clusterfuck aesthetic


At the moment two local shows exemplify this chaos theory: Jon Kessler’s whirling-dervish CNN inferno at P.S.1, which is desperate in ways that respond to our quasi-desperate times, and Mike Kelley’s high school/hell house/Lawrence Welk extravaganza at Gagosian, which seems desperate for its own sake but still finds Kelley attempting to deepen his familiar themes. Both installations come on in waves of wall-to-wall pandemonium and will strike many as unbearable. Both echo architect Renzo Piano’s idea that harbors are “imaginary cities where everything keeps moving.” Kelley’s “city” is a high-production, multiplex trip into the id; Kessler’s is a homemade journey into the group mind. In each, visual syntax is dislocated, onslaught initially overwhelms order, cognitive functions are strained, and surfaces multiply. Kelley’s “Day Is Done” is like a variety show scripted by a regression therapist and is far more ritualistic, fictional, and Broadway musical than Kessler’s unabashed reality-based foray into politics and terrorism.

more from Salz at the Village Voice here.