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Mike Kelley

(b. 1954)


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(1954– )

American multimedia artist, born in Detroit. He played for some years in a rock band with Paul McCarthy, with whom he worked in collaboration on the installation work Heidi (1991). Both artists explore the idea of ‘abjection’ (see Kristeva). Kelley has made drawings of steaming excrement and snot. Manipulating Mass-Produced Idealised Objects (1990) is a two part photo-work in which a man and a woman sexually stimulate themselves with soft toys. He was among the generation of artists among whom there was a reaction against the hand-made, which was associated with ‘clichéd ideas of self-expression’. However, many of his own objects are hand-made. He uses discarded toys and he has said that ‘the hand-made now is pitiful and doesn't necessarily have anything to do with emotion or personal psychology’ (interview with Ralph Rugoff, 1991, reprinted in Harrison and Wood).

Subjects: Art.


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