ARTANGEL have announced two weeks of screenings of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead trilogy in independent cinemas across London this November. The screenings coincide with a major survey of Mike Kelley’s work at MoMA PS1 in New York this autumn and successful screenings at Tate Modern and the Detroit Art Museum.
Mobile Homestead was the final work made by the great American artist Mike Kelley before his untimely death in 2012. The project involved Kelley building an exact replica of his childhood home, a 1950s suburban house in the Detroit suburb of Westland, with a special detachable façade that could be mounted on a chassis and driven around like a conventional mobile home.
This trilogy of remarkable documentary-style films charts the maiden voyage of the Mobile Homestead from downtown Detroit, along Michigan Avenue, to the ‘mothership’ that is the original Kelley home, and back again. Footage of the expedition is inter-cut with compelling testimonies from an array of people who live and work in Detroit, from bikers and prostitutes, to church officials and social workers, heroin addicts and heads of the automobile industry. A third film documents the opening ‘launch’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, where the completed Mobile Homestead stands today.
Going West on Michigan Avenue from Downtown Detroit to Westland is the first part of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead trilogy. The film documents, in ‘real-time’, the journey of the replica to the original homestead, tracing en route the remarkable shift along Michigan Avenue from the urban to the suburban. In a sequence of interviews, Kelley brings us face to face with residents from the wealthy area of Dearborn, the impoverished black neighbourhoods of Inkster and the white, working-class outskirts of Wayne and Westland. Their personal stories and memories indicate the extraordinary diversity of a city with which the artist shares an ambivalent past.
Going East on Michigan Avenue from Westland to Downtown Detroit is the second part of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead trilogy. The film documents the artist’s replica of his childhood residence as it journeys back along Michigan Avenue from the original Kelley home to its new location in the city centre, in a reversal of the so-called ‘white flight’ that occurred in the wake of the notorious riots of 1967. Interviews with an eclectic mix of local residents are underscored by Kelley’s characteristically dark humour and biting commentary, as the artist offers a bleak but revelatory picture of life in the Midwest.
Mobile Homestead Christening Ceremony and Launch, September 25, 2010 is the third film in Mike Kelley’s powerful trilogy about the construction of a full-scale replica of his childhood home in the Detroit suburb of Westland. Mobile Homestead was Kelley’s first public art project and the final work completed before his untimely death in 2012. This film documents the launch of the ‘mobile section’ of the homestead, in which speeches and performances by local poets and musicians are captured with Kelley’s lifelong sense of sceptical realism.
MIKE KELLEY was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1954 and died in Los Angeles in 2012. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Michigan. Major solo exhibitions include ‘Catholic Tastes’, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993); ‘Mike Kelley’, Museu d’art Contemporani, Barcelona (1997); ‘Framed and Framed, Test Room, Sublevel’, MAGASIN, Grenoble (1999); ‘The Uncanny’, Tate Liverpool and Museum Moderne Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (2004); ‘Profondeurs Vertes’, Musée du Louvre (2006); and ‘Educational Complex Onwards: 1995-2008’, WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain (2008). The largest exhibition of Kelley’s work to date opened at MoMA PS1 on 13 October 2013.
ARTANGEL commissions and produces exceptional projects by outstanding contemporary artists. Over the past two decades, Artangel projects have materialised in a wide range of different sites and situations and in countless forms of media, from film and video to sculpture and sound installations. Artangel has generated some of the most talked-about and contentious art of recent times, including work by Francis Alÿs, Clio Barnard, Matthew Barney, Jeremy Deller, Douglas Gordon, Roger Hiorns, Roni Horn, Michael Landy, Mike Kelley, Steve McQueen, Susan Philipsz,, Gregor Schneider, Rachel Whiteread and Robert Wilson.
Photo: Mike Kelley, Mobile Homestead, 2012. An Artangel commission. Photo by Jason Sudak, courtesy of MOCAD.