by Laura Hutson
Look for an interview with mega-talented artist and printmaker Michael Krueger to commemorate this year's Nashville Print Revival in this week's dead-tree Scene. I jumped at the chance to speak with Krueger and wasn't able to fit a pretty sizable chunk of the story I wrote about our conversation in the paper — namely, the bit where we discussed his involvement in a documentary about Drop City. Luckily, the Internet is more forgiving with its space restrictions.
Read that part of our interview below, and look for the print story when issues hit newsstands on Thursday.
“Most recently,” Krueger says when pressed about his artistic influences, “I've been drawn to a lot of art from hippie communes. I got involved in this Drop City documentary project a few years ago, and I did the animation for it, and in doing so I got really involved in meeting some of the original droppers.” Drop City, Krueger explains, was the first hippie commune, and it was started by artists at the University of Kansas who bought land in Colorado in 1965.
“Working on the doc just led me deeper and deeper into this world, and I've been really interested in looking at the artwork made in different communes in the country, and even in Europe. There's a very psychedelic quality to them, as you can imagine. But there's also an interesting parallel to what was being done by Jasper Johns and Rauschenberg — found objects, combine paintings and appropriation was all being done in the communes as well."
“The Drop City story is really fascinating — it matches the whole arc of the era. There's this great optimism for change and radicalism and ideals and freedom, and then drugs take over and then the whole thing falls apart. And in the decline of Drop City you can see that same arc through that generation.”
The bright colors and geometric abstractions of the psychedelic Drop City art are evident in Krueger's work, which borrows just as much from Francisco Goya as it does the margins of his old high school notebooks.
See more of Krueger's work at his artist lecture and visits at Vanderbilt and Watkins this Thursday and Friday. More information is available at the Nashville Print Revival website.