November 5, 2018 - Kunstverein - Mr. Peanut / Vincent Trasov: Mr. Peanut
November 5, 2018


[1] Vincent Trasov, William S. Burroughs Endorsing Mr. Peanut, 1974. Photo: Jim Chohanik. [2] Angie Keefer, Second Thoughts, 2017. Neon Sign.

Mr. Peanut / Vincent Trasov
Mr. Peanut
October 13–December 1, 2018

Book launch: November 25, 3–5pm, Angie Keefer, Second Thoughts: Selected Writings 2008-2018

Hazenstraat 28
1016 SR Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Instagram / Facebook

"[...] Since the inexorable logic of reality has created nothing but insolvable problems, it is now time for illusion to take over. And there can only be one illogical candidate: Mr. Peanut."
William S. Burroughs

Mr. Peanut…
Mr. Peanut….
we know what you’re thinking: not another white man in a (peanut) suit.
But it’s 1974. (Again)
And he’s running for mayor.
And, imagine. Really. Close your eyes and picture it. He doesn’t speak, he taps, he poses, he passes.
2,684 people vote for the big tap dancing peanut.
What does this say about politics, then?
And – tell us honestly – when, just now, you closed your eyes, and you saw him not in black and white, but full color, with his cane and his top hat, could you imagine yourself NOW, today, tomorrow, going into that voting booth and with your big red pencil ticking off the box next to the name “Mr. Peanut”?
Tell us.
Mr. Peanut… Not just another nut in politics.

The exhibition Mr. Peanut traces the history of Vincent Trasov’s revolutionary alias that ran for mayor of Vancouver in 1974. It includes historical documents, publications, correspondence, video footage as well as more recent drawings of Mr. Peanut by Vincent Trasov.  

Vincent Trasov became Mr. Peanut in 1971. It all started when he was making drawings of Mr. Peanut tap dancing for a stop motion film for the cultural platform Intermedia, and, finding the task tedious, decided to make a life-sized costume instead, skirting the drawing process,  and simply tap dance himself. The name Mr. Peanut stuck. He was in good company. Like many artists in Vancouver connected with the then recently founded art institution, The Western Front (1973—now), working with an alias became the norm. Michael Morris took on “Marcel Dot,” Anne Lee Long became “Anna Banana”, and A.A. Bronson, Felix Partz & Jorge Zontal became “General Idea.” For many of these figures collaboration is crucial. Collaboration and a determined interest in “finding [their] own audiences of like-minded individuals.” This quest was made concrete in 1969 when Trasov and artist Michael Morris developed a decentralized artist network that aimed to connect and exchange with contemporaries. They called it Image Bank. A major retrospective on Image Bank will follow in the summer of 2019 at Kunst-Werke in Berlin.

In a world serviced relentlessly through social media, Image Bank and Mr. Peanut’s practices and methodologies persists, they remind us of how vital it is to continue to question the existing establishments of both art and political institutions.

Within the framework of the Mr.peanut exhibition Kunstverein is also happy to announce the launch of a new book by Angie Keefer entitled Second Thoughts: Selected Writings 2008-2018. This book follows up on Kunstverein’s earlier publication Paper Exhibition: Selected Writings by Raimundas Malašauskas and embodies the second chapter in a series of publications that focus on bringing together the writings of one extraordinary autor whose work has never before been collected in a dedicated single object. Second Thoughts: Selected Writings  2008-2018 is designed by Scott Ponik and will be presented at Kunstverein during Amsterdam Art Weekend, in the presence of the writer herself on November 25 at 3pm. Serving Bloody Caesars.

Kunstverein thanks  the Morris/Trasov Archive, the Helen Belkin Art Gallery and their fantastic team, Scott Watson, Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov, and our (Gold) members, AFK and Ammodo for their support.

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