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Mary Reid Kelley in "History"

Artist Mary Reid Kelley invites family members to perform with her in elaborate costumes and punning verse to create her new video The Syphilis of Sisyphus (2011) based upon her witty, feminist interpretation of aspects of the French Enlightenment.

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Series Created By: Susan Dowling & Susan Sollins. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve Moros Ortega. Associate Curator: Wesley Miller. Director of Production: Nick Ravich. Production Coordinator: Ian Forster. Consulting Director: Charles Atlas. Editor: Lizzie Donahue. Director of Photography: Paul Gibson & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Patrick Christensen, Judy Karp, Mark Mandler, & Roger Phenix. Gaffer: Alan Hostetter. Key Grip: Anthony Mussolino. Best Boy: Chris Caiati & Brian Sachson. Production Assistant: Steven Klink & Logan Needle. Makeup: Eddie Casson. Assistant Editor: Crystal De Boulet, Dahlia Fischbein, Bahron Thomas, & Alex Zustra.

Art Direction and Design: Open, New York. Online Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voiceover Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editor: Margaret Crimmins & Greg Smith. Sound Mix: Cory Melious. Sound Assistant: Steve Giammaria. Artwork Animation: Frank Ferrigno. Graphics Animation: Urosh Perishic.

Artworks Courtesy of: Marina Abramović; Glenn Ligon; Mary Reid Kelley; Fredericks & Freiser, New York; Pilar Corrias Gallery, London; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Archival Footage & Photography Courtesy of: Bettmann/CORBIS & Mary Reid Kelley.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Bill Abdale; Mick Bello; Tanya Brodsky; Eric Brucker; Pat Casteel; Rick Compeau; Ralph Cuccurullo; Matt Dilling; Keith Eland; EMPAC, Troy, New York; Gary Hahn; Erin Jones; Patrick Kelley; Samara Levenstein; Lite Brite Neon; Sheila Lynch; Danica Newell; Graham Newhall; Jim Powell; Micah Pruisner; Juliet Reid; Alice Reid Pruisner; Scott Rothkopf; Beau Rutland; Keith Shapiro; Peter Superti; Stefan Superti; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Steve Wylie; & Nora York.

Curatorial Advisory Council: Rachel Blackburn Cozad, Kris Douglas, Gary Garrels, Karen Higa, Margo Machida, Marti Mayo, Jill Medvedow, Anne Pasternack, John Ravenal, Paul Schimmel, Katy Siegel, & Judith Tannenbaum.

Additional Art21 Staff: Daniel Barrett, Carrie Caroselli, KC Forcier, Joe Fusaro, Jessica Hamlin, Claudine Isé, Marc Mayer, Jonathan Munar, Heather Reyes, Kelly Shindler, Sara Simonson, & Diane Vivona.

Interns: Alex Abelson, Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler, Lucy Healy-Kelly, Clara Jo, David Levine, Maren Miller, Molly Nathan, Tayo Ogunbiyi, & Persis Singh. Bookkeeper: Valerie Riley.

Public Relations: DKC Public Relations. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman.

Major underwriting for Season 6 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Broad Art Foundation, The Japan Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.

Mary Reid Kelley

In videos and drawings filled with punning wordplay, Mary Reid Kelley presents her take on the clash between utopian ideologies and the realities of women’s lives in the struggle for liberation and through political strife, wars, and other historical events. Performing scripted narratives in rhyming verse, the artist, with various family members, explores historical periods through fictitious characters. Adopting a stark black-and-white palette while synthesizing art-historical styles such as Cubism and German Expressionism, Reid Kelley playfully jumbles historical period to trace the ways in which present concerns are rooted in the past.

“When I make video works, I love the idea of people coming back to them and seeing them over and over, and always get something new.”

Mary Reid Kelley

History Reimagined

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