From his dark and delirious examinations of the self and society, Mike Kelley made a name for himself as an artist of international influence. This new exhibition at MoMA is the largest of the artist’s work to-date and the first comprehensive survey since 1993. Running until 2 February, over 200 of his works come together in a showcase that encompasses his most powerful ideas from American class relations to post-punk politics.
Having worked with every conceivable medium- drawings on paper, sculpture, performance, music, video, photography and painting, this latest exhibition revels in the eclectic and various, ranging from the earliest pieces of the 1970s right up to his final works of 2012 at the point his tragic death at the age of 57.
The show also sets to capture the sprawling themes that preoccupied Kelley throughout his life, roaming from sexuality to repressed memory to systems of religion and transcendence, and always inflected with an incisive critique and abundant, self-deprecating humour. Ideas, however, come to be seen to return and form an obsession all over again , like shapes lurking beneath the carpet, setting up repeated patterns and rhythms throughout the diversity of his work.
Taking over the entire building, Mike Kelley marks the first time all of MoMA PS1 has been dedicated to a single artist as well as the largest exhibition the gallery has ever held since its Rooms exhibition in 1976.
Mike Kelley, until 2 February 2014, MoMA, New York.
1. Mike Kelley. Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites. 1991/1999. Plush toys sewn over wood and wire frames with styrofoam packing material, nylon rope, pulleys, steel hardware and hanging plates, fiberglass, car paint, and disinfectant. Overall dimensions variable. (c) Estate of Mike Kelley. Images courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles. Photography: Joshua White/JWPictures.com.