Patrick Walker Sumner (1966- ) and Mott-Ly (1962-2007)
Punk Rock and Underground Zine Collection (KC0466)
Mott-Ly, the notorious punk rocker, cranky eccentric and conceptual artist/sculptor, was in several bands and was a primary motivator of the Kansas City scene. Born Lee Tisdale on December 19, 1962 in Lincoln, NE, Mott-Ly was a 1986 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. Kansas City art critic, Gina Kaufmann, observed that his art “paid homage to the small, the discarded, the broken and the backward. Mott-Ly drew and etched, sculpted and collaged. Every detail was painstakingly rendered. He knew how to fill a matchbook with a universe.” He exhibited work primarily in Lincoln and Kansas City, including, in 2005, a “Retrospective” of nearly 100 pieces at the Greenlease Gallery at Rockhurst University and “Aftermath, New Outside the Box Works” at the Pi Gallery, both in Kansas City. In 2002 Mott-Ly opened MoMO gallery in the East Crossroads where he displayed the work of new, struggling and underexposed artists and musicians, whose works were often on the gritty edge. In the late 1980’s, he started, with Archer Prewitt, the band Mudhead, for which he was the lead vocalist, and in the 1990’s he hosted the show “Susan” at KKFI radio in Kansas City. Mott-Ly fought constantly for social justice and harbored all, animals as well as humans, who sought refuge in his space. Mott-Ly died May 30, 2007.
As a youth Patrick Sumner was involved in the Kansas City punk rock scene and met Mott-ly, then a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, in 1983. Sumner was also involved in political activism during the Reagan period, when punk and politics intertwined. In 1987, while writing a history of the punk scene, Sumner persuaded Mott-ly that his extensive collection of punk-era zines and ephemera would best serve future generations by being archived. After many years of work both in and out of college, Sumner achieved a Master's degree in American Studies from the University of Kansas in 2005. During this period of research and writing, Sumner studied the abolitionist movement of early Kansas. Also Sumner made several cultural and historical documentaries with his younger brother, Brandon, in a collaborative team known as the Sumnerve Brothers. Sumner mourned the passing of his friend, and sometimes mentor, Mott-Ly, in 2007. Mott-Ly's untimely death culminated in a festive and reverential tribute march attended by hundreds of friends and fellow travelers. As of 2009, Sumner has two sons in elementary school, and continues his work in activism and research.
This collection of single issue zines, concerning the punk rock/underground scene in the Greater Kansas City area, contains primitive collage, local information regarding the 1980s youth scene and gives a glimpse of the anarchic and eclectic influences that were created out of next to nothing. This collection preserves documents that were meant to be consumed and disposed of in the way of all things punk. Many of the buildings that once housed the Punk scene, such as at 47th and Troost, are now torn down. The early to mid-1980s were a very vibrant time. Kansas City was still raw; there were porno houses and prostitutes on Main Street, cheap thrift stores all over, and there was spiked hair, torn nylons, roller skates and red lipstick. While it was the banal me generation, and an apathetic populace who accepted Reagan as a granddad, there was a few hundred or maybe a thousand of individuals who took the streets as their own, defied authority and convention, and had fun in the mix. 1981-1995.
© WHMC-KC, University of Missouri
Friday, March 20, 2009
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City
(816) 235-1543 WHMCKC@umkc.edu