Kelley, Mike

Kelley, Mike (Michael Kelley), 1954–2012, American artist, b. Wayne, Mich., studied Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (B.F.A., 1976), California Institute of the Arts (M.F.A., 1978). At Michigan he was one of the founders of the anti-rock noise band Destroy All Monsters; he subsequently became one of the most varied and influential of contemporary artists,. From the 1970s to 1986 he was primarily involved in complicated, ritualistic, symbolic, and often scatological performance art. During the 1980s he created the works for which he is best known, worn stuffed animals from thrift shops and yard sales that he posed on pieces of fabric or tied up together with afghans in large assemblages and hung from the ceiling. Obsessive and eccentric, often concerned with issues of class and gender, Kelley's work also included drawings (many room-sized), sculptures, video, installations, and various kinds of series including sculptures of every school he ever attended, with the parts he had forgotten left blank. He committed suicide in 2012.

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