by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp
The short-lived German artist Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997) made a rambunctious art that is of a piece with his grandly uninhibited personality. Legendary for a hard-drinking lifestyle that frequently involved singing and stripping to his underwear, Kippenberger somehow, magically, could animate a scene (notably in Cologne, his home base) with a special avant-garde creativity. He took his act around the world, and is now famous not only for an imaginary global subway system but also for artworks made on hotel stationary. The last U.S. survey of his work was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1991, six years before he died of liver cancer at the age of 44.