Mike Kelley, born on this day in 1954, was an American artist known to dabble in almost all areas of the far-reaching art spectrum. Found objects, textiles, assemblage, performance and video, the Michigan-born creative was interested in all the vernacular niches there were.
Throughout his life, Kelley took on the roles of student, critic, curator and artist, fashioning himself as a force to be reckoned with at art havens like the Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Tate Liverpool. His varied artworks addressed widely-held beliefs toward religion, family and sexuality, echoing the burgeoning sentiments of punk music. His ongoing semi-autobiographical project, "Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction," is an expansive example of these themes, consisting of 365 sculpture and video works inspired by common snapshots found in yearbooks, local newspapers and his own albums.
Mike Kelley: Kandor/Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction at the Larry Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA.
Tragically, Kelley's career ended abruptly earlier this year, when the artist took his own life. Following his death, a make-shift memorial was constructed near his studio in Los Angeles and admirers of the prolific artist worked through social media to grow the installation, which was eventually taken over by the Mike Kelley Foundation.
In honor of the artist's birthday, we've put together a slideshow of interviews given by Kelley toward the end of his career. Let us know what you think of his work in the comments section.