mike kelley



On the one year anniversary of artist Mike Kelley’s departure, an hour and a half interview from 2004 has now been uploaded by AVA’s own Eli Elliott (who also filmed the piece; interview was by Gerry Fialka). As previously mentioned, the tape recently re-surfaced a month ago.

Mike Kelley worked in various mediums using various materials. From drawings to found object assemblage to performance video art. He drew on American culture, popular image and icon, politics, perversion, and more. Kelley also wrote books and performed experimental music. He started doing art in the 70’s, eventually becoming a heavyweight in the art world. In 2012, at age 57, he decided to call it quits, and killed himself.

The interview is an interesting look for those who are Mike Kelley fans, as well as others who had always been curious about Kelley and his work, his motivations, thoughts, etc.

What we also get is a good glimpse at Kelley’s character; the slightly nervous, hopped up, pissed off, and eerily emotional “boo-hoo” mannerisms. All of which can perhaps be a smattering of crumbs which help digest at least a little understanding on his choice to end his life one year ago.

Somewhere towards the very end of this interview Kelley breaks down, tears swell up seemingly out of nowhere, his voice heavily cracks; an instantaneous breakdown. I think this speaks of perhaps susceptibility to reaching such sudden emotional lows, which may have been the ground for going through with the action of ending it all.

Artist Mike Kelley Interview:

Mike Kelley – “Art is about Fucking Things Up”




A thought to be lost video interview of the late artist Mike Kelley was recently uncovered by Los Angeles artist Steve Craig.

Eli Elliott who had shot the interview, curated back in 2004 by Gerry Fialka, had been scouring his storage lockers for the past year after Mike’s death, for the tape. Elliott had actually left the tape with Craig years prior, and on a recent return to L.A. it was uncovered.

The full interview will be uploaded here on Absurdist Video Art on February 1st, 2013.

In the meantime Elliott has uploaded some nice nuggets of Kelley talking frankly about art and the avant garde. These brief pieces reveal some strong emotion and passion for what Mike was doing, as well as frustrations about the way the world was turning.