The highly anticipated Mike Kelley (1954–2012) retrospective exhibition opened today in Amsterdam and will tour to the Centre Pompidou, Paris, MoMA PS1, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Kelley is widely acknowledged as an artist who defined his era, created a stunning and protean legacy that encompasses painting, sculpture, works on paper, installation, performance, music, video, photography, collaborative works and critical texts. In the largest exhibition of his work ever organised and the first comprehensive survey attempted since 1993 the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presentation of Mike Kelley will bring together over 200 works, spanning the artist’s 35-year career.
This exhibition is organized by Ann Goldstein (Stedelijk Museum Director), in cooperation with the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Curator of the first exhibition concept is Dr. Eva Meyer-Hermann. The first major international traveling exhibition to be organized and presented by the Stedelijk since its expansion and renovation.
The curator of the first exhibition concept is Dr. Eva Meyer-Hermann. The exhibition took on a new significance following the artist’s tragic death in early 2012. “After Mike Kelley’s death, his remarkable oeuvre was suddenly complete, and so this exhibition, which was being planned with his direct participation, became a retrospective in the full sense of the word,” Ann Goldstein stated. “We now have the responsibility to begin to think about his voluminous, wide-ranging, generative accomplishments as a completed body of work. I know that the process of discovery and reconsideration that we begin at the Stedelijk will surely be taken up by other curators, historians and institutions, extending far into the future.”
Organized chronologically for the most part, Mike Kelley will fill virtually all of the 1792-square-meter (19.289-square-foot) temporary exhibition space in the new building of the expanded Stedelijk Museum. The exhibition will constitute an overview of the artist’s work from the mid-1970s until shortly before his death, allowing visitors to understand and appreciate the full scope of his achievements.
“Mike Kelley’s brilliance was rooted in his ability to dig critically into a world of cultural productions, representations, and constructions in all their messy contradictions, using a combination of incisive wit, poetic insight and uncanny associative power,” Ann Goldstein commented. “Nothing is sacrosanct in his work—not so-called high culture, history, literature, music, philosophy, psychology, religion or education. In bringing together his interest in so-called low culture—from crafts to comic strips—with a reconsideration of identity and sexuality, he was nothing less than revelatory.” Why is this not coming to London?
Mike Kelley will be accompanied by a fully illustrated 400-page catalogue co-published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and DelMonico Books/Prestel, which stands as the most comprehensive publication on the artist to date. The catalogue is designed by acclaimed Los Angeles-based graphic designer Lorraine Wild, who worked closely with Kelley over the past decade. Dr. Eva Meyer-Hermann and Lisa Gabrielle Mark serve as co-editors.
Exhibition “Mike Kelley” (15 December 2012 – 1 April 2013) Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam