Hidden Histories: Mary Kelly: The Practical Past

BOMB Magazine - Art Review - November 15, 2017

“The personal is political,” a phrase popularized by the writer and activist Carol Hanisch when she penned a polemic by that name in 1969, became a familiar rallying cry for the second-wave feminist movement in the early 1970s. Though over the years its meaning has been misinterpreted, and at times intentionally coopted for purposes entirely different from its radical origins, at its core “the personal is political” might be summarized as such: that the actions, relationships, and behaviors that compose one’s intimate life are of significant consequence in the power structures constituting the greater systems of a society and culture. Very few U.S. artists have embodied this concept as fluidly and as consistently as Mary Kelly, whose current exhibition, The Practical Pastat Mitchell-Innes & Nash is both a reckoning of the artist’s own life experiences and a consideration of how these fit into the larger rubric of history.


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