Mike Kelley @ MOCA
I spent the afternoon with J at the MOCA and experienced the Mike Kelley show- It would have been a sad thing if we didn't see this show. Forget the Getty (Okay, not really.) While there is no view overlooking the hillsides of LA at the MOCA/Geffen, like there is at the Getty- it's simply NOT necessary! There were moments when I felt as if I knew what it was like to have autism! We walked into one of the installations where the electronics from numerous toys had been removed and isolated from their sources. The little boxes of many different shapes were laid out on remnants of fabric left over from previous cut-outs. The electronic circuit boards were all playing their "toy" sounds at the same time, but there were no toys for reference-only overlapping sounds (a baby cooing, a car zooming, musical notes?- I'm not exactly sure) and there were a couple of chairs, one with a leg wearing a boy's sock- "How appropriate," I thought.
In another space we were like Superman or God (Yes, I know that sounds weird- but that's how it was.) At the same time, we were the opposite- nothing powerful, just body and flesh secondary from a life source but fully dependent upon it. We were meaningless as we looked at ourselves looking at ourselves again and again.
In another exhibit my own childhood memories were triggered- through soft things- stuffed animals and blankets- and I remembered something I had forgotten- Something yellow, made of yarn and a coat hanger. I was very young. I made it with loops and knots. He (Kelley) kept doing that sort of thing: It was all familiar but different.
One of my favorite pieces was a combination work of stage-prop and video- a woman dressed in cliche American farm-girl garb sang her heart out on a miniature set reflecting salt of the earth, American roots. Revealed through the performance was brilliance (I thought) beneath female masked-ignorance. I considered my tractor pics, taken by a 14 year-old-girlfriend in fun, that I ended up blocking on FB because the sarcasm wasn't grasped! (I couldn't accomplish what Kelley had done!)- certainly not on social media!
Yes, Kelley provides lots to digest. I don't know if I will sleep well tonight. My head is racing. It's a shame that Kelley committed suicide a couple of years ago. Having now experienced such a large collection of his pieces- I feel like I can actually see how he had the strength (or weakness?) and COMPULSIVENESS to carry out such an act. The rest of us don't get to see what more he would have done. That's disappointing.
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