Mike Kelley died yesterday. My favorite piece by Kelley is the installation ‘Pay for your Pleasure,’ which was originally put in the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in 1988. A hallway is lined with pictures of Baudelaire, Wilde, and those sorts of people, with quotations from each of them about the artist’s (necessary) transcendence of moral constraints:
I ERECT MYSELF AT THE EXACT POINT WHERE KNOWLEDGE TOUCHES MADNESS, AND I CAN ERECT NO SAFETY RAIL.
THE FACT OF A MAN BEING A POISONER IS NOTHING AGAINST HIS PROSE. ‘OSCAR WILDE’
IN OUR OH-SO-CIVILIZED SOCIETY IT IS NECESSARY FOR ME TO LEAD THE LIFE OF A SAVAGE.
THOSE WHO RESTRAIN DESIRE DO SO BECAUSE THEIRS IS WEAK ENOUGH TO BE CONSTRAINED.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND LAWS. I HAVE NO MORAL SENSE. I AM A BRUTE.
At the end of the hall is one of J.W. Gacy’s clown paintings.
The society’s website has the complete text.