Tuesday, June 4, 2013

farewell, mule


When I was a young man living in Texas a friend of mine moved into a house that had been inhabited by an artist. In the garage of that house various art supplies had been abandoned along with several video tapes. One of the tapes contained the Monkee's unbelievable rock opera "Head", another presented only a handwritten label that said "Otto Mule" [sic]. If you've ever seen the work of Otto Muehl, you know what a treat we were in for. Group sex in a swamp, minutes and minutes of a woman having food and other goop of questionable substance thrown at her, some guy taking a shit, etc., all with some kind of sado-masochistic unsettling high art sentiment framework. Adding to this was the remarkably poor quality of the footage. I had never, not have I since, seen anything like it. Well, it turns out that Muehl had been living in a Portuguese commune for the last thirty years and died this week. If you can track these films down I wish you luck and enjoyment. Being at work right now, it is probably best that I don't do an image search. But here's a good quote from the NY Times obit:

“Although they now look rather like home movies from a scatology cult, it’s difficult not to be nostalgic about these films,” Mr. Miles wrote. “The sobering knowledge that they appeared in the same year as ‘My Fair Lady,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ helps us see just how far outside the popular realm Muehl has always operated.”