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

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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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