All Monsters Have Yet to Be Destroyed
February 1, 2012 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Mike Kelley, Artist and Writer, has died in Los Angeles. Mike Kelley, Los Angeles Artist and student of John Baldessari worked in most mediums available, including drawings, paintings, video, photography and installations, most notably featuring sock monkeys and other stuffed animals. His best known work may be for the cover of Sonic Youth's . Dirty.

He was also a strong collaborator with other artists, from his days in art school. In addition to Sonic Youth, he worked with the commercial director and puppeteer Michael Smith on a video work in Texas, the infamous Paul McCarthy in sculpture, and founded the gallery Metro Pictures in New York with Kim Colin. His 2004 book, Minor Histories: Statements, Conversations, Propsals is filled with his profound interest in other peoples work

He was found dead under suspicious circumstances today, at his home in Los Angeles. Miami Herald story, NY Times obit, LA Times Art Blog, Culture Monster remembers, Guardian Note and something from art info

Kelley's gallerist at the time of his death was Gagosian. Mike Kelley's website was called Destroy All Monsters Here is its link page
posted by PinkMoose (23 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:03 PM on February 1, 2012

this is my first post, so be gentle, but Kelley for a lot of reasons, was really important to my development as an artist and thinker.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:04 PM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

No, this is a great tribute. He was a thought-proviking artist. I love his work. Very sad. Thanks.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:06 PM on February 1, 2012

Just read about this. Very sad.
posted by sweetkid at 9:11 PM on February 1, 2012

So sad. His work has always felt so heavy to me, but in a beautiful way, like how sad songs make you feel good. This work is being installed this week where I'm working. I wonder what it will be like to be in the room with it now. Thanks for the post.
posted by Sreiny at 9:18 PM on February 1, 2012

He is very sad, but also very funny (much of his work was aggressive burlesques on minimalism, for example), and very complex. If it was a suicide, than I worry that this narrative will solidify, where it is this sad artist who collapses into his own oblivion.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:20 PM on February 1, 2012

I work at a museum in L.A. and everyone was quite shocked (on top of it, Dorothea Tanning died today as well). Thanks, PinkMoose, for a really nice tribute to an important artist.
posted by scody at 9:29 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh damn, that's sad.
posted by yoink at 9:30 PM on February 1, 2012

He and Don Cornelius committing suicide within hours and within miles of each other is kind of freaking me out. I know they weren't exactly in the same circles, but... I don't know what I mean. STOP COMMITTING SUICIDE, GREAT PEOPLE.

posted by queensissy at 10:07 PM on February 1, 2012

posted by Minus215Cee at 10:53 PM on February 1, 2012

Jesus H. this was a shit day for the arts.

posted by Space Kitty at 10:57 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


(is this a bad time to ask WTF was up with the image on the inside of the tray insert card on Dirty?)
posted by Hoopo at 11:39 PM on February 1, 2012

i don't remember the image, can you find a copy?
posted by PinkMoose at 12:24 AM on February 2, 2012

While I can't profess to be a huge fan, I was really impressed by his Interviews, Conversations, And Chit-Chat 1986-2004 book, which appears to be the outward-focused companion to Minor Histories (both are edited by John Welchman and appeared within a year of each other). Highly recommended.

Mr. Kelley, I hope you have found your peace. Excellent obit post, PinkMoose.

posted by Chichibio at 1:59 AM on February 2, 2012

L.A. Times obit -- it's the same as the link, but with a photograph.

Could we have ever had the 90s, let alone the entire Grunge scene without Kelley? (Just asking.)

posted by vhsiv at 2:26 AM on February 2, 2012

posted by lapolla at 2:53 AM on February 2, 2012

posted by penduluum at 3:42 AM on February 2, 2012

I've deleted all the things I've written thus far that expressed my reaction to the news. I can't seem to come to something eloquent and true. But here it is in a nutshell: very sad, fucking sucks.
posted by safetyfork at 5:00 AM on February 2, 2012

Kelley was connected with something on a very deep level. He will be missed.
The (aparent) fact that he killed himself made my heart sink. There is level of resistance to the world's bullshit in his work that always had me pulling for him.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:13 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, Gagosian's front page is still a massive ad for Hirst's world wide dot dump?
posted by R. Mutt at 5:21 AM on February 2, 2012

posted by From Bklyn at 5:43 AM on February 2, 2012

Very sad for me -- he was by far the living artist who affected me most, somehow finding beauty in places you'd never think to look, in combinations you'd never think to make, a strange but vibrant mixture of puerility and profundity.

posted by rleamon at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2012

Though I can't say I closely followed his career, I'd often stumble across his work in galleries and museums and magazines and have the same reaction: "Oh yeah, Mike Kelley. He's great!" His art had such a distinctive mix of humor and melancholia, sincerity and subversion, and it seemed like he was beloved and respected in so many underground music/culture scenes as well as the fine art world. I remember coming across an installation of his at the L.A. County Museum of Art that was based on high school nostalgia. It was hilarious and weird and totally hypnotizing, and I would have stayed there for hours if not for having to catch a plane (that, and a looped video playing "The Chicken Dance" finally drove me out but haunted me for days).

I hate when it takes an artist's death to compel me to finally check out a lot more of his or her work, but that's what I'll do now -- thanks for the resources.

posted by lisa g at 10:50 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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