BORN 1954 IN WAYNE, MICHIGAN
DIED 2012 IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Mike Kelley explodes the mind of the American culture with a vision so clear and incisive, he stands as one of the most relevant and influential artists of his time. Springing out of the traditions of pop, Mike Kelley transcends the mere representation and visual exploration of contemporary cultural objects and their iconography, and brings the viewer into the existential space of a culturally created landscape that challenges the veracity of our collective perceived reality. Perry Rubenstein Gallery is proud to exhibit “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites,” one of his most spectacular works.
“I knew by the time I was a teenager that I was going to be an artist. There was no doubt about that. There was nothing else for me to be.” ~ PBS art21 Mike Kelley in “Memory”
Highly tuned into the emotional aspects of modern cultural objects, Mike Kelley captures the pathos and the need for illusion by bringing the viewer into the totality of the experience of imposed self-deception and fantasy. In “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites,” Mike Kelley captures not only the essence of culture, but American culture specifically, on which he has a grasp still barely understood by the culture itself. This has translated his work to a European audience particularly well, where an awareness and fascination with of the oddities of American custom tends to be keener through the advantage of distance, outside of the seduction of context.
“Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites” is a complex and multi-layered work, creating a quintessential American existential environment as an interpretation of consumer excess, of bulk purchases, collection in multiples and color varieties, gaudy color coordination, pursued with the conviction of entitlement to luxury and life-style. Meanwhile, the consumerism Mike Kelley ironically depicts welcomes the cheapest and lowest quality objects, at the same time as ironically laying claim to quality of life.
“Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites” is beautiful, tragic, powerful, and brilliant. It is a metaphor for the emotional connections made with objects of trivial consumption, an exploration of shape and form and texture, angles and edges dominating round forms and blurring borders. The sterilizing perfuming of the air denatures the very environment in which the denatured forms are held in suspension, like the core tragedy of the illusion of an entire culture, summarized brutally in this living, existential environment.
Mike Kelley’s work, “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites,” is sharp, smart, and deeply perceptive. The depth, breadth and meaning of his work will only continue to grow, as the culture itself will inevitably continue to evolve and devolve. We at Perry Rubenstein Gallery are honored to bring this exhibition home to Los Angeles where it was born and raised, the spiritual and creative home of Mike Kelley.