George Pendle
Happy Failure
Karma, New York, 2014
188 pages
9 × 6 14 inches
Edition of 500


At times Evel Knievel could seem like the world’s least successful suicide. One jump left him in a coma for a month. But the thrill of watching him was more than just the voyeuristic delight in splintered metal and cracked bone; it was more than just witnessing a man fall. An Evel Knievel jump was the triumph of the unprepared and insubstantial, of everything that floats – dreams, fancies, caprices – against the gravitational drag, the endless quantifiable varieties, of the real, it was a case of heroic failure trumping mundane success.
Happy Failure gathers together a collection of writings from art critic George Pendle, organized around a series of photographs of famed daredevil Evel Knievel.