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Artist & Musician Mike Kelley Has Died at Age 58

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 1, 2012 11:59am | Post a Comment
Mike KelleyIn more tragic news following this morning's announcement of the passing of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, renowned artist and musician Mike Kelley has died at age 58 from an apparent suicide. (Update: Kelley was 57 when he died.)

Originally from Detroit, Kelley had been living in Los Angeles for many years. Kelley was a diverse artist known for his textiles, doll objects, performance videos, drawings, and multimedia installations. He has had one-artist exhibitions all over the world including the Gagosian Galleries in New York City and London, the musée du Louvre in Paris, and galleries in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Austria. He had public collections featured in the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among many others. His work is scheduled to appear in the upcoming Whitney biennial.

Sonic Youth - DirtyKelley was also a musician. Though those two audiences didn't often co-mingle, music fans will recognize his art from the album cover for Sonic Youth's 1992 album, Dirty. Kelley was a founder of Destroy All Monsters, a noise/punk/experimental band from Detroit which began in 1973 and broke up in 1985. Although they never found mainstream success, they garnered new attention in 1977 with the addition of former members of The Stooges (Ron Asheton) and MC5 (Michael Davis). In 1994, Kelley and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore compiled a 3-CD box set called Destroy All Monsters: 1974-1976 on Moore's record label, Ecstatic Peace!. The band reunited in 1995 and re-released past editions of the Destroy All Monsters magazine, recorded 5 new albums, exhibited their art, and performed at festivals around the world.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Kelley for a What's In My Bag? video in 2010. He spoke to us about horror films, music, and art.

RIP Mike Kelley! 

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