Mary Clare Stevens
Mike Kelley FoundationBy Mary Clare Stevens
Arguably one of the most influential artists of his time, Mike Kelley left a formidable body of work that blurred boundaries, pushed buttons, and crossed genres. The work has been described as intestinal, traumatic, and elegiac (Anne Rochette and Wade Saunders, Art in America ); as well as disturbing, demanding, and beautiful (Roberta Smith, New York Times ). It is unlikely that it has ever been described as prudent, professionalized, or operating within what institutions define as best practices. On the one hand, commentators point to the arresting passion of Kelley’s oeuvre; on the other is a set of terms describing the discretion or deference of a researched and curated legacy.