Positing cerebral concepts from psychology, philosophy, and art theory against kitschy craft mediums, awkward adolescent scenarios, and rudimentary renderings, Mike Kelley’s oeuvre works against art’s hierarchical history as it expands its breadth. His 2005 project, “Day Is Done,” is a massive, amorphous collection of works in diverse media that reconstruct purported “repressed memories” of generic high–school activities as recorded in anonymous yearbook photographs. He scrutinizes moments of ritual and tradition by restaging scenes common in American adolescence, such as school dances and Halloween activities, investigating the moral and experiential subtexts of these events in the process.
Mike Kelley was born in 1954 in Detroit, Michigan, and died in 2012 in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. in 1976 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his M.F.A. in 1978 from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. Recent solo exhibitions include “Categorical Imperative and Morgue,” Van Abbemuseum, Stedelijk, The Netherlands (2000); “Sod and Sodie Sock (w/Paul McCarthy),” Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, Institut d’art contemporain, France (2003); “Mike Kelley–The Uncanny,” The Tate Liverpool, England (2004, traveled to MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna); “Profounders vertes,” Musée du Louvre, Paris (2006); “Day is Done Judson Church Dance,” Judson Memorial Church, New York (2009); “Themes and Variations from 35 Years,” The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2012); “Mobile Homestead,” Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Michigan (2013); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); “An Homage to Mike Kelley,” MoMA PS1, New York (2013); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014).
September 5–28, 2018
Exploded Fortress of Solitude
September 8–October 22, 2011
Britannia Street, London
Kandor 10/Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #34 | Kandor 12/Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #35
January 11–February 17, 2011
Horizontal Tracking Shots
November 7–December 23, 2009
West 24th Street, New York
February 6–March 17, 2007
Britannia Street, London
Day Is Done
November 11–December 17, 2005
West 24th Street, New York
Fairs, Events & Announcements
Mike Kelley and Franz West
To Be Read Aloud (À haute voix)
October 13, October 20, and November 21, 2018, 9pm
Centre Pompidou, Paris
To Be Read Aloud (À haute voix) (1999) is an experimental theater piece by artists Mike Kelley and Franz West. On the occasion of West’s retrospective at Centre Pompidou, director Fanny de Chaillé presents a reenactment of this work—a dialogue in which the artists reflect on the development of their practices within the avant-garde scenes of Los Angeles and Vienna since the 1970s—within West’s installation Auditorium (1992). The event is free with museum admission.
Mike Kelley and Franz West’s poster design for performance of To Be Read Aloud (À haute voix) (1999). Artwork © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. All rights reserved/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; and © Archiv Franz West
Seattle Art Fair
August 2–5, 2018, booth A09
CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle
Gagosian is pleased to present Out of This World: Artists Explore Space, a booth curated by Larry Gagosian for the 2018 Seattle Art Fair. The presentation gathers works that reveal artistic and scientific explorations of the cosmos. Featured artists include Richard Avedon, Andisheh Avini, Chris Burden, Alexander Calder, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Neil Jenney, Mike Kelley, Yves Klein, Vera Lutter, Brice Marden, Marc Newson, Nam June Paik, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Taryn Simon, Yves Tanguy, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Ed Ruscha, Even Though He’s Light Years Away, His Heart Belongs to Me, 1963 © Ed Ruscha
January 11–14, 2018, booth 209
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Gagosian is pleased to participate in FOG Design+Art Fair 2018, presenting a selection of works by Davide Balula, Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Piero Golia, Mark Grotjahn, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Houseago, Mike Kelley, Giuseppe Penone, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, Jeff Wall, and others.
Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (African II, Gated Front and Back Mask M44.e), 2015 © Mark Grotjahn. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio
Opening this Week
The Way We Live Now
October 18, 2018–February 17, 2019
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Civilization: The Way We Live Now features more than two hundred works from one hundred international photographers. The show addresses and illuminates major aspects of our increasingly global civilization and stresses the fact that contemporary society is an extremely complex collective enterprise. Work by Mike Kelley, Vera Lutter, and Taryn Simon is included.
Vera Lutter, Clock Tower, Brooklyn, XXXVI: June 16, 2009, 2009 © Vera Lutter
West by Midwest
November 17, 2018–January 27, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
West by Midwest tells a story that illuminates the ways that contemporary art practices spread and develop by tracing the intersecting lives of artists who have migrated from the American Midwest to the West Coast since the mid-twentieth century. Lured by career opportunities, warmer weather, and the prospect of a better life promised by the postwar boom, those artists who were able to migrate attended art schools together, shared studios, exhibited work in the same galleries, collaborated on projects, engaged in activism, and dated one another. Work by Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Sterling Ruby, and Ed Ruscha is included.
Bruce Nauman, Mold for a Modernized Slant Step, 1966, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago © 2018 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago