Mike Kelley’s writings

JUDD AND JORN, NEWMAN AND GRAHAM, Asher and Smithson—when the writings of a visual artist are published, the question that immediately arises is how the texts relate to the larger oeuvre. Explanation, expansion, justification—do they constitute an entirely separate project, as with Judd? Or should they be seen as an extension of the work, as was the case with Smithson and, even more so, with younger artists close to Mike Kelley like Frances Stark, Jutta Koether, and John Miller. The first volume of Kelley’s writings, Foul Perfection—essays and criticism (poetic works, texts as parts of artworks, lectures, and more will appear in two forthcoming volumes)—seems initially to have been assembled not by the author but by the editor, John Welchman, who comments on and annotates some of the texts as if this were an exhibition catalogue rather than a collection of writings.

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