"Over four decades, through bands, writing and his art, Kelley altered the course of contemporary art
By Dan Duray, Andrew Russeth and Michael H. Miller 2/01 1:29pm
Mike Kelley, one of the most critically acclaimed artists of his generation, has died at the age of 57, at his home in South Pasadena, Calif. According to several sources close to the artist that Gallerist has spoken with, the cause of death was suicide.
The artist had recently been selected for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, an exhibition that he has participated in seven times in the past. He has had major one-person exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Louvre, MUMOK, Vienna, and numerous other museums.
> Click to see images of Kelley’s art.
A sergeant in the South Pasadena police department told Gallerist that officers responded to the apparent suicide following a 911 call made at 7:47 p.m. by a friend who had stopped by Kelley’s house to check up on him. The friend hadn’t heard from Kelley since Sunday and, unable to gain entry to the home, called the police. Kelley was pronounced dead on the scene. Though police records show no mention of a note, officers said the friend who called 911 mentioned that Kelley had been depressed following a September break-up.
Kelley’s work spanned numerous mediums and source materials, encompassing unorthodox objects from sculptures made of knitted stuffed animals (which provided the cover art for Sonic Youth’s 1992 Dirty album) to banners emblazoned with abrasive self-proclamations (“PANTS SHITTER & PROUD P.S. JERK-OFF TOO,” memorably) to large-scale installations inspired by the bottle city of Kandor, an object housed in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in the comic books.
Kelley was born in 1954 in Detroit (he described himself as a “blue-collar anarchist”), and his childhood there provided material for many of his works. In 2010, he produced a sculpture modeled on his childhood home and carted it around the city on the back of a flatbed truck, for a special project with the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
In 1974, he founded the band Destroy All Monsters with Cary Loren, Niagara (Loren’s then-girlfriend) and Jim Shaw. They made noisy, feedback-drenched music that was influenced by the other local bands at the time, The Stooges and the MC5. Destroy All Monsters was recently the subject of two retrospectives, at the Prism Gallery in Los Angeles and at the Boston University Art Gallery. Kelley left the band in 1976, to attend graduate school at CalArts."
more at above line... fascinating artist! Sad he committed suicide. We need more people like him to help us see the ambiguity that can see us free.