For more than three decades and in nearly every imaginable media, Mike Kelley has been making work that poses confrontational questions about cultural authority, embracing abject, antithetical perspectives in order to subvert canonical attitudes. Kelley first emerged in the public eye in the late 1970s and 1980s as a performance artist, and these drawings represent evidence from that crucial moment in his development.
Born in 1954 in Detriot, LA-based artist Mike Kelley graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1976 with a BFA and from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, in 1978 with an MFA. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at venues such as Gagosian Gallery, London, and Wiels, Brussels (both in 2007); Jablonka Galerie, Berlin and Cologne (2007, 2001, 1998, 1995, 1991, 1989); Tate Liverpool and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (both in 2004); Galleria Emi Fontana, Milan (2003, 2000); Metro Pictures, New York (2002, 1999, 1995, 1990, 1988); Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, Sweden, and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (all in 1997); and Kunsthalle Basel, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain, Bordeaux (all in 1992). In addition to appearances in the 1991 and 2008 Carnegie Internationals and seven Whitney Biennial exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of America Art, New York, between 1985 and 2002, Kelley has recently been included in group exhibitions at venues such as the Skulptur Projekte Münster (2007); Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2006); Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2001); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998, 1992, 1989); Documenta, Kassel (1997, 1992); and the Venice Biennale (1988).