Explore Mike Kelley’s artistic brilliance at MOMA PS1

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From October 13, 2013 through February 02, 2014, the MoMA PS1 will present a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Mike Kelley – one of the most influential artists of our time. The exhibition occupies the entire museum, bringing together over 200 works of Mike Kelley’s work from early pieces made during the 1970’s through 2012. Mike Kelley (1954–2012) produced a body of deeply innovative work mining American popular culture and both modernist and alternative traditions—which he set in relation to relentless self- and social examinations, both dark and delirious.

Through his art, Kelley explored themes as diverse as American class relations, sexuality, repressed memory, systems of religion and transcendence, and post-punk politics. He brought to these subjects both incisive critique and abundant, self-deprecating humour.

Kelley’s work did not develop along a purely linear trajectory. Instead, he returned time and again to certain underlying themes—the shapes lurking underneath the carpet, as it were—including repressed memories, disjunctions between self-hood and social structures as well as fault lines between the sacred and the profane. The work Kelley produced throughout his life was marked by his extraordinary powers of critical reflection, relentless self-examination, and a creative—and surprising—repurposing of ideas and materials.

Born in Detroit, Kelley lived and worked in Los Angeles from the mid-1970s until his tragic death last year at the age of 57. Over his thirty-five year career, he worked in every conceivable medium-drawings on paper, sculpture, performances, music, video, photography, and painting. Speaking of his early work and artistic concerns at large, Kelley had said, “My entrance into the art world was through the counter-culture, where it was common practice to lift material from mass culture and ‘pervert’ it to reverse or alter its meaning… Mass culture is scrutinized to discover what is hidden, repressed, within it.”

The MOMA PS1 exhibition includes Mike Kelley’s Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (1991/1999) consisting of plush toys sewn over wood and wire frames with Styrofoam packing material, nylon rope, pulleys, steel hardware and hanging plates, fiberglass, car paint, and disinfectant, John Glenn Memorial Detroit River Reclamation Project (Including the Local Culture Pictorial Guide, 1968–1972, Wayne/Westland Eagle) and Day is Done (2005–06) installation.

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Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (1991/1999)
Images courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles
Photography: Joshua White

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Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (1991/1999)
Images courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles
Photography: Joshua White
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John Glenn Memorial Detroit River Reclamation Project (Including the Local Culture Pictorial Guide, 1968–1972, Wayne/Westland Eagle)
Photo : Matthew Septimus
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Day is Done (2005–06)
Photo: Matthew Septimus

MOMA PS1

 

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