Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

Read More
Ellen Altfest Ocula Conversation Ellen Altfest

The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...

Read More
Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance Ocula Report Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance 8 Feb 2019 : Nada Raza for Ocula

On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...

Read More

Mike Kelley

(1954 - 2012), USA

One of the most prominent artists of his generation, Mike Kelley produced a vast range of works in drawing, sculpture, performance, music, video, photography and painting, as well as critical texts and collaborative works. He completed his studies at the University of Michigan and the California Institute of the Arts in 1976 and 1978 respectively. Kelley moved to the West Coast in the mid-1970s, and lived and worked in Los Angeles until his death in 2012.

Kelley gained recognition in the 1980s for his work with children's soft toys and other found materials. With these materials, he examined popular culture, memories and fragmented narratives. In Eviscerated Corpse (1989), he sewed together rag dolls and stuffed animals that he had salvaged from thrift shops to make a cross between a human and a centipede. The installation was part of the larger series 'Half A Man' (1987–93) and critiqued the association of innocence with childhood and the idea of family. More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin (1987)—an earlier creation from the same series—similarly incorporated soft toys and second-hand blankets. Kelley's conspicuous use of sewing and craft—skills traditionally regarded as 'feminine'—questioned the definitions of normalcy and gender.

Children's toys also function in Kelley's work as a satirical metaphor. Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (1991–99) consists of suspended balls created from discarded, brightly coloured toys. By transforming children's toys into serious sculpture, Kelley visualised a darker side to the American dream's endorsement of excessive consumption and reckless luxury collecting, and intermingled the 'low' and the 'high' of American culture. He also deodorised his suspended sculptures, mocking America's selective amnesia of unpleasant realities.

The idea of memory was one of Kelley's longstanding interests. In 1983, he filmed a 28-minute video about The Banana Man—a character from the children's television show Captain Kangaroo. Since Kelley had not seen The Banana Man himself growing up, he asked his friends to share their memories for the reconstruction. In its incomplete study, far removed from the real character, The Banana Man offers an investigation into the fragility of human memory. In Educational Complex (1995), Kelley similarly reproduced the structures of every school he had attended, alongside his childhood home, as small architectural models. Blank spaces represented parts of buildings he could not remember. Kelley was intrigued by the increasing popularity of Repressed Memory Syndrome, which proposed that the human brain repressed traumatic memories and that therapy could recover them. The public grew interested in traumatic memories and child abuse, a phenomenon Kelley called an infatuation.

In 2010, Kelley collaborated with the London-based organisation Artangel to launch Mobile Homestead: a to-scale replica of his childhood home. Designed as a 'mobile home', the replica is constructed from lightweight white cardboard and has a removable clapboard façade. Kelley conceived of the project as a community gallery that would be driven around the streets of Detroit, serving the public with 'haircuts, social services, meeting space, and a place to hold barbecues and perhaps for the homeless to pick up mail', according to Randy Kennedy for The New York Times. Upon its completion, he recorded the house's launch in three videos that screened at the 2012 Whitney Biennial. Since Kelley's death, Mobile Homestead has stayed with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and remains available for the community.

Outside his endeavours in visual media, Kelley also wrote and collaborated extensively. He has been published in journals including Artforum (2011, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003, 1989), Journal of Contemporary Art (1994) and Art Issues (1990). He was an original member of Destroy All Monsters (1973–85), an experimental noise group founded with his friends Jim Shaw, Cary Loren and Niagara (Lynn Rovner). Kelley also collaborated with the band Sonic Youth in his performance Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile (1986) and with Paul McCarthy to produce Heidi (1992).

Kelley's work was and continues to be exhibited widely. Selected solo exhibition venues have included Gagosian Gallery, London (2011, 2007); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); MOCAD, Detroit (2013); and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1993). He also participated in multiple biennials, most notably the Whitney Biennial (2012, 2002, 1995, 1993, 1991, 1989, 1987, 1985), the Gwangju Biennale (2010), the Shanghai Biennale (2008), La Biennale de Lyon (2003, 2001), the 43rd Venice Biennale (1988) and the Sydney Biennale (1984).

After his death, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam opened a major retrospective of his works, titled MIKE KELLEY: Themes and Variations from 35 Years (2012–13). Other posthumous exhibitions include Mike Kelley at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014) and An Homage to Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1, New York (2012–13).

Kelley's works are in the collections of Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Detroit Institute of Arts; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York among others. Kelley was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2003 and in 1997 he won the Skowhegan Medal for Mixed Media.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017
Read More

Featured Artworks

View All (19)
Unisex Love Nest by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyUnisex Love Nest, 1999 Installation with 1-channel video (colour, sound)
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled (Student Drawing) by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyUntitled (Student Drawing), 1974 Mixed media on paper
61 x 45.7 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Shoppers Fair (Student Drawing) by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyShoppers Fair (Student Drawing), 1974 Pencil on paper
45.7 x 61 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled (Allegorical Drawing) by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyUntitled (Allegorical Drawing), 1976 Marker on file card
15.2 x 10.2 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled (Student Drawing) by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyUntitled (Student Drawing), 1974 Mixed media on paper
61 x 45.7 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Rose Hobart II by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyRose Hobart II, 2006 Wood, metal, carpet, acrylic paint, with video projection and sound
182.9 x 452.1 x 609.6 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled (Collages 1974-2011) by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyUntitled (Collages 1974-2011), 1974–2011 Mixed media and collage on paper
57.2 x 56.5 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled (Collages 1974-2011) by Mike Kelley contemporary artwork Mike KelleyUntitled (Collages 1974-2011), 1974–2011 Mixed media and collage on paper
Hauser & Wirth

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Mike Kelley, God's Oasis at Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
Closed
22 September–21 December 2018 Mike Kelley God's Oasis Hauser & Wirth, Zürich
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Screen Memory at Simon Lee Gallery, London
Closed
10 February–11 March 2017 Group Exhibition Screen Memory Simon Lee Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Mutated Reality at Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow
Closed
27 November 2015–3 March 2016 Group Exhibition Mutated Reality Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow

Represented By

In Related Press

View All (11)
The ones to watch at the first ever Frieze Los Angeles Related Press The ones to watch at the first ever Frieze Los Angeles Tatler : 13 February 2019

February in LA has long been a permanent fixture in the calendars of the world's elite, who use awards season as a welcome excuse to escape the dreary drizzle in Europe and the biting cold on the East Coast. But now there's a new reason to be in Tinseltown this month: the launch of the first ever Frieze Los Angeles.

Read More
Connecting the Dots in the Met Breuer’s Show About Conspiracy Theories Related Press Connecting the Dots in the Met Breuer’s Show About Conspiracy Theories Hyperallergic : 15 October 2018

It will likely take me months to digest all the lessons I've learned from The Met Breuer's newest exhibition, Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy, so it's a good thing that the show stays open through January.

Read More
Everything is connected: new exhibition on art and conspiracy Related Press Everything is connected: new exhibition on art and conspiracy The Guardian : 17 September 2018

In 1974, Black Panthers artist Emory Douglas created a portrait of Gerald Ford, America's 38th president, being pulled by puppet strings held by giant corporations. A speech bubble had Ford saying: 'I Gerald Ford am the 38th puppet of the United States.'

Read More
Post-punk, high art and social critique: the makings of Mike Kelley Related Press Post-punk, high art and social critique: the makings of Mike Kelley i-D : 30 November 2016

The 1989 Los Angeles art scene represents a crucial period in contemporary art. Today creatives still turn to this incubator of post-punk for inspiration and intimidation. Central to this world was the late Mike Kelley, who worked alongside other icons like Paul McCarthy and Raymond Pettibon to challenge how we digested material from mass culture...

Read More

In Related Video

Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles Related Video & Audio Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles Hauser & Wirth : 22 December 2017

Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director, Mike Kelley Foundation of the Arts, talks about the exhibition 'Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011 at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 21 October 2017–21 January 2018

Read More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Mike Kelley are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

iCal GoogleYahooOutlook