Reconstructed History, 1989

Basel 2016
ink on printed paper, mounted on paper
Reconstructed History is a series of 50 ink drawings created by Mike Kelley in 1989. Using fragments of aged schoolbooks, Kelley graffitied pre-existing images with profanity and lewd scribbles. In these unique illustrations he explored the found textbook as a medium, imitating how tomorrow’s leaders of society – the next generation – make their mark on the past through the act of defacing textbooks with doodles and notations – signifying their own ‘reconstruction’ while moving towards the future. Often humorous, these juvenile images unveil a new way of looking at American history icons and challenge traditional attitudes towards history, as well as questioning the societal and cultural values embedded within the system of education.