From My Institution to Yours: A Video Tribute to Mike Kelley (September 1)
In tribute to the influential American artist, Mike Kelley (1954–2012), who took his own life earlier this year, Tate Modern hosts a two-day survey of videos by and with Kelley. The event will take place in the new Tanks, spaces dedicated to live, process-based and intermedia approaches to art exemplified by Kelley’s remarkable work. Featuring over twenty videos, this pair of screenings coincides with the opening of a new display in the Poetry and Dream collection wing, featuring Kelley’s 1994 installation Channel One, Channel Two and Channel Three and documentation of his early performance works.
Kelley’s art is rooted in abjection, ritual and cunning ambiguity. It lays bare mechanisms of representation and communication, revealing cultural blind spots through the use of vernacular language and imagery, particularly drawing on American crafts and subcultures. His layered imagery, hijacked from sources as diverse as folk and outsider art, DIY manuals, comics, genre fiction, spiritualism, Ufology, pop psychology, punk, glam and psychedelia, is fused together through the use of a broad range of media, including drawing, performance, video, photography, painting, sculpture, sound, installation and writing. These elements are never simply appropriated, nor dissected in the manner of detached social commentary. From his early paintings and performances made while a student at CalArts to increasingly complex sculptures and multimedia installations, Kelley’s work confronts the viewer with unexpected associations and sabotages expectations, often to tragicomic effect.
This attitude is also evident in his video works, from the early The Banana Man (1983), where Kelley poses as the character of a kids’ TV show he has never seen, to the epic Day is Done (2005–6), a stage musical entirely derived from photographs of costumed people found in high school yearbooks and originally planned to have a running time of 24 hours.
The programme equally demonstrates Kelley’s penchant for collaboration, through the inclusion of videos made together with Ericka Beckmann, Tony Conrad, Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler, Anita Pace, Raymond Pettibon, Michael Smith, Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, and Detroit’s seminal noise band Destroy All Monsters, of which Kelley was a founding member.
Saturday 1 September, 12.00–22.00
- Mike Kelley, Cross Gender/Cross Genre (Parts 1 and 2), 1999, 1 hr 59:06 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley, Out O’ Actions, 1998, 4:25 min, colour, sound
- Cary Loren with Destroy All Monsters, Strange Früt, 1998, 1 hr, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Fresh Acconci, 1995, 45 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler and Anita Pace, Pole Dance, 1997, 31:18 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Heidi, 1992, 62:40 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Heidi’s Four Basket Dances, 1992/2001, 15 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley, Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, 100 Reasons, 1991, 6:41 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley and Ericka Beckman, Blind Country, 1989, 19:57 min, colour, sound
- Raymond Pettibon, Sir Drone, 1989, 55:37 min, colour, sound (feat. Mike Kelley and Mike Watt)
- Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Family Tyranny (Modeling and Molding), 1987, 8:08 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Cultural Soup, 1987, 6:55 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, Kappa, 1986, 26 min, colour, sound
- Tony Oursler, EVOL, 1984, 28:58 min, colour, sound (feat. Mike Kelley)
- Tony Conrad with Mike Kelley, Beholden to Victory, 1980–83, 26 min, colour, sound
- Mike Kelley, The Banana Man, 1983, 28:15 min, colour, sound
Part of the series: The Tanks: Art in Action