Mike Kelley- artist, musician, iconoclast committed suicide Tuesday, January 31st. His work will continue to inspire. Kelley worked in sculpture, installation, and performance. He got his start in Detroit’s music scene with the noise band ‘Destroy All Monsters.
Kelley hit the big-time in the mid-1980s with his Half-a-Man series. His work was also featured on Sonic Youth’s Dirty record from 1992. In 1993 the Whitney gave Kelley a huge retrospective. More recently, Kelley’s 2005 exhibit Day is Done at Gagosian Gallery, which featured fun-house multi-media exhibitions, automations, and films.
Inspirations: history, philosophy, underground music, politics, decorative arts, working-class artistic expression; class-gender issues, issues of normality, criminality, and perversion.
His works incorporate everyday items with an irreverence for capitalized ‘Art’ and an attitude of fuck you! The ‘Total Art Matchbox’ especially exemplifies a rejection of institutionalization and the hierarchies of art. Nihilism to the max- but somehow never just a conversation ender.