Myopia. The Mark Mothersbaugh exhibit at MCA-Denver. Through April 12.
Devo’s amazing “Whip It” was perfect video fodder for 80s MTV. For many of us Devo exemplifies the 70s New Wave (which Devo actually predates) to what became an 80s aesthetic with their red “energy domes” and hazmat suits. Their bright, angular, (seemingly) cold, clean, symmetric, repetitive, factory-produced, artificial, keyboardy, irreverence was firmly rooted in 60s counter culture and the milieu around the 1971 Kent State killings (Devo are alums). You cannot separate the music from their highly visual style — an influential vision unique to the mind of Mark Mothersbaugh.
Amazingly, Myopia, the ongoing exhibit of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver is his first. As it was a Denverite, Adam Lerner, who encouraged Mothersbaugh to reveal the rest of the iceberg, of which Devo is only the public tip, the Mile High City is the starting point (it will move to other cities during the year). His art utilizes different approaches (de-evolution being one) and media, while maintaining a unity. After viewing the source material, Devo starts to make more sense. Myopia fleshes out and makes warm what can otherwise be seen as plastic and aloof. Although Devo embraced digital, video, (and digital video!), and despite a cookie-cutter facade, there is a human behind it after all. And, as a bonus, that human, Mark Mothersbaugh, performed in the flesh at a related event, at the Holiday Theater in Denver on January 22. When it comes to a town near you, use your Freedom of Choice!read more Posted in Musings