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PRINT April 2003

’80s THEN

Mike Kelley

DENNIS COOPER: The early ’80s were hugely formative for LA art. It was, for instance, the first time that CalArts graduates started to stay in the city, rather than moving to New York. Yet on the surface, the local art world was still pretty dull and provincial.

MIKE KELLEY: Most activities were taking place in alternative spaces like LACE [Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions] and LAICA [Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art] rather than in galleries. I don’t think LA was any more provincial than other art centers of the period. Artists here were mirroring the various international phenomena; for example, LA had its own version of neo-expressionism with painters like Andrew Wilf and Roger Herman and Gronk. Like everywhere else, there was a lot of attention on painting, which led to an odd assortment of artists bonding together.

DC: I credit you, as well as the video artists Bruce and

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