Art Fag City at The L Magazine: Man Dresses Like Baby at Burning Man, No One Shocked

by Karen Archey on September 28, 2009 The L Magazine

Paddy Johnson, the L Magazine, Mike Kelley, Michael Smith, A Voyage of Growth and Discovery
Installation view, A Voyage of Growth and Discovery. Image via SculptureCenter

This week’s column at The L Magazine discusses Mike Kelley and Michael Smith’s Burning Man-themed exhibition A Voyage of Growth and Discovery at SculptureCenter. The teaser below.

Baby IKKI’s was a journey of self discovery and enlightenment, whatever that means. Picture a diapered dude in a motor home hurtling dangerously towards the New Age traveler/radical self-expression festival Burning Man, and you’ve got a scene from Mike Kelley and Michael Smith’s latest video collaboration. Now on view at the Sculpture Center, A Voyage of Growth and Discovery includes six projection screens amidst unpainted playground scaffolding, a tent filled with stuffed animals, and a large gong at the back of the gallery. In other words, the space looks like a giant fine art carnival in which spectacle and the fantastical intermittently produce linear narrative.

“It’s like a retreat for suburban Candy Ravers,” I told my friend, while watching three women wearing vampire teeth grind on Baby IKKI at one of the Nevada dessert raves. “…or the largest display of temporary public art in the country,” he countered. He was probably right, but the art snob in me was running thick enough that I hadn’t thought about it in that way. Instead, I mentally swept the festival under the vague cultural heading “events piggybacking insubstantial rhetoric about personal growth on other dubious claims about the higher purpose of art.”

To read the full piece, click here.

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