawings -sketches, and noted/dimensioned plans for the sculptures in the center of the room. As you exit, you'll find on the wall, a collection of fotos of the sources of his inspiration, beautiful corners and material incident, what I would imagine were the sources of epiphany for him. Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe this is how Kippenberger had shown his own work? But then....



Especially with MK. How can you sit down for a coffee with a Don Genero and not get bewildered and pissed off from time to time? Could Merlin appear on What's My Line?

Well, maybe he could:

A misleading man he was.

And if Dali was, certainly more so was Martin Kippenberger*.

So why not present the artist in this spirit as well? Kind of like what Bernardini wrote: "...ambiguity and astonishment."


*an important parenthetical: Or was he?
Off to the bookstore for the catalog and bio!

Posted by Dennis at October 21, 2008 10:08 AM

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