Patt Morrison

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Contemporary Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley found dead

by Patt Morrison

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Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008 Marc Wathieu/flickr

Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley, known for his multi-media punk-infused works, was found dead on Tuesday in his home in South Pasadena, police and the Gagosian Gallery, his art dealer, confirmed Wednesday. He was 57. Kelley merged pop culture influences with more classical themes. His pieces included sculptures of stuffed animals and a life-size mannequin of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders. Kelley was born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan in 1954 and earned a graduate degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He has had major solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Mike was an irresistible force in contemporary art,” said Kelley’s studio in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We cannot believe he is gone. But we know his legacy will continue to touch and challenge anyone who crosses its path.”

Guest:

Paul Schimmel, chief curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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