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Mike Kelley, LA artist, found dead in his South Pasadena home in apparent suicide

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.

Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.


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Mike Kelley, a contemporary artist based in Los Angeles but internationally renowned, was found dead in his South Pasadena home Tuesday.

South Pasadena Police Sgt. Robert Bartl told the Associated Press it appears Kelley committed suicide Tuesday. A family friend who was concerned about Kelley went to his home and called 911.

"It is totally shocking that someone would decide to do this, someone who has success and renown and options," Helene Winer of New York's Metro Pictures gallery told Blouin ArtInfo.

His work explored the dark side of American Life, according to the New York Times. "He mixed and matched kitschy pop culture with classical philosophical themes," the Times says in an obituary, and he was particularly known for sculptures of dirty stuffed animals, with large mixed media installations that included pop culture figures like Colonel Sanders and Sigmund Freud.

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Johnny Otis, the "godfather of rhythm and blues," actual father of Shuggie Otis, composer of "Willie and the Hand Jive," producer of Big Mama Thornton's original "Hound Dog" recording, and the fellow who suggested the Creolettes' lead singer Jamesetta change her name to Etta James, died Tuesday at his home in Altadena, CA. He was 90.


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