New York

Mike Kelley, Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile

Metro Pictures / Artists Space

The Los Angeles-based artist Mike Kelley made one of his periodic New York forays with a triple-threat show, a multiformat statement presented as a gallery exhibition (at Metro Pictures), a book (published by New City Editions and Artists Space, 1986), and a performance (at Artists Space), all with the same three-part title: Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile. The simultaneous multiplicity of media seemed to sharpen Kelley’s thought-skewers; his polytropic ideas throbbed with a compelling urgency, given form in all three media by means that were more confidently economical and more focused in presentation than his previous performance/exhibitions. Not that the force behind them—Kelley’s persona of equal parts Iggy Pop, Pere Ubu, and Michel Foucault—came off as any less nose-thumbingly playful, painfully earnest, or simply outrageous.

The visual works laid out images and themes

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