By Florian Keller
Whilst Andy Kaufman succumbed all of sudden to lung melanoma in 1984, a few of his lovers believed that his demise used to be another complicated prank. Over the former decade, Kaufman had accomplished unbelievable popularity for his extraordinary antiperformances lip-synching the effective Mouse subject music, studying "The nice Gatsby" aloud in its entirety while humans anticipated comedy, asking viewers contributors to the touch a boil on his neck that at a loss for words, pissed off, or angry his audience.
In "Andy Kaufman," Florian Keller explores Kaufman s profession inside of a broader dialogue of the ideology of the yank Dream. Taking as his start line the 1999 biopic "Man at the Moon," Keller brilliantly decodes Kaufman in a fashion that makes it attainable to know his radical schedule past avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his id underneath a multiplicity of personas, enacting the yankee trust that the self can and will be perpetually remade for the sake of happiness and luck. He did this so carefully and regularly, Keller argues, that he uncovered the inner contradictions of the USA s ideology of self-invention.
Keller posits that Kaufman provided a considerably various and maybe stronger common sense of cultural feedback than did extra brazenly political comedians corresponding to Lenny Bruce. proposing shut readings of Kaufman s most vital performances, Keller indicates how Kaufman fastened for the advantage of a regularly uncomprehending public a sustained and memorable critique of the US s obsession with famous person and individualism.
Florian Keller is a fellow on the Institute of Cultural reports, institution of paintings and layout, college of technologies and humanities, Zurich."
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Extra info for Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream
What are the politics at work in aesthetic propositions like these? In Das unsichtbare Meisterwerk (The invisible masterpiece), Hans Belting concisely points out the anticapitalist thrust behind this theoretical stance of conceptualism, stating that the project of artists like Kosuth was primarily directed at a refusal to deliver a marketable work of art, because they would not subject to what they saw as a “capitalist abuse of art” (1998, 459, my translation). In this sense, conceptual art is certainly an exemplary strategy of resistance as put forth by Foster, because its critique functions internally to the system of the art market, and ultimately, the idea was that there would simply be no works of art to be appropriated by, and integrated into, the cultural economy of the capitalist market.
According to Marcus, the cultural phenomenon that was Elvis Presley not just bespeaks “the necessity existing in every culture that leads it to produce a perfect, allinclusive metaphor for itself” (3). Elvis, he argues, is also a presentation, an acting out, a fantasy, a performance, not of what it means to be American—to be a creature of history, the inheritor of certain crimes, wars, ideas, landscapes—but rather a presentation, an acting out, a fantasy of what the deepest and most extreme possibilities and dangers of our national identity are.
But what if Kaufman’s strategy of political critique was neither that of avant-gardist transgression nor postmodernist resistance? ” More recently, Foster seems to 40 – THE LIMITS OF TRANSGRESSION have taken recourse to the concept of a transgression, for in his book The Return of the Real (1996), the notion of an avant-gardist aesthetics of transgression surfaces again. Here, one of Foster’s theoretical enterprises is to counter a thesis from Jean Baudrillard, who has argued that the advent of multinational capitalism is in fact synonymous with an “end of subversion” within the domains of art and culture (quoted in Foster 1996, 128).