Mike Crane conducted new research about the West Texas landscape for History in Hell, a multi-faceted project that his time at Chinati helped bring nearer to completion. Originally conceived while in residence at the Drawing Center in New York, the project will comprise 50 graphite drawings of documents from the artist’s personal archive. These range from guerrilla army pamphlets to rave party fliers to archeological catalogs. Beautifully rendered as if printed, the drawings form a collage compilation of concepts of hell.
Crane’s new project is both an evolution and departure from previous bodies of work using time-based media. Past projects have involved professionals enacting their areas of specialization in meta situations constructed by Crane. The staff of a Palestinian television station investigated private and public debt under military occupation in a teledrama co-produced by the artist. Consistent throughout his work is an interest in the documentary techniques and revolutionary politics of Third Cinema. He points to his own biography, having grown up in Bogotá while America’s War on Drugs fueled an ongoing civil war, as an almost uncomfortably close object of his current investigation.
Mike Crane received his MFA from Hunter College University of New York and his BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art. He is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a 2020 Sachs Program for Arts Innovation fellow. He is a recipient of the 2015 Creative Capital visual arts grant for his work that was included in the Kienema program of documenta 14 (Athens). Crane’s most recent film, Cutting the Mushroom, premiered at the 2021 New York Film Festival.