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Mike Kelley

Untitled #1


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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]

  • Artist Mike Kelley (American, 1954–2012)
  • Title Untitled #1
  • Date 1994
  • Medium Enamel on aluminum
  • Dimensions unframed | 66 5/8 x 46 5/8 x 1 3/4 in.
  • Credit line Gift of Peter Norton, 2015
  • Object number 45.2015

Rotation 2: Contemporary Art from the Peter Norton Gift
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/11/2015 - 10/19/2015

Received 3/23/2015
Peter Norton (Los Angeles, CA)

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