Kelley began having regular one-man exhibitions at Metro Pictures in Manhattan in 1982, and at Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles the following year. He subsequently started to gain recognition outside Los Angeles in the mid-eighties with the sculptural objects and installations from the series Half-a-Man. In 2005, he had his first solo show at Gagosian Gallery in New York City, which was representing him at his death. A retrospective, “Mike Kelley: Catholic Tastes,” appeared at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1993 and traveled to Los Angeles and Munich; a second retrospective appeared at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona in 1997; and a third was at the Tate Liverpool in 2004. In 2006, his show "Profondeurs Vertes" was presented at the Musée du Louvre (2006). A major retrospective exhibition is being planned for the reopening of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2012 which will travel to the MOCA, Los Angeles in 2014. The many group exhibitions he participated in include the Whitney Biennial (1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2002, and 2012), Venice Biennale (1988 and 1995), Carnegie International (1991), Documenta 9 and 10 (1992 and 1997), and SITE Santa Fe Biennial (2004). Kelley's works are included in major public and private collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Broad Collection and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Tate Gallery, London; and the Museum Brandhorst, Munich.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Mike Kelley was born in Wayne, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, to a working class Roman Catholic family in October 1954. His father was in charge of maintenance for a public school system; his mother was a cook in the executive dining room at Ford Motor Company. In his early years he was involved with the city's music scene, which spawned bands such as Iggy and the Stooges, and was a member of the noise band Destroy All Monsters. Michael "Mike" Kelley (October 27, 1954 – January 31, 2012 or February 1, 2012) was an American artist. His work involved found objects, textile banners, drawings, assemblage, collage, performance and video. He often worked collaboratively and had produced projects with artists Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler and John Miller. In 1976 Kelley graduated from the University of Michigan. He moved to Los Angeles in 1978 and attended the California Institute of the Arts, where he admired the work of his teachers John Baldessari, Laurie Anderson,David Askevold and Douglas Huebler. At that time he started to work on a series of projects in which he explored works with loose poetic themes, such as The Sublime, Monkey Island and Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile, using a variety of different media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, performance and writing. In the 1980s he became known for working with another type of material: crocheted blankets, fabric dolls and other rag toys found at thrift stores and yard sales. Perhaps the most famous work in this vein, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid from 1987, featured a mess of used rag dolls, animals and blankets strewn across a canvas, a way of investing a fictional childhood scene with some visceral pathos. In 1988 Kelley created an installation called Pay for Your Pleasure, which featured a gallery of portraits of men of genius — poets, philosophers and artists included — subverted at the end by a painting created by a convicted criminal. In 1995, he produced Educational Complex, an architectural model of the institutions in which he had studied, including his Catholic elementary school and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1999, he made a short video in which Superman recites selections from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Kelley was in the band Poetics with fellow California Institute of the Arts students John Miller and Tony Oursler. In 1997–98, Kelley and Oursler presented the Poetics Project at Documenta 9, as well as at venues in Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo; through video projections, sound, and artworks, this installation re-created their experience at CalArts as members of a short-lived band. Along with his collaborations with Shaw and Oursler, Kelley was also known for working with artist Paul McCarthy in the 1990s. They collaborated on a series of video projects, including a 1992 work based on Johanna Spyri's classic children's book, "Heidi".A 1986 Massachusetts Institute of Technology presentation of Kelley's performance Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile (1985) included a live performance by Sonic Youth; the band later featured his orange-knit creatures on the cover and booklet of their 1992 record Dirty. In 2010, he combined with Artangel to realize his first work of public art in Detroit.In November 2005, Kelley staged Day is Done, filling Gagosian Gallery with funhouse-like multimedia installations, including automated furniture, as well as films of dream-like ceremonies inspired by high school year book photos of pageants, sports matches and theater productions.In December 2005, Village Voice art critic Jerry Saltz described "Day is Done" as a pioneering example of "clusterfuck aesthetics," the tendency towards overloaded multimedia environments in contemporary art. Kelley's work was inspired by diverse sources such as history, philosophy, politics, underground music, decorative arts and working-class artistic expression. His art often examined class and gender issues as well as issues of normality, criminality and perversion. Kelley lived and worked in various places in Los Angeles, among them the Farley Building in Eagle Rock. He was found dead in an apparent suicide in 2012.