A comics collage meets critical essay, Failure Biographies remakes 1940s horror and science fiction comic books into a book-length biography of artistic failure.
A metal-faced boy opens his mouth, and the words of Dadaist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven come out; s/he asks Djuna
Barnes to send money. A laboratory beaker of green goo narrates the story of conceptual artist Pope L.’s quest to clone Martin Luther King Jr. A woman plummeting through space recites Marta Minujín’s letter to the McDonald’s corporation; she proposes to cover the Statue of Liberty with hamburgers.
Additional subjects include Fluxus artist Benjamin Patterson, filmmakers Pere Portabella and Alice Guy Blaché, writer Raymond Roussel, Argentinian art collective Tucumán Arde, performance artist Lorenza Böttner, political activist Superbarrio Gómez, assemblage artist Noah Purifoy, and Joseph Stalin. Sourced from pulp comics and the words of the artists themselves, Failure Biographies chronicles the struggles of great 20th and 21st century innovators who try — and fail — to change the world.