Eric and I were very saddened today to learn of the death of Mike Kelley. Formerly of the band Destroy All Monsters (in the earlier, more experimental phases), Mike tried his hand in many disciplines – visual art, performance, experimental music. At the time of this writing, it’s been noted that his death (at age 57) seems to have been a suicide, Faux News suggests due to a breakup, but this doesn’t seem to be backed by any other sources I’ve seen among art blogs or sites, or more likely, people in the art world who knew him and had been in communication with him more recently.
It seems fortuitous that for Winter Solstice I’d given Eric the book collecting art from the early Destroy All Monsters zines. At the time I felt that way because there were only a limited number of these books printed and I’d managed to snag the last copy at St. Mark’s Bookstore. This adds an extra specialness to it.
This is a page scanned from from said book, many of these collages were collaborative with the members of Destroy All Monsters, so it’s hard to say which elements are specifically Mike. Here’s an example of his own work though:
He frequently worked with toys, stuffed animals, plush fabric—for some pop culture shorthand, you know that crocheted doll on the cover of Sonic Youth album, Dirty? He made that. He also collaborated with Sonic Youth on a performance piece called Plato’s Cave, the soundtrack of which can be found on UbuWeb.com, along with a number of sound pieces by Kelley himself.
Eric was fortunate enough to catch his final NYC performance at Judson Church (where we were married!) in 2009. There’s quite a bit of video from that on YouTube as well, including this piece
(Our friend Jase is one of the guys with the ladder 😉 )
And of course, Destroy All Monsters.
UPDATE: As if this weren’t a depressing enough day to be an artist, I just read that surrealist painter/sculptor and spouse of Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, has also passed away at 101. I should’ve picked up that second bottle of wine when we were out today.