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Hell on Wheels

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Will the full project ever be constructed? Miro hopes so: “He saw the house as a living work of art, something that would never die,” she says. “It was a repository of so much of where his art came from.” She notes that Kelley signed the contract with mocad and Artangel the day he committed suicide. “In our minds, and I hope in the minds of those who were administering his estate, this was a signal to them—that he wants this to go ahead.”

Kelley himself, in the Whitney catalogue, was less straightforward. “As public art, intended to have some sort of positive effect on the community in proximity to it, it is a total failure,” he wrote, noting that he doubted there would ever be sufficient funding for its programs. That was also perhaps the point he was trying to make, about failure. “Public art is a pleasure that is forced upon a public that, in most cases finds no pleasure in it.” When I read that line to Lingwood, he was philosophical. “There’s a lot of truth to that.”

2012 Whitney Biennial
Whitney Museum of American Art.
Through May 27.


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