Michael "Mike" Kelley (Oct. 27, 1954 in Wayne, Michigan – c. Jan. 31, 2012 in South Pasadena); American artist.

Mike Kelley (b. Detroit, 1954, d. Los Angeles, 2012), widely considered one of the most influential artists of our time. Irreverent but deeply informed, topical yet visionary, Kelley worked in a startling array of genres and styles, including performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, photography, sound works, text, and sculpture. He also worked on curatorial projects; collaborated with many other artists and musicians; and left a formidable body of critical and creative writing. Starting out in the late 1970s with solo performances, image/text paintings, and gallery and site-specific installations, Kelley came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures composed of common craft materials. Featuring repurposed thrift store toys, blankets, and worn stuffed animals, the Half a Man series focused Kelley’s career-long investigation of memory, trauma, and repression, predicated on what the artist described as a “shared culture of abuse.”

In more recent years, Kelley’s ambitions widened in conceptual scope and physical scale with Educational Complex (1995), the epic Day Is Done (2005), his Kandors series... (http://www.mikekelleyfoundation.org/#!/about/mission)

....In 2012, Kelley was found dead of an apparent suicide in South Pasadena, the cause of death being carbon-monoxide poisoning. A spontaneous memorial to Kelley was built in an abandoned carport near his studio in the Highland Park section of L.A. shortly after news of his death. Mourners were invited via an anonymous Facebook page to “help rebuild MORE LOVE HOURS THAN CAN EVER BE REPAID AND THE WAGES OF SIN (1987), by contributing stuffed fabric toys, afghans, dried corn, wax candles…building an altar of unabashed sentimentality.” The memorial was active throughout February 2012 and was dismantled in early March 20 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Kelley_(artist)#Death)
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Philippe Orlent


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