Wednesday, May 28
6 PM Early Works
8 PM Day Is Done
@ Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas Street West (McCaul St. entrance open @ 5:30)
$12, Members $10, Students $8
Co-presentation with Art Gallery of Ontario
For Tickets> www.ago.net/mike-kelley-videos
Part of Summer 2014
American artist Mike Kelley was one of the most provocative and influential figures in contemporary art. His idiosyncratic works negotiate a charged terrain of desire, dread and sociopathology in everyday life. His video projects, often created with collaborators such as Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon and Tony Oursler, inhabit a peculiarly American landscape infused with irony and pop cultural debris. We are honoured to be presenting this two-part programme with the Art Gallery of Ontario in association with the exhibition Elevated: Contemporary Art in the AGO Tower.
The first programme showcases video works that alternately carried through or counterbalanced key concepts from Kelley’s work in plastics and performance art. In The Banana Man (1980 — 1983) and Superman Recites Selections from ‘The Bell Jar’ and Other Works by Sylvia Plath (1999), Kelley adopts fictional characters from childhood (the latter a mainstay of American pop culture, the former a minor character on a daytime children’s show that Kelley himself never actually watched) as vessels through which to explore the (re)construction of fictional identities and the alienation wrought as a result of urban utopianism. These two works bookend Fresh Acconci (1995), a highlight from Kelley’s fruitful collaborations with artist Paul McCarthy; here, the artists enlist a group of models to reenact a selection of Vito Acconci’s sparse black and white video performances (Claim Excerpts,1971; Contacts, 1971; Focal Point, 1971; Pryings, 1971; and Theme Song, 1973). Re-situating the source work from New York City to a sunny California mansion, the site of the reenactments draws deliberate correlations to the sheen of mid-90s Hollywood and the seediness of the San Fernando Valley.
The second programme consists of Kelley’s musical class-dismissed epic Day is Done (Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions #2-#32)(2005 – 2006), where stagings of extracurricular adolescent rituals sourced from high school yearbooks are infiltrated by a motley crew of American stereotypes and supernatural beings, the proceedings overseen by none other than Satan himself. Influenced by Rudolph Steiner’s concept of the “total artwork”, the video’s transgressive pageantry is not only replete with song, dance, and performance, but is also inflected by Kelley’s career-spanning explorations of perversion, repression, and absurdity. The result is a Carnivalesque triumph brimming with wrongness that’s well worth playing hooky for!
Banana Man (28:15, 1983)
Fresh Acconci (45 min, 1995)
Superman Recites Selections from ‘The Bell Jar’ and Other Works by Sylvia Plath (7:19, 1999)
Day is Done, (Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions #2-#32)
(2005-2006, 169 min)
Terence Dick on Day is Done @ Akimblog
“The scope of Kelley’s massive unearthing of the American psyche through a reanimation of bacchanalian high school yearbook images was greater than any one work I’ve ever seen by an artist.”
Jason Anderson, Special to The Star, May 22 2014
“Mike Kelley: The American art world lost one of its true mavericks with Mike Kelley’s suicide in 2012. On May 28 at Jackman Hall, the AGO and Pleasure Dome pay tribute with two programs of Kelley’s video works, many of which are as weird as the giant air-fresheners or installations of filthy plush toys that constituted other parts of his oeuvre. The set of early shorts at 6 p.m. includes Superman Recites Selections from ‘The Bell Jar’, a piece whose title pretty much explains its contents and was part of a larger project inspired by the Man of Steel. Then at 8 p.m. there’s a rare screening of Day is Done, a 169-minute screen spectacular that plays like a demented remake of High School Musical except with Zac Efron replaced by a guy in a cheap vampire costume. Some of us consider that a very fine idea”.
Mike Kelley’s idiosyncratic body of work includes performance art, installations, and sculptures. His works negotiate a highly charged terrain of desire, dread and sociopathology in everyday American life. With deadpan humor, he often reinvests childhood toys, kitsch, and ordinary objects with subversive meaning.
For many years Kelley was involved in video projects as performer, collaborator, and maker. Among his collaborators are important figures in art, performance, film and video, including Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, Ericka Beckman, Tony Oursler, Tony Conrad, Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto. As a performer, Kelley exhibits a psychodramatic intensity; his collaborative video projects inhabit a peculiarly American landscape infused with irony and pop cultural debris.
Mike Kelley was born in 1954 in Detroit, Michigan and died in 2012. Kelley earned a B.F.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts. In 2013, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam organized Kelley’s most comprehensive survey to-date, which will travel to the Centre Pompidou, Paris, MoMA PS1, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 1993, a retrospective of Kelley’s work was exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Haus der Kunst, Munich. A 1997 retrospective was organized by the Museu D’art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain, and traveled to the Center for Contemporary Art, Malmo, Sweden, and the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Kelley’s Mobile Homestead, 2010, a permanent artwork and public sculpture developed with the London-based organization Artangel, is located on the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
Kelley’s numerous one-person shows include those at Musée du Louvre, Paris; The Tate Liverpool, England; Wako Works of Art, Tokyo, Japan; Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the Basel Kunsthalle, Switzerland. His work was featured in Documenta IX and Documenta X, Kassel, Germany, and in exhibitions at the New Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Watari-um, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanae, Italy; Hayward Gallery, London; and Musee d’art Contemporain, Lausanne, Switzerland; and Sculpture Center, New York. Kelley is represented in the collections of the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum für Moderner Kunst, Vienna; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles among others. He received awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Skowhegan Medal for Mixed Media. Kelley lived in Los Angeles. (Electronic Arts Intermix, New York www.eai.org)