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Mike Kelley at the Geffen Contemporary

Mike Kelley, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages Of Sin, 1987
Mike Kelley, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages Of Sin, 1987
photo: courtesy Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.

The much anticipated Mike Kelley show opening on March 31 at the Geffen Contemporary was previewed on March 29th at a glamorous gala celebrating MOCA’s 35th anniversary. Hosted by new MOCA director, Philippe Vergne and sponsored by Louis Vuitton, the glitterati of the art world admired and applauded the homecoming exhibition of the late Mike Kelley, one of the most respected and beloved seminal artists of our time.

This exhibition, entitled simply “Mike Kelley” is the largest body of the artist’s work to date and the first comprehensive survey since 1993. The exhibit will bring together over 200 works, of deeply innovative work mining American popular culture, and both modernist and alternative traditions ranging from the early 70’s until 2012.

Born in Detroit, and schooled at Cal Arts, the artist lived and worked in Los Angeles from the mid- 1970’s until his untimely death in 2012 at the age of 57. Working in every conceivable medium, his work involved found objects, banners, painting, drawings, collage, underground music, performance, photography, and sculpture. Holland Cotter in the New York Times described the artist as “one of the most influential American artists of the past quarter century and a pungent commentator on American class, popular culture and youthful rebellion.”

Exploring themes as diverse as American class relations, sexuality, religion, history, and politics, Kelley brought both incisive critique and self-deprecating humor to his subjects.