Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit

Catherine Wood, Fiontan Moran


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Tate Publishing
4 April 2024
ISBN: 9781849768573
304 pages

From the publisher

Mike Kelley (1954–2012) is widely considered one of the most influential artists of our time, with an irreverent and visionary practice that spanned and mixed performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, photography, sound, text and sculpture. ?Ghost and Spirit looks at his dense and colourful body of work, from early performances, to his iconic stuffed toy works, and on to his explorations of history, memory and trauma as they haunt our experiences of school or family. Asking prescient questions about how to exist among a world of media images, about the role of art and the artist, and about embodiment, Kelley adopted different personas and mediums, deliberately deflating his own status, and from his own position as a white, heterosexual man in postmodern, capitalist America, he challenged assumptions about identity, class and institutional authority.

Bringing together a range of diverse perspectives which summon his ‘lingering influence’ (to paraphrase the artist), this book captures the complexity and persistent relevance of Kelley’s extraordinary practice.