LOS ANGELES — LA’s art world has been in mourning ever since artist Mike Kelley died earlier this month, an apparent suicide. At the College Art Association conference and at various events, artists and art lovers are finding ways to remember him and keep his work alive.
The most poignant and effective I’ve seen so far continues through today at the Farley Building in Eagle Rock. Located in his former studio and organized by the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, the exhibition is a 24-hour screening of the Detroit-born artist’s work. It includes two large-scale projections simultaneously playing clips from Day is Done, his cacophonous, surrealistic series of theatrical performances inspired by high school assemblies.
In addition to the main screening room, the exhibition features a small maze of rooms that can fit only 4-5 people at a time. Video pieces include an Art21 feature on his work and the hypnotic Pole Dance, created in conjunction with Tony Oursler and Anita Pace. Even amidst the busy show, the intimacy of the rooms lends to a private reflection on his work.
I’m not an expert on Kelley’s work, but the exhibition seems to thoroughly cover a broad swath of his most well-known pieces. Many attendees — friends, colleagues and family of the artist — hugged, shed tears and shared memories of him. It’s a touching retrospective and moving tribute to one of America’s most influential artists.