At the AAR from 13 May 10, an Exhibition on Destroy All Monsters, Experimental Rock Pioneers

Cary Loren and Niagara of Destroy All Monsters

From 13 May to 10 June 2010, the American Academy in Rome, in collaboration with the DEPART Foundation and NERO, will present Hungry for Death, an exhibition of ephemera culled from the archive of Destroy All Monsters (DAM). DAM was an influential Michigan artist collective/band of the 70s and early 80s that included two prominent representatives of the contemporary US art scene—Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw—as well as Niagara, Cary Loren, then (in a later incarnation) also Ron Asheton, Michael Davis and others. For a DAM discography see here.






DAM created unorthodox music inspired by proto-punk icons such as the Stooges, MC5, and the Velvet Underground, but drew also on sources ranging from Albert Ayler and Sun Ra to Sci-Fi B movies. This exhibition celebrates DAM’s vision and outsider beliefs and conveys the influences that drove DAM’s artistic expression. The show presents DAM’s posters, flyers, photographs, blueprints, drawings, banners, magazines, and records produced especially in the 1970s, and additional material produced for their reunion in 1996. The Thursday 13 May opening at the American Academy is from 6.00-9.30 PM. Media partner for the exhibition is Rolling Stone Italia.

Hungry For Death, installation views. Above, 0047 gallery (Oslo), 6 November 2009; below, Space Studios (London), 11 February 2010

Among the exhibitions in which Destroy All Monsters has been included are “Theater Without Theater”, MOCBA, Barcelona (2007); “Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967”, MCA, Chicago (2007); and “Art>Music (rock, pop, techno)” at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2001). DAM’s own installation and film “Strange Früt: Rock Apocrypha” (on Detroit rock culture) has shown at the Magasin Center for Contemporary Art in Grenoble (2006), the 2002 Whitney Biennial of Art in NYC, the Detroit Institute of Arts (2001), and the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle (2000). The Hungry for Death exhibition already has traveled extensively, including to New York, St. Louis, Oslo and London.

From the DAM Collective Strange Früt exhibition, Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, “Mall Culture” (painting on canvas, 8 x 11.5 feet). Depicted is the DAM original lineup (Kelley, Niagara, Shaw, Loren)

Captain Future (Jim Shaw, Matta Painting, Niagara and Leo on film set). Copyright by Cary Loren 1975/2010

Hungry for Death is curated by James Hoff and DAM founding member Cary Loren. After the Thursday 13 May Rome opening at the American Academy, the show will remain on view by appointment until 10 June 2010. Please phone +39.06.5846459.

Destroy All Monsters (lineup #3), “You’re Gonna Die”. Released as the B side of “Bored”, idbi 1, 1978

Editor’s PS: the event was a super-smash, with ca. 500 attending the opening, and more than a few hundred making the scene at the Depart/Nero after-party at the Academy that followed….photos below by Corey Brennan unless otherwise noted. For a full photo gallery of the Hungry for Death opening, see the website of Nero magazine.

Above (middle), from right, Elizabeth Sporleder, curators James Hoff and Cary Loren

Credit: Nero magazine

Pictures from the exhibition

9 PM: the Hungry for Death House Band takes the stage. Bottom photo, from left: current AAR Fellow Terry Adkins, AAR Mellon Professor Corey Brennan, James Hoff (partially obscured), Elizabeth Sporleder. Not pictured: Cary Loren. Credits: Nero magazine

Hungry for Death after-party. Top photo credit: Nero magazine


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