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John Hogan’s Thoughts on Mike Kelley and Anita Pace’s Pansy Metal / Clovered Hoof

Posted in guest blog posts, reviews and commentary with tags , , on April 7, 2014 by thejohnhogan
Mike Kelley, Switching Marys (2004-05). Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.

Mike Kelley, Switching Marys (2004-05).
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, via moca.org.

Attending the Member’s Day Celebration of MOCA’s Mike Kelley retrospective with a brutal hangover was my way of opting into total immersion in the Irish Catholic shame Kelley is so famed for deconstructing. Or so my own robust Irish Catholic rationalization process would have me believe.

Mike Kelley with a hangover is like Lawrence Weiner stoned. Not only does it still make sense, it kind of makes more sense. Woozy videos of unwell vampires slumping around CalArts whining about how they’ve been on medical leave, or the slumped and dazed proles of Kandor milling around their pathetic cramped quarters within a swirling bell jar biosphere are all the more existentially poignant when one is prone to actual nausea.

As much as the sadistic barbers, spaced-out toddlers, and wine-soaked harem members of the exhibition felt consistent with my psychic space, my body needed regular doses of fresh air. So I spent a fair amount of time in the impromptu outdoor cocktail lounge set up for the event. At one point I decided to attempt to resuscitate myself with a hair-of-the-dog cocktail of vodka and “blood orange” mixer. It was a bad idea, as the afternoon sun began to bear down and I felt a little worse with each sip. Luckily, it was just at this time that Pansy Metal / Clovered Hoof began, and served as a shot in the arm.

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