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Thursday, October 18, 2007

In/Visible Is Up: A Walking Sculpture That Will Talk to You, Maybe Lie to You

posted by on October 18 at 9:30 AM


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.

RSS icon Comments


Was it the war or the drugs or both?

Posted by Touring | October 18, 2007 10:03 AM

i like this photo better than Guy Debord on the phone pole in Waking Life.

I'm out for today. See ya guys "after Midnight, we gonna let it all hang out"

Posted by June Bee | October 18, 2007 10:06 AM

I'm curious: what, exactly, distinguishes his 'performance art' from the symptoms of severe mental illness?

Posted by Greg | October 18, 2007 10:12 AM

ha what a poser, fnarf was doing this in gold lame back in the day

Posted by vooodooo84 | October 18, 2007 10:34 AM

Greg, don't you find it compelling to think that what we, in our eagerness to pathologize, might call "severe mental illness" could be seen in a different way? I'm not saying Kim Jones is insane, but if he were, I would admire him for re-signifying his unique perspective as "art," and I certainly wouldn't dismiss him because of it.

And after listening to the podcast, I am convinced he's not insane, but I'm also thinking of something Salvadore Dali once said: "The only difference between me and an insane person is that I'm not insane."

Posted by Irena | October 18, 2007 10:54 AM

He's insane.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 18, 2007 11:45 AM

That boy needs therapy.

Posted by The Avalanches | October 18, 2007 11:48 AM

This reminds me of that man in Sweden who goes to music festivals and throws poo at people. Has anyone else heard of him? My friend almost got hit by one of his flying turds. I heard at another event he actually went INTO the port'a potty!
Now the security people look out for him, but he now has poo disciples! Oh the poo man. How I fear you.

Posted by ams | October 18, 2007 11:54 AM

Is this guy available this Saturday morning?

Posted by useful | October 18, 2007 12:07 PM

Have you heard about this recent performance art adventure?

On October 5, 2007 Kristin Lucas succeeded in legally changing her name from Kristin Sue Lucas to Kristin Sue Lucas.

In Alameda County Court, the presiding judge who granted the request said:

"So you have changed your name to exactly what it was before in the spirit of refreshing yourself as though you were a web page."

Posted by Gurldoggie | October 18, 2007 12:28 PM

Talk to him? I don't want to come within a thousand yards of him. He belongs in a home.

And for the record, I have never smeared myself with shit nor set fire to any living thing (except myself a few times).

Posted by Fnarf | October 18, 2007 12:38 PM

sorry for besmerching you, fnarf, i was talking about apearance of him on the poll, rather than the rest of his performance

Posted by vooodooo84 | October 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Coming up next: Nosehair art by Richard Lee!!

Posted by artlover | October 18, 2007 4:20 PM

Problem is that things like Pride, Burning Man, Folsom, How Weird, Solstice and Bay to Breakers have made things like mudman completely mundane. I doubt it'll weird out a single person these days. Now when you see a naked guy covered in pink paint with a duck on his head, riding a unicycle downtown it's like, "whatever."

Posted by Anne | October 18, 2007 9:12 PM

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