HISK, Charles de Kerchovelaan 187a, 9000, Gent
Wednesday, 27 March 2019, 18:30
HISK OPEN LECTURE
Lent Felt: Initiations of his mind's fall
John Welchman on Mike Kelley’s oeuvre
The number of places is limited, please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniella Géo, curator of the HISK, invited John Welchman for an open lecture.
A valedictory lecture on the life and work of Mike Kelley—artist, noise musician, writer, actor, benefactor, teacher and Catholic misfit. Kelley was a wholehearted and cantankerous sage with an indelible blue collar background who was sometimes so wired-in to the elemental stakes of the American vernacular that during certain on-song weeks he generated enough ideas and imaginings to last another sort of artist an entire career. While his day job transformed him inexorably, sometimes painfully, into a high end artist, even into a minor celebrity, he never relinquished his preferred role as a counter-culture warrior fighting for the release of the voices and skills he always felt that mainstream institutions kept in positions of muteness or invisibility. He tried to understand his culture from the bottom up, scouring thrift stores and yard sales for its refuse and cast-offs, addressing with an inimitable mix of caustic skepticism and what I can only describe as temporizing honor, the languages and assumptions of education, adolescence, crafts and DIY, holidays, pop psychology, parades and rituals, fandom, newspaper reportage, public address and a thousand other conditions of daily life. The lecture exams three aspects of his powerful contribution to contemporary art: his influential body of critical and creative writings; his special brand of parodic humor, fired up by a life-long commitment to caricature, irony and bathos; and the special investigation offered by his work into the aesthetics, social circulation and abusively coercive powers of religion—an arena suffused with personal agonies that touches on his tragic death by suicide in 2012.
John Welchman is Professor of Art History at the University of California and the Chair of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts (LA). More information about John Welchman
Full house during the open lecture