Artwork Detail

Untitled #1
American, 1954–2012
Enamel on aluminum
66 5/8 x 46 5/8 x 1 3/4 "
Gift of Peter Norton, 2015
© Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts / Licensed by VAGA, New York
This sleek metal plaque in an ovular shape, derived from the outlines of a UFO, contains an amorphous oozing creature with tentacles and a human eye. In the 1990s multimedia artist Mike Kelley created critical works based on a confrontation of the ugly, the worthless, and the tragic. To Kelley, excrement, waste, and the deformed human body—epitomized by the alien creature depicted here—represent society’s self-abasement and self-loathing. In his 1997 essay on ufology (the study of UFOs), Kelley wrote: “Ufology pictures an aesthetic collision between a housing structure, the UFO, and an alien element that inhabits this house, in an uncommon aesthetic mixture of the abject and the technological.” In Untitled #1 the combination of a sleek exterior and an unformed, menacing interior may address repressed inadmissible desires or predilections. [Permanent collection label, 2016]