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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01rx913s21f
Title: Martin Kippenberger and Mike Kelley: The Artist Persona and the Precarious Middle Class
Authors: Reitz, Chris John
Advisors: Foster, Hal
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Art market
Kelley
Kippenberger
Neoliberalism
Subjects: Art history
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is an analysis of the work of artists Martin Kippenberger (German, 1953-97) and Mike Kelley (American, 1954-2012) in the context of postwar political and economic internationalization, particularly between West Germany and the U.S. It describes the tactics that they developed to engage imported and imposed aesthetic vocabularies and to navigate a nascent international art market. Central to the analysis is the concept of the artist persona, a figure implied in the artists’ work, writing, and art-world behavior that merged the punk rock antagonism of their local countercultures with the painterly idioms—principally abstraction and Pop—championed by art schools, fairs, and galleries as the visual language of international culture. Although these artists came from very different backgrounds (Kippenberger grew up in an economically booming West Germany while Kelley was from the declining American Midwest), their personae were performed in response to the same confluence of social, cultural, and economic phenomena developing in step with 1970’s and 80’s Western globalization: the emergence of post-1968 anti-idealism; the rise of neoliberal economic policies and, with them, the production of a new, entrepreneurial socio-political subject; and the emergence of a global art market, one increasingly dominated by transnational galleries, group shows, and art fairs and biennials. In their early work, Kippenberger and Kelley used their personae to mimic the effects of internationalization on their local middle-class cultures. However, these personae, which were adaptive, hyper-productive, and flexible with respect to style and media, proved well suited to the art market emerging between West Germany and the U.S. As they became popular in this transnational market, their personae were tasked with mapping the complex of spaces, educational practices, and production methodologies that called for transitive art objects and art makers—a kind of exchangeability that was increasingly built into art works and the lives of artists. Finally, at the very end of their lives, when their work and personae were all but transformed by their transitivity, Kippenberger and Kelley started to explore modes of disconnecting as a way to disrupt this international network and to preserve some vestige of their selves.
URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01rx913s21f
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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