Martin Kippenberger's premature death in 1997 at the age of forty-three brought to an end one of the most controversial and prolific careers in modern art. It was a career full of contradictions. Many critics dismissed him as a showman; others hailed him as the greatest living artist of his time. Kippenberger embraced the controversy that followed him, enjoying and combining irreverence with a deep passion for his art. Kippenberger's work has always been inextricably linked with his personal life, which at times dominated its critical reception. This book aims to redress the balance, concentrating on the visual and conceptual aspects of his work. The theme of the relationship between artist and art is mirrored in the work itself; one of Kippenberger's central concerns was undermining the myth of the artist. The inclusion of a new translation of Kippenberger's final interview ensures his own, idiosyncratic voice is present. Kippenberger's oeuvre included paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photography, prints, and artist's books. The authors examine the themes underlying his work, including Socialist Realism and kitsch; self portraiture and myth; punk and anti-romanticism; exile and homelessness; the importance of humour and its roots in German political realities; and the artist's use of language and the influence on his work of literature. Tate curator Jessica Morgan writes on the installation of the artist's final, great work, The Happy Ending of Franz Kafka's Amerika . Many lesser known works will be illustrated, with the primary focus being the paintings of the 1980s. Kippenberger's enduring influence on subsequent generations of artists will also be examined.