In February of this year, the artist Mike Kelley tragically killed himself in a bathtub, putting an end to an art career that spanned five decades and took him to Documenta, the Whitney Biennial, the Pompidou Center, the Venice Biennial, and Gagosian. He collaborated with some of the top artists of our day, including Paul McCarthy and Tony Oursler. In the New York Times, Holland Cotter described Mike Kelley as, “one of the most influential American artists of the past quarter century and a pungent commentator on American class, popular culture and youthful rebellion.”
A few weeks ago, a tribute exhibition of his work opened at the Watermill Center in the Hamptons during its annual summer benefit. The benefit supports the center’s unique mission at the intersection of performance, theater, art, and science, which is rooted in the work of its founder, theater artist Robert Wilson. While several industry people in the crowd made audible negative comments about the "spectacle," the majority of the crowd took delight in experiencing art, theater, performance, and a lot of insanity while celebrating an event that Mike Kelley would have likely loved. See the pictures above.
Mike Kelley: 1954-2012 includes works from the Kandor Project and is curated by Harald Falckenberg in collaboration with LUMA Foundation. The exhibition is open through September 16.