Hauser & Wirth To Represent Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts Worldwide


Los Angeles | New York… Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts and Hauser & Wirth jointly announced today the gallery’s exclusive worldwide representation of the Foundation.

Established in 2007, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts seeks to further the artist’s philanthropic initiatives through grants for innovative and challenging projects in the areas in which Kelley worked. The Foundation also preserves the artist’s legacy and advances the understanding of Mike Kelley’s life and creative achievements. Information will soon be available on the Foundation’s website [].

In representing the Foundation, Hauser & Wirth will further advance the legacy of Mike Kelley through exhibitions and public programs at its gallery spaces internationally, as well as through development of new publications and research on the artist’s work, and the sale of artworks.

Mike Kelley (b. Detroit, 1954, d. Los Angeles, 2012) is widely considered one of the most influential artists of our time. Irreverent but deeply informed, topical yet visionary, Kelley worked in a startling array of genres and styles, including performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, photography, sound works, text, and sculpture. He also worked on curatorial projects; collaborated with many other artists and musicians; and left a formidable body of critical and creative writing. Starting out in the late 1970s with solo performances, image/text paintings, and gallery and site-specific installations, Kelley came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures composed of common craft materials. Featuring repurposed thrift store toys, blankets, and worn stuffed animals, the Half a Man series focused Kelley’s career-long investigation of memory, trauma, and repression, predicated on what the artist described as a “shared culture of abuse.”

In more recent years, Kelley’s ambitions widened in conceptual scope and physical scale with Educational Complex (1995), the epic Day Is Done (2005), his Kandors series (2007 – 2012), and the posthumously completed public work Mobile Homestead (2006 – 2013), as he addressed architecture, institutions, and “projective reconstruction” using the theory of repressed memory syndrome coupled with (pseudo-)biographic inquiry into his own aesthetic and social formations. Throughout his career Kelley sought to understand the cultures around him from the bottom up, scouring yard sales and yearbooks for their cast-offs and leftovers. He mined popular culture and both modernist and alternative traditions, which he set in relationship to relentless self- and social examinations, by turns dark and delirious. With an inimitable mix of caustic skepticism and temporizing respect, he engaged the languages and assumptions of education, adolescence, crafts and DIY, holidays, pop psychology, parades and rituals, fandom, newspaper reportage, and modes of public address – producing a uniquely sustained address to the conditions and implications of the American vernacular.

Kelley received a BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1976) and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (1978). He lived and worked in – and drew inspiration from – Los Angeles from 1972 to 2012.

Exhibitions and Awards

Mike Kelley’s work has been the subject of numerous acclaimed exhibitions. Among these have been the retrospective Mike Kelley (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2012; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2013; Museum of Modern Art/PS1, New York NY, 2013; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles CA, 2014); the permanent public work and accompanying exhibition Mobile Homestead, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit MI (2013); Mike Kelley: Kandors, Museen Haus Lange, Haus Esters, Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Germany (2011); Mike Kelley: Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 – 2008, WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium (2008); Petting Zoo, Skulptur Projekte Münster, Germany (2007); ProfondeursVertes, Musée du Louvre, France(2006); The Uncanny, a curatorial project presented at Tate Liverpool, England and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria (2004); a 1993 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA; Documenta IX (1992) and Documenta X (1997), Kassel, Germany; and five appearances at the Whitney Biennial.

The artist’s work is represented in major public collections worldwide and has been the subject of scores of gallery exhibitions internationally. In his lifetime, Kelley received numerous awards and commendations, including the Wolfgang Hahn Prize; a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant; a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowship, Awards in the Visual Arts grant; a Skowhegan Medal for Mixed Media; the Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Michigan School of Art and Design; the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award, California Institute of the Arts; and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Mike Kelley was a member of Destroy All Monsters, an improvisational noise band formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan MI in 1974 with artists Jim Shaw, Niagara, and Cary Loren. Three volumes of the artist’s collected writings have been published, edited by John C. Welchman: Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism (MIT, 2002), Minor Histories: Statements, Conversations, Proposals (MIT, 2004), and Mike Kelley: Interviews, Conversations and Chit-Chat (JRP|Ringier, 2005).


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