Arts In/Visible Is Up: A Walking Sculpture That Will Talk to You, Maybe Lie to You
posted by October 18 at 9:30 AMon
Around 1974, Kim Jones, a former painter and sometime sculptor, became a sculpture himself. He called it “Mudman,” and it meant him wearing a latticework of sticks on his back, and covering his body in mud and his head in pantyhose—but interacting with people more or less normally, which often, well, freaked them out.
As Mudman, Jones walked the streets of Los Angeles and, later, New York. He gave performances that included smearing himself in his own shit while hacking at beer cans with a machete he got during his tour in Vietnam, and burning live rats to death, repeating something he and his fellow Marines had done during the war. (The rat act got him sent to court and put on partial probation.)
In his retrospective opening Friday night at the Henry Art Gallery, documents from those performances join sculpture, installation, ever-evolving war drawings, and a timeline of his life that includes snapshots from his time in Vietnam and begins with a newspaper photograph of him when he was crippled from a polio-like disease as a child.
At Friday’s opening, Jones will perform Mudman for the first time in a while. Before you meet him there, listen to him talk, on this week’s In/Visible podcast.