December 14th, 7-10pm
The Western Front
303 East 8th Ave
*Entry for this event is free*
Reflections from Damaged Life: a talk on art and psychedelia
The talk will revolve around the connection between art and psychedelic imagery, concepts and practices, and propose that this relationship harbours an unexplored aesthetic potential that art history has failed to address. Instead of the visual culture of the youth revolt of the late 1960s , however, or the retrieval of a lost ‘ism’, this inquiry follows a a path that is non-linear and non-canonical through singular artistic interpretations of how the psychedelic notion of transformation might lead to new possibilities for experience.
A critical reading of art’s relationship to psychedelia must therefore consider how psychedelia has travelled outside of familiar forms and orbits and re-appeared in visual art, such as Latin America’s first psychedelic zine, Marta Minujín’s Lo Inadvertido; the queer acid drag of The Cockettes in San Francisco; and the Perestroika-era, folk psychedelia of the Moscow group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics. These are examples of counter-narratives to the hippies’ metaphysics of love, and other myths of a white West’s recovered innocence. These are instances of how the concept recovered itself beyond a direct relationship to desire, to the ‘tribe’, or to the music scene.
The talk itself will potentially be a challenge to the brain and nervous system as it sets out to dramatize psychedelia’s rich web of associations in a marathon format of three hours.
Lars Bang Larsen is a curator and art historian, who holds a PhD from the University of Copenhagen, where he completed his dissertation on the subject of psychedelic art and culture of the 1960s and its international dissemination. He recently organized Radical Enlightenment: A Symposium on Cybernetics and the Soul (Palais de Tokyo, Paris 2013), and his current exhibition projects include Psychedelism (Raven Row, London 2013), and Concept after Concept: Physiognomy of the Idea (Roskilde Museum for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen 2014). Bang Larsen is a regular contributor to such publications as Frieze, Afterall, and Artforum, and his books include “The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society, 1968” (MACBA, 2010), “The Critical Mass of Mediation” (Internationalistisk Ideale, 2012), “Art and Psychedelia” (Afterall Books, 2013), and “Sture Johannesson” (NIFCA/Lukas & Sternberg, 2002).