Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mike Kelley (1954-2012)

Mike Kelley was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received a BFA from the University of Michigan, and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Kelley’s work ranges from highly symbolic and ritualistic performance pieces to arrangements of stuffed-animal sculptures, to wall-size drawings, to multi-room installations that restage institutional environments (schools, offices, zoos), to extended collaborations with artists such as Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler, and the band Sonic Youth. A critic and curator, Kelley writes for art and music journals and has organized numerous exhibitions incorporating his own work, work by fellow artists, and non-art objects that exemplify aspects of nostalgia, the grotesque, and the uncanny. His work questions the legitimacy of “normative” values and systems of authority, and attacks the sanctity of cultural attitudes toward family, religion, sexuality, art history, and education. He also comments on and undermines the legitimacy of the concept of victim or trauma culture, which posits that almost all behavior results from some form of repressed abuse. Kelley’s ongoing pseudo-autobiographical project, "Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction," begun in 1995, is a planned compendium of 365 sculpture and video works, inspired by mundane yearbook photos and an examination of his own selective amnesia. Kelley’s aesthetic mines the rich and often overlooked history of vernacular art in America, and his practice borrows heavily from the confrontational, politically conscious, “by all means necessary” attitude of punk music. Mike Kelley received the Skowhegan Medal in Mixed Media, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Major solo exhibitions include Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Tate Liverpool; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Kunsthalle, Basel; among others. Kelley lived and worked in Los Angeles, where he passed away in February 2012.

1. The Peristaltic Airwaves, 38:49

Performed Live on KPFK Radio, September 30, 1986, Los Angeles

2. Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile (full version) Performed with Sonic Youth, Live at Artist's Space, New York City, December 5, 1986 with Molly Cleator and Adam Rudolf. Recorded by C. Parkinson.

City 17, 2007-2009
Mixed media
Overall: 83 15/16 x 17 1/8 x 17 1/8 inches (213.2 x 43.5 cm)
Ed. of 5

Mike Kelley & Paul McCarthy & Violent Onsen Geisha

Sod and Sodie Sock
  1. Upstairs 6:04
  2. Jungle 5:44
  3. Guitar? 5:34
  4. Shaver 6:34
  5. Street 8:06
  6. Salon 3:08
  7. Up 3:09
  8. Clapper 7:23
  9. End 8:04
  10. Mopping 3:01

Limpid Pool, 1987
Acrylic on canvas mounted on wood
60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)

Studio C
  1. Mush 1:41
  2. Shanty Town 2:08
  3. Pierce 2:20
  4. Cracklins 2:28
  5. Throat 2:37
  6. Squall 2:25
  7. Fistula 3:57
  8. Go, Baby, Go 4:08
  9. A Quiet One 4:40
  10. Duet 4:49
  11. Short 4:54
  12. The Air 4:53
  13. Pig Out 21:40

Twinkling Coppers (from "Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile"), 1986
Acrylic on canvas with penny and string of multi-colored flashing electrical Christmas lights
60 x 60 x 3 3/8 inches (152.4 x 152.4 x 8.6 cm)

Photo © Douglas M. Parker Studio

Comp O.S.O.
  1. Live At The Session Part 1 4:43
  2. Live At The Session Part 2 3:51
  3. Live At The Session Part 3 7:37
  4. Live At The Session Part 4 4:59
  5. Live At The Session Part 5 4:53
  6. Live At The Session Part 6 6:41
  7. Live At The Session Part 7 11:16
  8. Live At The Session Part 8 1:59
  9. Vocal Exercise 0:36
  10. In The Mess Hall 6:36
  11. Wet Oatmeal And Three Voices 3:09
  12. Ramp Drag 4:36
  13. Duet For Two Organs Used By Hermann Nitsch in 1978 12:29 

Following up on their previous releases, Sod and Sodie Sock and Studio C, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and Masaya Nakahara (aka Violent Onsen Geisha) team up again for Comp O.S.O., recorded live at the Vienna Secession in 1998. The CD features a live improvisation performed by the three artists on the opening night of the Kelley/McCarthy installation Sod and Sodie Sock - an immense faux military encampment made up of barrack tents, a shower room, a mess hall, and various other environments. For several weeks this structure was the site of numerous improvisations performed by Kelley and McCarthy aided by a cast of volunteers. These actions are the basis for the second section of the CD, titled 'training exercises', and include: In the Mess Hall, an improvisational percussion workout with pots and pans; Wet Oatmeal and Three Voices; and Ramp Drag, which documents the tones produced by wooden table-like furniture pieces being slowly dragged over a stone floor to create an incredibly lush sound. This CD also includes Duet for Two Organs Used by Hermann Nitsch in 1978. In April of 1978 Kelley and McCarthy each loaned Nitsch two, almost identical, plastic chord organs for his performance of the Orgies Mysteries Theatre in Venice CA. The organs were used to produce constant background drone. McCarthy's organ was damaged so that it already produced a constant random drone, while Kelley's organ had two keys taped down to create a similar effect. These organs have now been reunited - joined together again in an eternal duet.

The Gobbler
(Art Byington, Cameron Jamie, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and Dave Muller)
"Skin of Flesh Almighty" (1997)
  1. Lazy Siren 8:15
  2. That's My Baby 5:18
  3. Jungle-Style Chicken 3:38
  4. Careful With That Monk, Eugene 6:18
  5. Rock-A-Pauly 5:09
  6. Fuzz Wash 5:39
  7. Hey! Ho! 4:23
  8. Sparse 4:11
  9. Odin's Breath 4:05
  10. Show No Waddle 4:04
  11. The Load 7:59
  12. Itchy Brother 8:03
  13. Show No Shame 5:26
Los Angeles, CA: Compound Annex Records / The End is Here. 1997

Synopsis: "Art Byington, Cameron Jamie, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and Dave Muller. 1997 release by art world all star band. Scary meandering sounds, perfect for secret meetings in secluded caves. 13 evil tracks".

MIke Kelley Discography

Mike Kelley, The Peristaltic Airwaves &Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel,Lincoln's Profile, High Performance Audio; 1987 (audiocassette)

Mike Kelley with Sonic Youth. Extracts from Plato's,Cave,Rothko's Chapel,Lincoln's Profile, Tellus: The Audio Cassette Magazine, No.18 ; 1988 (audiocassette)

The Dogz, produced and arranged by Jim Shaw. It's Easter in my Brain/Willy Nilly. Cameo Appearance Records; 1990 (45 rpm.)

Raymond Pettibon and Super Session, Torches and Standards. Blast First Records; 1990 (disc 33 1/3 rpm.)

Destroy All Monsters, 1974-1976. 3 CD box set, Ecstatic Peace/Father Yod; 1994

Mike Kelley, "Dry Hump", Oostende, CD compilation, Bigg Truck Records; 1994

Jim Shaw, "Good Looking Corpse", Oostende, CD compilation, Bigg Truck Records; 1994

Ann Magnuson, The Luv Show. Collaboration with Super Session, Geffen Records; 1995(CD)

Destroy All Monsters, Live in Detroit. Ecstatic Peace, Father Yod; 1995 (7" EP)

Destroy All Monsters, Paranoid of Blondes. Sympathy for the Record Industry; 1995 (45 rpm.)

Destroy All Monsters, Grow Live Monsters, special edition boxed audio cassette and mini-book. Time Stereo; 1995

Destroy All Monsters, "My Cowboy Hero/Calling All Girls", flexi-record released in "Geisha This", Destroy All Monsters Magazine, first printing, Time Stereo; 1995

Destroy All Monsters, Silver Wedding Anniversary. Sympathy for The Record Industry; 1996 (Re-released on Compound Annex, Compound #6; 1998)

Destroy All Monsters, Backyard Monster Tube. The End is Here/ Time Stereo; 1996 (audiocassette)

Carey Loren, Radio Teardrop, includes mixes of Destroy All Monsters tracks, The End is Here Records; 1996 (Edition of 500 CDs)

The Poetics, The Poetics: Remixes of Recordings 1977 to 1983. 3 CD box set, Compound Annex #1,#2,#3; 1997

The Poetics, Critical Inquiry in Green. Compound Annex #4; 1997 (CD)

Gobbler, Skin of Flesh All Mighty! Compound Annex #5; 1997 (CD)

Destroy All Monsters, "Raga", Bring Your Own Walkman! CD compilation, produced by W139 Amsterdam and Jack Jaegger; 1997

Gobbler, "Manamana", Bring Your Own Walkman! CD compilation, produced by W139 Amsterdam and Jack Jaegger; 1997

Destroy All Monsters, "Typical Girl/Attack of the Chiggers",flexi-record released in "Geisha This", Destroy All Monsters Magazine. Third Printing. Time Stereo; 1997

Destroy All Monsters, "Mom's and Dad's Pussy", Gummo soundtrack CD compilation, London Records; 1997

Mike Kelley, "Odd Man Out" & "The Hole" from Crossings: Kunst Zum Horen un Sehen CD compilation released with catalogue on the occasion of the exhibition "Crossings: Zum Horen un Sehen." Kunshalle Wien; 1998

Destroy All Monsters, Backyard Monster Tube and Pig. CD released by The End is Here; 1998 (Songs 1-11 previously released as Backyard Monster Tube by Time Stereo;1996)

Mike Kelley/Paul McCarthy/Violent Onsen Geisha, Sod and Sodie Sock. Compound Annex #7; 1998 (CD released with Studio C )

Mike Kelley/Paul McCarthy/Violent Onsen Geisha, Studio C, Compound Annex #8; 1998 (CD released with Sod and Sodie Sock )

Destroy All Monsters, "Boots", Make it Funky CD compilation, released with Make it Funky: Crossover zwischen Musik, Pop, Avantgarde and Art, Ulrike Groos/Markus Muller Eds., Koln: Oktagon, 1998 (Jahresring 45)

Mike Kelley, "Lock Groove #258", Various 500 Lock Grooves By 500 Artists, compilation LP, RRR records; 1999

Mike Kelley, "Untitled (Voices)", RAS #4, Revista de Arte Sonoro CD Compilation, Centro de Creaci—n Experimental, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha; 1999

Mike Kelley, "Anal Sadistic", The New Sounds of Today! Songpoems by Twenty-one Contemporary Artists, CD Compilation, Artissues Press; 2000.

Mike Kelley, "Black Betty", CD published for the exhibition Kim's Bedroom, curated by Kim Gordon at Mu-De Witte Dame, Eindhoven Netherlands; 2000.

Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Violent Onsen Geisha, "Born on the Catwalk", Rearcar, CD Compilation, Leiterwager Records; 2001

Music Videography

Futurist Ballet, (collaboration with Jim Shaw) 1973.

Grow Live Monsters, a film by Carey Loren with Music by Destroy All Monsters, Lobsterworld Films; 1975/95, 60 minutes

Shake A Lizard Tail or Rust Belt Rump, Video by Carey Loren, original soundtrack by Destroy All Monsters, Lobsterworld Films; 1996, 30 minutes

Clear Day, Video of Destroy All Monsters 1995 reunion tour live in Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Diego, Lobsterworld Films; 1996; 60 minutes

Strange Frut/Rock Apocrypha (Detroit Culture Part 1), Music and and video by Destroy All Monsters, Lobsterworld films; 1998, 60 minutes

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