Public Programs

Current & Upcoming Public Programs

 

At Home with Mike Kelley

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts

www.eai.org

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts are pleased to co-present At Home with Mike Kelley, a series of online screenings and conversations about the moving-image work of Mike Kelley. Featuring videos that span from the 1980s to 2012, this series underscores the varied and inventive art practice of Kelley, praised widely for his use of lowbrow pop cultural material and everyday arcana to interrogate the basic structures of American life. These semi-weekly online events will pair Kelley’s video work with conversations between artistic collaborators, writers, curators, admirers, and other interlocutors to parse the artist’s work and legacy.

This screening series will stream live at eai.org at selected times through July and August, accompanied by live conversations and audience Q&A. Additionally, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts will make available Kelley’s reflections on the videos at their website mikekelleyfoundation.org, bringing forth further perspectives on and approaches to Kelley’s prolific output.

Beginning in the late 1970s with solo performances, image/text paintings, and gallery and site-specific installations, Kelley came to prominence in the following decades 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.” Kelley’s solo and collaborative videos often tread similar territory, taking as their subject relics from the artist’s childhood, postwar Americana, and themes of social conditioning and alienation, the family, and public life.

Kelley was acutely aware of video’s attributes and possibilities, and treated his moving-image work with the same keen specificity as his performance and gallery art. Writing on his first solo videotape The Banana Man, he notes that “video and film tend to normalize fracture. The viewer is expected to jump from one image to the next and experience it as a seamless development.” For him, this quality of fracture unlocked a new dimension in his solo character-based performance, allowing for seemingly incoherent and illogical parts to settle into a contradictory yet unified whole. As a collaborator, Kelley worked in various capacities with a wide array of artists including Michael Smith, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, Tony Oursler, Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, and Ericka Beckman. Included in this series are Beckman and Kelley’s H.G. Wells-inspired BLIND COUNTRY and his collaboration with the Yonemoto brothers, Kappa, two stunning psychodramas fusing Freudian symbology with pop imagery.

Later works by Kelley are singular in their scope and ambition. He would compare the experience of viewing his nearly three-hour opus Day Is Done, first exhibited as a sculptural installation at Gagosian Gallery in 2005, to “channel-surfing on television,” a barrage of “simultaneous and sequential scenes playing in architectural space” that recall both filmic montage and music video television. At the time of his death in 2012, Kelley had been working on an ambitious public art installation, Mobile Homestead, and had completed an accompanying feature-length travelogue documenting the journey of a full-scale replica of his childhood home across Detroit and back, in the process interviewing citizens of the artist’s hometown.

The series will begin this month with screenings of The Banana Man and BLIND COUNTRY, with additional events throughout August to be announced. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 8 pm EDT (5 pm PDT):
Mike Kelley, The Banana Man, 1983
Followed by a conversation with Michael Smith, Cauleen Smith, and Ying Liu, moderated by Mary Clare Stevens and Rebecca Cleman.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 8 pm EDT (5 pm PDT):
Mike Kelley and Ericka Beckman, BLIND COUNTRY, 1989
Followed by a conversation with Ericka Beckman and Jamillah James.

Image: Still from Day Is Done (2005/2006)