Mingering Mike was born in Washington, D.C., in 1950 and continues to live and work there. From 1968 to 1977, Mingering Mike “released” more than fifty fictive albums, managed several of his own record labels, and played for imaginary sold-out concerts all over the world. The public first heard of him in 2003, when record collectors Dori Hadar and Frank Beylotte stumbled upon Mingering Mike's work in a flea market in Washington, D.C. It was soon discovered that Mingering Mike's career took place solely in his imagination and in the vast collection of intricately handcrafted cardboard records that he obsessed over for close to a decade.
Mingering Mike's exhibitions include Mingering Mike: Prints and New Work, Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. (2009); MANIFESTHOPE:DC, Washington, D.C. (2009); Liverpool Biennial, The Bluecoat (2008); Rightfully Yours, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto (2007); Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar, Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. (2007); and Mingering Mike, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, N.C. (2005).
Mingering Mike's life and work are chronicled in the book Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar (2007). In 2007 Vanguard Squad released the 1969 single "Mingering Mike & The Big D: There's Nothing Wrong with You Baby" as a limited-edition vinyl 45. In 2008 Mingering Mike took the stage for the first time at Club de Ville during the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
Photo of Mingering Mike
by David Colagiovanni
Mingering Mike, "Mingering Mike: Can Minger Mike Stevens Really Sing (Fake/Nations Capitol Records)," 1969. Fictive record and cover, mixed media on cardboard, gelatin silver print, 12.25 x 12.25 inches. Courtesy of Mingering Mike, Inc., and Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.
Mingering Mike, "Mingering Mike/The Big "D" & The Colts Band: "Super Gold" Greatest Hits (Ming/War Production)," 1970. Fictive record cover, mixed media on cardboard, 12.5 x 12.75 inches. Courtesy of Mingering Mike, Inc., and Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.
Mingering Mike, "The Outsiders featuring The Big "D": The Outsiders Are Back (Sex Records)," 1971. Fictive record and cover, mixed media on cardboard, 12.5 x 12.25 inches. Courtesy of Mingering Mike, Inc., and Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press.
Mingering Mike, "Rambling Ralph/The Under Doggs: "222 Love Avenue" b/w "'I’ll Kill,' for Peace" (Decision/Jigsaw Records)" (front), 1971. Fictive 45rpm record, mixed media on cardboard, 7 x 7 inches. Courtesy of Mingering Mike, Inc., and Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.
Exhibition organizer Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum, on artist Mingering Mike.
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