Thursday, October 30, 2014


Folks have asked for years about my earlier art work. As evidenced by #piecesofeight and #everythingbutlenin, most people have realized I'm no fan of nostalgia and therefore it's rare that something I've made finds its way back to INSERT VERB HERE me in the present.  Fortunately for those of you that like a little ego-driven lesson in recent American art school history, I came across some photos in an old email account this morning of work I completed (and then destroyed) as a grad student in the Mount Royal program at MICA.  I exhibited what's here in my final group show, A Spectacle and Nothing Strange, a show name suggested by Karl Marxxx and adopted by some of my awesome classmates who I miss dearly(bonus points for anyone who gets this Baltimore literary reference of the show title). 

Colby with Pom-Pom Bullet, yarn, wire. Hunter, felt, glue.

I was dissatisfied by the artist-as-brand direction I'd been pushed in by Frances Barth at Mount Royal(ironic now, I know!), and I threw out everything I'd made and sat in my bare white walled box with a few folding chairs as the program director and Grad School director, as well as the visiting artist faculty, entered for my final critique. My statement was heard loud and clear.  My favorite visiting artist began to cry while the Director of the Graduate School, Leslie King-Hammond yelled at me for pulling what she termed "a ridiculous art stunt."  But for me, my art has always been about the process rather than the product. The best moments in life are when life is actually happening.  Once you reach the money shot, it's all over and time to clean up the mess.

A study for Hunter, felt, glue. A portion of this work was begrudgingly preserved by Karl Marxxx.

Hunter & Colby and my very relaxing white chair!

Holy Ghost, felt, leather, vinyl, glue

Hunter, felt, glue, astroturf

Hunter, Felt, glue, astroturf

Hunter, Felt, glue, Bat!

Bullet (unfinished), yarn, wire

Untitled, Aluminum, Staples


  1. That stuff was NICE!
    Not to say that you should have kept it, but I have always been more of a fan of object based art than of performance or conceptual work where there is no real (or rigorously formal) piece resulting. all too often the artist's statement becomes more important than any work one can interact with.

    I like what I see as a connection with Mike Kelly (whose work i really thought was great, and who was taken way too soon), and some other people. I'd love to see you do more object based stuff as much as i love seeing your porn persona (which drives me as crazy as it does tons of other gay men!).

  2. Good statement, Mr. Keller.
    It is really nice to see some of your work.

  3. Thank you for sharing these pictures and the story that accompanies them. The work is beautiful and compelling. I can empathize with the destruction of the work and your reasons for taking that path. This, though, seems somewhat disingenuous, "As evidenced by #piecesofeight and #everythingbutlenin, most people have realized I'm no fan of nostalgia and therefore it's rare that something I've made finds its way back to INSERT VERB HERE me in the present." You gave away everything you owned, but you also documented the departure of your possessions in photographs, blog posts, collaboration contracts with the distant people you sent boxes of things to, requests to photograph the sent items as they were used and return those to you and, finally, 950 photos of you putting to final rest the very last of your possessions and the artifacts related to #piecesofeight. You have salted the world with bits and pieces of your past and invitations for some of them to return to you. Whether you want to see those artifacts now or not, I find that lovely and an integral part of what I regarded as the "art" of #everythingbutlenin and #piecesofeight. I can understand a desire to avoid the maudlin and clinging aspects of "nostalgia", but highly regard remembering, reminiscing and using the artifacts of our past to periodically aid us in recasting the story we tell that is ourselves. Recalling the past and envisioning the future are not absences from life or living, they are a vital part of doing so healthily. Revisiting the events of our lives affords us opportunities to celebrate and express gratitude for gifts we have received as well as to heal pain and mend broken parts of ourselves. Support for this seems to be right here in the facts that, consciously or unconsciously, you saved these pictures, found them, shared them with your many loving followers and took the time to include the context in which they were created and now recovered and even bantered with some friends about them. This is how life happens, I think. I love you, sir, and I thank you for this gift of a bit of your personal history and the touch-points that accompanied it.

  4. That aluminum thing is gorgeous. Reminds me a liitle of some of Anish Kapoor's stuff. Thanks for posting these photos even if you were dissatisfied afterwards.

  5. I'm a curator so it's nice to see your work. I'm always happy when your posts veer into the art related. Thanks for the Keren Cytter post. A Spectacle and Nothing strange is from a collection of poems Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein. Eve Fowler recently did a series of posters with them in LA, ironically with the now defunct Colby Poster Printing Company. ;)