This Show’s as Big as His Career
‘Mike Kelley,’ a Survey at MoMA PS1 in Queens
October 17, 2013
New York Times
By HOLLAND COTTER
Plainly put, the Mike Kelley retrospective, fresh from Europe to MoMA PS1, knocks everything else in New York this fall right out of the ring. It’s immense, filling 40,000 square feet of gallery space, including a sub-basement boiler room. And it’s that extremely rare thing, a huge show that should be huge. Kelley earned this blowout; his work sustains it.
In a three-decade career, cut off abruptly by his suicide, at 57, last year, Kelley did it all, in terms of genre: performance, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, installation, sound art and writing. And he wove together — twisted together — all of that into what amounted to a single conceptual project based on recurrent themes: social class, popular culture, black humor, anti-formalist rigor and, though rarely acknowledged, a moral sense, unshakably skeptical, that ran through everything like a spine.