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Destroy All Monsters, Hungry for Death

Printed Matter
195 Tenth Avenue, 212-925-0325
May 30 - August 29, 2009
Reception: Saturday, May 30, 5 - 7 PM
Web Site

Opening Reception, with a performance by C. Spencer Yeh

Printed Matter is pleased to announce Hungry for Death, an exhibition showcasing the work of the band Destroy All Monsters, a Michigan collective consisting of Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, and Jim Shaw, among others. The exhibition will be on view from May 30th through August 29th at Printed Matter’s storefront at 195 Tenth Avenue. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, May 30th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and feature a live set by noted experimental musician C. Spencer Yeh.

Formed at a house party in 1973, Destroy All Monsters’ original line-up (as noted above) played their first gig at a comic book convention (where they were asked to leave after ten minutes) using prepared guitars, a drum machine, tape loops, and various other instruments that created an unorthodox sound of suburban distopian psyche music that was equal parts Stooges, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Velvet Underground, and Sci-Fi B-movie shtick. Operating in this capacity through 1976, the band’s music was accompanied by performances and films as well as a magazine of the same name (which Loren edited through 1979), consisting mostly of collages and prints inspired by sci-fi movies, underground music, political subcultures, and iconic elements of 60s counterculture as it had filtered through to the collective’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. After the departure of Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw in 1976, Ron Asheton (The Stooges) and Michael Davis (MC5) joined the band and Destroy All Monsters entered a second, post-punk phase that was met with popular success with singles such as “Bored/You’re Gonna Die.”

This summer, Printed Matter will celebrate the vision of Destroy All Monsters through an exhibition that will showcase posters, flyers, photographs, blueprints, drawings, banners, magazines, records, and various other ephemera culled from the collective’s archive. Hungry for Death will emphasize material produced in the 70s and following the original collective’s reunion in 1996.

In celebration of the exhibition, Printed Matter will release a new Destroy All Monsters album titled SEXTET, on limited edition vinyl. SEXTET was recorded in 1975, but this is the first time it will be released to the public. The Destroy All Monsters collective will also be re-issuing their seminal 3-CD compilation of recordings, Destroy All Monsters 1974-1976, which was originally released in 1995 on Ecstatic Peace by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley but is now long out-of-print. Several other Destroy All Monsters CDs and multiples are being issued and offered for sale through Printed Matter including a set of ‘Monster Masher’ trading cards, a boxed set of ‘Magik Buttons’ and a series of thrift-store tee-shirts.

In 1995, the original members staged a reunion tour, and since then have appeared in various exhibitions and music festivals. Among the exhibitions in which Destroy All Monsters have been included: “Theater Without Theater, “ MOCBA, Barcelona, Spain, (2007); “Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967,” MCA Chicago (2007); Exhibition and archives at the Magasin Center for Contemporary Art in Grenoble, France, (2006); and “Art>Music (rock, pop, techno)” at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2001).

“Strange Früt: Rock Apochrypha, an investigation of Detroit culture,” began at the “I Rip You, You Rip Me” festival and seminar at the Boyman’s Museum in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1998), and was shown and completed in 2000 at COCA (Center on Contemporary Art) in Seattle, WA (2000) and “Artists Take On Detroit” at the Detroit Institute of Arts (2001). This work was also selected for inclusion in the 2002 Whitney Biennial of Art in NYC.
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