Mike Kelley

Born in Detroit, 1954

Mike Kelley was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received a BFA from the University of Michigan, and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Kelley’s work ranges from highly symbolic and ritualistic performance pieces to arrangements of stuffed-animal sculptures, to wall-size drawings, to multi-room installations that restage institutional environments (schools, offices, zoos), to extended collaborations with artists such as Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler, and the band Sonic Youth. A critic and curator, Kelley writes for art and music journals and has organized numerous exhibitions incorporating his own work, work by fellow artists, and non-art objects that exemplify aspects of nostalgia, the grotesque, and the uncanny. His work questions the legitimacy of “normative” values and systems of authority, and attacks the sanctity of cultural attitudes toward family, religion, sexuality, art history, and education. He also comments on and undermines the legitimacy of the concept of victim or trauma culture, which posits that almost all behavior results from some form of repressed abuse. Kelley’s ongoing pseudo-autobiographical project, “Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction,” begun in 1995, is a planned compendium of 365 sculpture and video works, inspired by mundane yearbook photos and an examination of his own selective amnesia. Kelley’s aesthetic mines the rich and often overlooked history of vernacular art in America, and his practice borrows heavily from the confrontational, politically conscious, “by all means necessary” attitude of punk music. Mike Kelley received the Skowhegan Medal in Mixed Media, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Major solo exhibitions include Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Tate Liverpool; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Kunsthalle, Basel; among others. Kelley lived and worked in Los Angeles, where he passed away in February 2012.

Third Dimension: Works from The Brant Foundation
In the second exhibition at The Brant Foundation’s New York space, "Third Dimension" features over 20 artists integral to its collection
13 Nov 2019 - 03 Sep 2020
The Brandt Foundation
New York
Riotous Baroque. From Cattelan to Zurbarán – Tributes to Precarious Vitality
The Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao presents Riotous Baroque. From Cattelan to Zurbarán – Tributes to...
14 Jun 2013 - 06 Oct 2013
Guggenheim Bilbao
Mike Kelley: Eternity is a Long Time
HangarBicocca, the contemporary art space in Milan promoted and supported by Pirelli, presents Mike Kelley:...
24 May 2013 - 08 Sep 2013
Pirelli HangarBicocca
Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1
Mike Kelley‘s largest exhibition to-date displayed at MoMA PS1 from the 13th October until the...
13 Oct 2013 - 02 Feb 2014
New York
Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980
The Whitney Museum of American Art presents Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance,...
31 Oct 2013 - 02 Feb 2014
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York
The Show is Over
Gagosian Gallery presents The Show is Over, an exhibition about abstraction and the end of painting,...
15 Oct 2013 - 30 Nov 2013
Gagosian London Davies Street
Soft Pictures
Historically, the use of textile as a material to create art images can be placed halfway between the...
23 Oct 2013 - 24 Mar 2014
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Losing the Compass
White Cube presents Losing the Compass, a group exhibition curated by Scott Cameron Weaver and Mathieu...
08 Oct 2015 - 09 Jan 2016
White Cube Mason’s Yard
Sculpture on the Move 1946–2016
In 2002, the Kunstmuseum Basel presented the exhibition “Painting on the Move”. At three...
19 Apr 2016 - 18 Sep 2016
Kunstmuseum Basel
Mike Kelley: Framed and Frame
For the gallery’s first UK exhibition devoted to Mike Kelley, Hauser & Wirth London presents a...
23 Sep 2016 - 19 Nov 2016
Hauser & Wirth London
Punk. Sus rastros en el arte contemporáneo
Punk is an attitude of discrepancy and rebellion against the economic, political, social and cultural...
26 Nov 2016 - 26 Mar 2017
Mexico City
“Post-Studio” brings together a selection of works from Colección Jumex by artists who...
20 Jan 2018 - 04 Mar 2018
Mexico City
True Stories: A Show Related to an Era – The Eighties
True Stories. A Show Related to an Era – The Eighties collects works by diverse artists to highlight...
14 Sep 2018 - 27 Oct 2018
Galerie Max Hetzler, Goethestraße
Inaugural Exhibition of the Rubell Museum
Drawn entirely from their expansive collection of over 7,200 works by more than 1,000 artists, the Inaugural...
04 Dec 2019 - 30 Nov 2020
The Rubell Museum
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