Neal Baer Collection


Ken Okiishi

Wish I Were Here


5 archival inkjet prints

Image courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York and Los Angeles

Ken Okiishi (b.1978, Ames, Iowa) lives and works in New York. Wish I Were Here, 1997-2001, is an early work that consists of postcards Okiishi addressed to artists and celebrities, seeking advice on his unrequited love for his straight best friend. Some postcards include images of Okiishi himself pasted on top of clippings from gay porn magazines while others feature images of boys in Larry Clark photographs, serving as avatars of his straight best friend.

Okiishi’s interest in appropriating and restaging the work of straight male artists runs throughout his practice. Telly & Casper (2000) whose exploration of artifice, data streams, and youth culture is filtered through the script of Larry Clark and Harmony Korine’s 1995 film Kids, “offers deeply moving glimpses at today’s technology-inflected bodies glitching through cities and situations that, 20 years ago, could be said to feel more like a website than a mise en scène.”

Another edition of this work is in the collection of the MOCA Los Angeles.  

Reena Spaulings Fine Art

See also
Ken Okiishi in the collection of the MoMA  

Ken Okiishi, Vital Behaviors, 2019 at MoMA

Felix Bernstein, “Sublime Bromanticism: On Ken Ikiishi’s Vital Behaviors (2019),” Reena Spaulings, 2019

Ken Okiishi at Pilar Corrias

Ken Okiishi at Reena Spaulings

Ken Okiishi in the 2014 Whitney Biennial

Karl Holmqvist, “Ken Okiishi, (Goodbye to) Manhattan,” May Revue #7, October 2011

Ken Okiishi, “A Model Childhood” at Manifesta 13 Marseille