Mike Kelley Foundation to be represented by Hauser & Wirth

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The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts will be represented exclusively by the international gallery Hauser & Wirth, the organizations announced Thursday.

The foundation, established by Kelley in 2007, issues grants for challenging and novel projects in Kelley’s favored mediums, which included textiles, drawing, painting, video, photography, sculpture, installation and performance.

When Kelley died of an apparent suicide in South Pasadena in 2012, the foundation took on the role of shepherding his legacy. Hauser & Wirth said it will seek to reinforce Kelley’s stature as one of Los Angeles’ most influential artists, expand the foundation’s programs and exhibit Kelley’s work at its galleries worldwide.


Hauser & Wirth has exhibition spaces in New York, Zurich, London and Somerset, England. It will open a permanent space in the Arts District of Los Angeles in 2016 with the help of former Museum of Contemporary Art curator Paul Schimmel.

Kelley, who graduated from the California Institute of Arts in 1978, came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures made from worn toys, old blankets, rag dolls and other repurposed everyday materials that reflected an unsettling, punk rock aesthetic. A MOCA retrospective of Kelley, whom the museum called “one of the most influential artists of our time,” ran last year at the Geffen Contemporary.

Kelley also was a musician and longtime friend of Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon. He was a founding member of the Detroit proto-punk band Destroy All Monsters, and while at CalArts he formed an experimental performance punk group called Poetics. One of his most iconic images can be found on the cover of the 1992 Sonic Youth album “Dirty.”

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