Mike Kelley


Artist Mike Kelley

Photograph: Peter Rigaud/Corbis Outline

American, 1954 –

Mike Kelley was born in Wayne, Michigan in 1954.  His first aspirations were to become a writer, but found art to be a more nature outlet for his creativity.   He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1976 and the California Institute of the Arts in 1978 with a Master of Fine Arts.  He worked with different media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, video, and writing. He even created works using crocheted blankets and toys found from thrift stores.

Kelley gained national and international attention as early in his career as the 1980s.   In 1997, he and collaborated with Tony Oursler on an exhibition called “Poetics Project” that included video, painting, and sculpture. He exhibited regularly in both Los Angeles and New York.    A retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1993 entitled “Mike Kelley: Catholic Tastes” was held.

Mike Kelley was one of the most influential American artists of the past quarter century.  His work often commented on American class, popular culture and the rebellion of youth.  Mike Kelley committed suicide in 2012.