KIPPENBERGER, Martin. Sehr Gut / Very Good. [Berlin]: [self-published], [1979].

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Sehr Gut / Very Good.
[Berlin]: [self-published], [1979].

Folio (430 × 305 mm), pp.44 (inc. covers) folded sheets printed on yellow paper. 104 black-and-white illustrations; light wear and short closed tears to top edge. An excellent copy.

First edition. Sehr gut / very good is an anthology compiled and published by Martin Kippenberger with contributions by a number of New York New Wave artists including Beth B and Scott B, Robin Winters, Charlie Ahearn, Colen Fitzgibbon, Lydia Lunch, Tom Otterness, and Eric Mitchell, together with German arrtists including Hans-Peter Feldmann, Meuser, Tabia Blumenschein, and Kippenberger himself, who provided four contributions: 'Forceblessing by Kippenberger'; '1/4 Century One of You'; 'After all dad on t.v.'; 'Strahlmann aus dem öffentlichen Leben.'

In 1979 Kippenberger briefly stepped in to manage the Berlin club S.O. 36 (Süd Ost 36), where he hosted bands such as Throbbing Gristle, Red Krayola, Scritti Politti, and Wire. S.O. 36 was the equivalent of New York's CBGB, and was a central venue of the German New Wave.

'As Diedrich Diederichsen has noted, "[Kippenberger's] social energy, his impatience . . . demanded a rather different mode of artistic communication, something with quick results and answers and more dynamic social circumstances—as in the more performative arts of that time, from rock music to New German Cinema." This tendency toward the immediate coincided with the phenomenon of non-musicians picking up instruments and forming bands as part of New York’s No Wave movement (of which Kippenberger, who invited No Wave stars Lydia Lunch and James White, aka James Chance, to perform at S.O. 36, was well aware). So it comes as no surprise that during a stay in New York the artist took the opportunity to make his debut recording, with Eric Mitchell and Christine Hahn from the New York scene, as a "band" called Luxus...

Yet while many No Wavers (including Hahn) were also visual artists, it may be that Kippenberger, who had once pursued professional acting, was playing the role of a drummer or a vocalist, on his records or onstage (and in addition to the role of a club manager, a garrulous drunk, the great artist, etc., his performativity extended far beyond the conclusion of No Wave circa 1980). Nevertheless, the Luxus project stands as a reminder that the artist’s emergence is inseparable from those of the original punk and post-punk movements, and that he is often associated with the “punk generation” of artists. Certainly his various upendings of art-world protocol gave him a kinship with the punk music enfants terribles of the time, and the various defacements of popular music found on Musik speak to this as well—because in his own mind, for Kippenberger to make music was just as inevitable and just as ludicrous as for Kippenberger to be ranked in the twentieth-century pantheon' (Licht).

Koch, U. Annotated catalogue raisonné of the books by Martin Kippenberger 1977-1997, (3), p.41; Licht, A. 'Front Man', Artforum January 2011.


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