new-york

Mike Kelley

It’s gotta be sheer coincidence that Mike Kelley’s exhibition opened the same month that Superman officially died, but the end of an era of a red-white-and-blue super hero couldn’t be a more fitting backdrop to Kelley’s take on another media cliché of masculinity—the suburban handyman. In his do-it-yourself universe, the basement bricoleur sets up shop to custom craft a Primaling Cabinet, an Orgone Shed, a Colema Bench, a Kneading Board and a Torture Table (all works 1992), and other spooky items indispensable to a highly idiosyncratic version of the pursuit of health and happiness. Kelley scripts a pseudo-American male persona that is part Jeffrey Dahmer, the power-tool-wielding, homebody mass murderer; part Bob Villa, the yuppie self-sufficiency expert of This Old House; and part “the sensitive naked man” on Saturday Night Live.

The composite sketch of a subversive, right-wing, and new-age

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