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Mike Kelley


(b Detroit, MI, 1954) Kelley received a BFA from the University of Michigan in 1976, followed by his MFA from the California Institute for the Arts in 1978. Mike Kelley has often found inspiration in the soiled remnants of childhood left forgotten in the American suburban basement. Matted and tattered, chewed up and cried upon, Kelley's stuffed animal and blanket installations are powerful critiques of culture, both aesthetically and psychologically. From a visual and formal standpoint, Kelley presents the viewer with soiled toys as unexpected ready-mades, which despite their inherent limitations as formal poetry, can be seen as discreet objects. Psychologically, they represent the time in childhood when "transitional" objects are used to move away from dependency and on to security and independence. The stuffed animals never fully transcend their original context, therefore leaving the viewer, as the artist desires, with vague feelings of one's own childhood. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Post War and Contemporary Art (Evening), May 14, 2003, lot 49)

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Contemporary Art (261)