Return of the Repressed: Destroy All Monsters 1973–1977
by Nicole Rudick
The influential Detroit “anti-rock” group Destroy All Monsters (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, Jim Shaw) made raucous music, irreverent art and legendary zines, performing and disseminating their activities through an elaborate self-mythology. The Destroy All Monsters zines have been reprinted in facsimile editions, but the art objects made by the members have never been examined as independent works. Return of the Repressed: Destroy All Monsters 1974–1977 is the first retrospective of the artwork itself, as well as a DAM overview. Produced in collaboration with the artists, it collects the work of the collective between circa 1974–1977, almost all of which is previously unpublished. Included are dozens of candid photographs of the group and their environs by DAM member Carey Loren, which serve as both documents of a proto-punk group at its height and snapshots of the collective’s often hilarious attempts to construct identities as characters in the larger Destroy All Monsters mythology; early prints and drawings by Jim Shaw that show the seeds of his later work, and remain powerful images; a voluminous quantity of drawings and etching by Mike Kelley, often of monsters and political personalities, that indicate the artist’s anarchic roots; and hitherto unseen drawings and prints by Niagara that show the heady imagination and sure-footed line that would continue to serve her well. Return of the Repressed leaves off just as DAM shifted into the now legendary rock band with Niagara at the helm.