Mike Kelley Exhibition

Wako Works of Art

poster for Mike Kelley Exhibition

This event has ended.

Twelve years since his last solo exhibition at Wako Works of Art, six previously unexhibited series of photographs, as well as new City editions from the Kandors sculptures series will be shown.

Mike Kelley was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1954, and currently works and lives in Los Angeles. He received his BFA from the University of Michigan and MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Kelley has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, recently at WIELS Centre d'Art Contemporain, Brussels (2008), Musée du Louvre, Paris (2006), the Tate Liverpool (2004), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993); he has been included in various group exhibitions, such as Life on Mars: the 2008 Carnegie International and most familiarly at the third Yokohama Triennale (2008). He will be participating in Performa 09 in New York with a newly commissioned project.

The artist's wide-ranging concerns and interests in pop culture and counterculture, the mythical and philosophical, child education, shared and repressed memory, and blue-collar mentality reflect the expanse of his oeuvre. These works and projects have extended from drawings to sculptures using stuffed animals, to large-scale installations recreating his past schools, to arrangements of his vast collections of knickknacks, to performances (that also range from noise music to staged ritualistic theatre productions) and critical writing. His career and collaborations with other artists have gained him recognition and following from various genres.

The six photographic series in the exhibition at Wako Works of Art "reflect, in some manner, [Kelley's] interest in spiritualist, symbolist, and pictorialist photography": Ectoplasm Photographs (1978/2009) features Kelley himself standing in as a psychic medium, mimicking period spiritual photography of the early 20th Century; Untitled (1987/2009) series capture dancer Anita Pace in a bed of stuffed animals; Pansy Metal/Clovered Hoof (1989/2009) was also made in collaboration with Pace, enrobed in Irish and Heavy Metal-themed banners designed by Kelley, in various poses of a ritualistic catwalk; Untitled (1996/2009) and two unique Untitled (1996) images, which document foodstuffs, are the artist's exploration with "ambiguous organic forms and are overt attempts at applying the aesthetics of painterly biomorphic abstraction to photography." The City sculpture series (2007-2009), of which four will be on display, is derived from various representations of Kandor, the capitol of Krypton and Superman's original home, found in the vast number of the Superman’s comic book storylines. Kelley has recast 20 versions of this uncodified aspect of the superhero's life, making it a symbol of the "vagaries of memory and the endlessly-shifting nature of recollection."

A fully illustrated catalog (featuring a poem by Kelley and a chain of its English-Japanese translations) will accompany the exhibition.



From 2009-10-16 To 2009-12-05


Mike Kelly



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