Artist Research: Mike Kelley

Mike Kelley’s “Kandors” series (1999, 2007, 2009, 2011)

Mike Kelley was an eclectic but influential artist who worked with various artistic disciplines. His work often focused on subjects such as "youth, class and the divide between low and high culture"(2). "Kelley has made nostalgia, memory, and repression in everyday life the topics of his idiosyncratic sculptures, performances, paintings, and installations, which conflate vernacular sources and high modernist aesthetics "(1). His works were quirky, and dark - and he definitely liked to focus on subjects/ topics that mainstream society did not like to discuss out in the open like abuse and or mental repressions of trauma. As well as make fun and sort of go against American societies idea of what was 'normal'. Mike Kelley committed suicide in 2012 but he is remembered as "one of the most influential members of the contemporary Conceptual Art movement"(2).

One installation that I liked was Kelley's "Kandors" series. After noticing that within the Superman comics there was no one set depiction of Kandor (the capital of Superman's homeworld) he came up with the idea to depict as many contrasting versions of Kandor as he could(1). The main reason I like it so much is because with the use of lightning and color Kelley was able to set a certain mood for the each of pieces. They're these tiny neon glowing cities of a lost world, trapped in glass and surrounded by darkness - the cities themselves are the main light source within the space. 

Sources Cited

1 "EXHIBITIONS." Mike Kelley, Mike Kelley, 
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2 "Mike Kelley." Artnet, Artnet Worldwide Corporation,
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3"A Maverick as Student and Teacher." The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 10 October 2018,
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