Monday, June 25, 2012

A Poem by Martin Kippenberger



I am a bit more than half way through Martin Kippenberger’s biography, Kippenberger The Artist and His Families, (J&L Books, 2011) written by his sister Susanne Kippenberger.  What it thus far lacks in literary grace it makes up for in its density of facts and inclusion of people, places and minor cultural moments.  It is a traveling through a life and time that is specifically German and emphasizes the enfant terrible/irascible genius that was Martin Kippenberger.  As I am only half way through, I do not feel justified in saying more on the book.  What I did want to share though is a poem that Kippenberger recited for his opening at the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum Geneva in 1997, shortly before his death at the age of 43.  Kippenberger was a lot of things, a complicated person who in sense was not more complicated then most but had a volcanic urge and a persistent spastic tick to exercise and transform all of these complexities.  His life seems to have been lived as if he knew it would be reviewed and he took pains to orchestrate this as much as possible in his short but very full life.  There is a desperate sort of genius to that gesture but one that is still fascinating to read about and even more tempting to replicate. 

Kippenberger was never a “writer” although he took mighty stabs at it in various countries.  He of course was a master wordsmith, a comic of language, puns and he had a soft slapping humor with the German language and art world terms.  The below poem is refreshing in light of today’s current art market and structures which has an ever enclosing sense that it is all doomed, irredeemable, or just a giant surface for a logo of cultural attribution.  It is comforting to think of Kippenberger writing and reciting this as he veered toward death.  It makes art seem somehow important, or at least a bit meaningful.


People de la Muse
a typical Artist poem


PEOPLE WHO KEEP YOU WAITING
YEARNERS FOR THE ALWAYS-AVANT-
            GARDE
WHINING BOOKSELLERS
“I HAVE ALL YOUR BOOKS” BOASTERS
CIRRHOISIS OF THE LIVER IS NO EXCUSE
            FOR BAD ART
NOT BORN AN ARTIST
LIFETIME TENURED PROFESSORS
Artist of his generation
Collect small & paint big yourself
Collector with 2 1/2 PICTURES INSTEAD OF
            ONE
CHARITY EVENTS
EXCELLENT ARTIST RESTAURANTS
Sensitive furniture-moving for art
Art-lovers who hate letting you finish what you’re
            saying
WANDERESSES WALKING IN TIME ON
            THE WIDE PATH
ARTISTWIDOWTERROR
POSTHUMOUS ARTIST COUPLES
NO CATALOG CHEAPSKATE-PETERS
BECAUSE OF MISER-FATHERS
ARTISTS WHO PUBLICALY ADMIRE OTHER
            GALLERISTS
UNIVERSALLY-CONSTANTLY-CRITICAL
            NON-MUSEUM-GOERS
$10 SPONSORS AND $18500 VOLUNTEER       
            WORKERS
BUILT MUSEUMS AS AVAILBLE SPACE
            FOR ARCHITECTS & EMPLOYEES
ARTISTS WITHOUT A CORRECT SENSE
            OF SELF-PRESENTATION
IMPOTENT QUEER FISH WITH OR
            WITHOUT POCKET MONEY
ART BUSKERS
DISCOVERERS WHO BUY EVERYTHING
NONDISCOVERIES FLEEING THEREFROM
SHE BIDS IT UP, HE KNOCKS IT DOWN
INTERESTED PARTIES WHO’LL DROP BY
            AGAIN NEXT WEEK
YOUNG GERMAN ART BUYERS IN N.Y.
PEOPLE WHO WOULD RATHER SAY NO
            THAN FAIL
ART WARM
Painted-on gray
PLASTIC GRANDMOTHERS
Attempts at exposing without revealing
DRAWING MOMENTARY FORM
            THROUGH TIME
Chatting up conservative preserves qua art savvy

SUPPOSEDLY INTELLECTUAL HUMOR
Retouched “I KNOW THAT ALREADY” attitude
ECO-PRO & CONTRA-LONGLIFE
            INCINERATORS
Operetta = megapicture
RESPECTABLE PERFORMANCE = lots of
            moss
Re-cabling not de-naveling
SQUARE-CIRCLE-SCRIBBLE-STONESAW-
            FRACTION

“LET’S GO WEST” CURATORS
“LET’S GO SOUTH” CURATORS
Enfant-terrible-critics for everything
WINE LABEL ARTISTS
Reserving 3 pictures (worse than not buying)
Theory-heavy contemporary art

CIAO MEGA ART BABY!




Kippenberger, Susanne, Kippenberg The Artist and His Families, J&L Books, 2011, pp.    197-199.