Production still from “Extracurricular Projective Reconstruction #35,” 2010
Sad news comes in twos today for the art world as the body of prominent LA-based artist Mike Kelley is found in his home by police. Details are scant, but some outlets are reporting the death as a likely suicide. Kelley was 57.
From the AP report:
Kelley was found at his home Tuesday and it appeared he had committed suicide, South Pasadena Police Sgt. Robert Bartl said, without providing further information on the artist’s death. An autopsy was pending.
“Kelley’s work in the 1980s was part of how one defined the Los Angeles arts scene. He had a remarkable ability to fuse distinction between fine and popular art in ways that managed to perturb our sense of decorum,” said Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
A family friend who was concerned about Kelley went to his home and called 911, Bartl said.
The friend told investigators that Kelley had been depressed because he had recently broken up with his girlfriend, but no note was found, Bartl said.
Mike Kelley is best-known for his punk rock-informed work which included large-scale installations and sculptures made from sewing ratty stuffed animals together. One of Kelley’s most famous images is on the cover of Sonic Youth’s Dirty album. He was also a founding member of influential Detroit avant garde rock group Destroy All Monsters in the 1970s.
Before his death, Kelley was in the process of putting together a show for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Mike Kelley’s work will be included in the upcoming 2012 Whitney Biennial out of New York.