Pay for Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon

University of Chicago Press
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Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, and Raymond Pettibon—these Southern California artists formed a “bad boy” trifecta. Early purveyors of abject art, the trio produced work ranging from sculptures of feces to copulating stuffed animals, and gained notoriety from being perverse. Showing how their work rethinks transgressive art practices in the wake of the 1960s, Pay for Your Pleasures argues that their collaborations as well as their individual enterprises make them among the most compelling artists in the Los Angeles area in recent years. Cary Levine focuses on Kelley’s, McCarthy’s, and Pettibon’s work from the 1970s through the 1990s, plotting the circuitous routes they took in their artistic development. Drawing on extensive interviews with each artist, he identifies the diverse forces that had a crucial bearing on their development—such as McCarthy’s experiences at the University of Utah, Kelley’s interest in the Detroit-based White Panther movement, Pettibon’s study of economics, and how all three participated in burgeoning subcultural music scenes. Levine discovers a common political strategy underlying their art that critiques both nostalgia for the 1960s counterculture and Reagan-era conservatism. He shows how this strategy led each artist to create strange and unseemly images that test the limits of not only art but also gender roles, sex, acceptable behavior, poor taste, and even the gag reflex that separates pleasure from disgust. As a result, their work places viewers in uncomfortable situations that challenge them to reassess their own values. The first substantial analysis of Kelley, McCarthy, and Pettibon, Pay for Your Pleasures shines new light on three artists whose work continues to resonate in the world of art and politics.
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About the author

Cary Levine is assistant professor of contemporary art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jun 11, 2013
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780226026237
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / General
Art / History / Contemporary (1945-)
Art / Individual Artists / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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American art museums flourished in the late twentieth century, and the impresario leading much of this growth was J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, from 1969 to 1992. Along with S. Dillon Ripley, who served as Smithsonian secretary for much of this time, Brown reinvented the museum experience in ways that had important consequences for the cultural life of Washington and its visitors as well as for American museums in general. In Capital Culture, distinguished historian Neil Harris provides a wide-ranging look at Brown’s achievement and the growth of museum culture during this crucial period.
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In this monumental book Harris brings to life this dynamic era and exposes the creation of Brown's impressive but costly legacy, one that changed the face of American museums forever.
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