Mike Kelley, among the most important international artists to have emerged since the 1980s and arguably the most important L.A.-based artist of his generation, was found dead in his South Pasadena home Tuesday.
Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight called Kelley’s recent efforts “a finger-lickin’ good body of work” where “Sigmund Freud meets Scheherazade in the Fortress of Solitude.” Find out exactly what that means in the following photos.
“Kandor 10 A (Grotto)” at Gagosian Gallery in 2011. (Fredrik Nilsen, Gagosian Gallery)
A gigantic bell jar links to cartoon-colored tanks in Mike Kelley’s 2008-2009 “Kandor” installation, which puts the artist’s take on adolescent anguish in science-fair form. (Fredrik Nilsen, Carnegie Museum of Art)
“Citris and White,” from a mid-career survey that began at Whitney Museum of American Art, is shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1994. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
“Eviscerated Corpse,” from the mid-career survey in 1994. (Carol Cheetham / For The Times)
An installation view of Kelley’s 2002 exhibition “Black Out” at Patrick Painter features the sculpture “John Glenn Memorial Detroit River Reclamation Project.” It includes two big storage racks of archival newspaper stories connected by a low, trash-strewn platform. In the center is a larger-than-life statue of astronaut John Glenn, made from broken crockery. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Drawings and installation artifacts from Mike Kelley’s performance piece “Monkey Island” that was featured in an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in 2006. (Lisa Lyons)
This video still is taken from “A Voyage of Growth and Discovery,” a project by Michael Smith and Mike Kelley showing Smith in the character of Baby Ikki at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. (West of Rome)
Another scene from Michael Smith and Mike Kelley’s video and mixed media installation “A Voyage of Growth and Discovery,” from 2010. (West of Rome)
Kelley’s “The Escaped Bird,” 1987. ()
Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler’s video installation “Poetics” used rock videos, interviews with critics and re-creations of rehearsals to document the history of a fictional rock band in which the two artists are players. (Miguel Bargallo)