Mike Kelley is Dead

by Will Brand on February 1, 2012 · 1 comment Newswire

Kelley, at far right, with Douglas Huebler (left) and Tim Silverlake, CalArts, circa 1978. Photo via the Douglas Huebler Art Trust.

Gagosian Gallery has confirmed a report this afternoon by GalleristNY that the artist Mike Kelley is dead. He was 57.

The gallery declined to offer details on the time or circumstances of the death, but one thing we know: this is a loss. Kelley was one of the smartest, most accomplished artists of his generation, and a favorite of the AFC staff. A graduate of CalArts, he took that school’s interdisciplinary approach to heart, producing an oeuvre that ranged from sculpture and drawing to performance and video, and quickly became a mainstay of Metro Pictures’s exceptional program in the mid-1980s. Last month, he was named as one of the artists to be included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, which opens March 1st.

He was also a musician, founding Destroy All Monsters and forming a band in art school with lifelong friend Tony Oursler. More recently, he created a feature-length musical, Day is Done.

We’ll update with details as they become available.

UPDATE: 3:00 — ARTINFO is reporting, via Helene Winer of Metro Pictures, that Kelley’s death was a suicide.

UPDATE: 5:00 — The Associated Press is also reporting that the death was a suicide, and has a few more details; Kelley had apparently recently broken up with his girlfriend. As Kriston Capps said on Twitter earlier, tell an artist you love him today.

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