Artist Mike Kelley Dead at 57


Artist Mike Kelley has died, age 57. The cause of death has not been announced. The news was reported by the New York Observer‘s Gallerist blog  (which indicated that the cause was said to be suicide), and confirmed by A.i.A.

Kelley garnered acclaim in the 1980s for his installations and wall pieces using stuffed animals and crocheted afghans, which appeared in the 1989 Whitney Biennial. The artist will be included in the 2012 Biennial, opening Mar. 1. His puerile and provocative work earned him both accolades and skepticism, but in any event placed him securely in the contemporary art canon.

Less known are Kelley’s performance works. In 1974, he cofounded the noise band Destroy All Monsters with artist Jim Shaw and others. He organized a music festival for the 2009 Performa biennial and, last fall, SculptureCenter in New York mounted a complex video and installation collaboration between Kelley and Michael Smith.

The L.A.-based artist has had major solo shows at the Whitney, the L.A. County Museum of Art, the Louvre and other institutions. He spent most of his career represented by Metro Pictures Gallery, switching to Gagosian about 10 years ago.