Michael "Mike" Kelley

Michael "Mike" Kelley (October 27, 1954 in Wayne, Michigan  – c. January 31, 2012 in South Pasadena) 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. Writing in The New York Times, in 2012, Holland Cotter described the artist as "one of the most influential American artists of the past quarter century and a pungent commentator on American class, popular culture and youthful rebellion






During his time at CalArts, Kelley 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, video, 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 and The Wages of Sin 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 which was first shown at Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles.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 From My Institution to Yours (1988) and Proposal for the Decoration of an Island of Conference Rooms (1992), Kelly appropriated photocopied drawings and other ephemera of vernacular office humor and moved it into more formalized environments where such crude materials are normally not seen.





Kelley often employed soft, tangled toys as a satirical metaphor for Expressionist art. In Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (1991–99), an installation sculpture made from untidy clusters of toys suspended from the ceiling, a dozen monochrome plush-toy spheres, linked by a system of cables and pulleys across the ceiling, orbit around a central, rainbow-colored blob; ten large, geometrically faceted, brightly colored wall-reliefs are actually monumental dispensers of pine-scented air freshener, which automatically send their cleansing spray into the room at timed intervals.
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. According to the Whitney Museum of American Art, the work's selective inclusion of institutional locations and features responds to "the rising infatuation of the public with issues of repressed memory syndrome and child abuse... The implication is that anything that can't be remembered is somehow the result of trauma." 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.[citation needed]. In 1997–98, Kelley and Oursler presented the Poetics Project at Documenta X, 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. "Day is Done" was Kelley 'Gesamtkunstwerk", this body of work was initiated with 'Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (Domestic Scene), the work was produced by Emi Fontana and first exhibited in her gallery in Milano in 2000.Wikipedia




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