Mike Kelley

decade

1950s

1954

Mike Kelley is born in Wayne, Michigan.

decade

1970s

1972

Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw meet while undergraduates at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

1973

Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw put up flyers around the university publicizing fake lectures. When students would show up, they would engage in “guerilla style” performances including The Futurist Ballet.

1974

Jim Shaw recounts how his friendship with Mike Kelley evolved into the band Destroy All Monsters, which in turn developed into a "continuum" of collective music and artistry.

1974

Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, and Jim Shaw cofound Destroy All Monsters, a proto-punk band.

1974–76 1974

Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw live in a house, located at 741 Packard Road, that they call “God’s Oasis.” It also serves as Destroy All Monsters’s practice space.

1975

Cary Loren, Jim Shaw, Ron Asheton, Mike Kelley at the Second Chance, Ann Arbor (performance of New Order), 1975. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Cary Loren, Mike Kelley, John Reed, and Jim Shaw in the basement of God’s Oasis, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1975/2011. Gelatin silver print on fiber paper; 20 × 24 in. (50.8 × 61 cm). Photo courtesy of the artist.

1975

Destroy All Monsters, "That's My Ideal," 1975, featuring Mike Kelley (vocals and percussion) and Jim Shaw and Cary Loren (guitar).

1976

Photo of God’s Oasis in The Ann Arbor News, Wednesday, June 23, 1976. Pictured from left: Marju Nemvaltz, Rick Greenvald, and Jim Shaw on the porch; David Owen and Mike Kelley on lawn. Photo: Larry E. Wright. Image courtesy of the Ann Arbor District Library.

1976–79 1976

Cary Loren publishes a magazine called Destroy All Monsters, which includes ephemera and artwork by Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, as well as shots of the band and artist collective.

1976

Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw leave Ann Arbor for California to attend CalArts for their MFAs.

1970s 1976

During their CalArts years, Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw live together in a house in Sylmar.

1976

1976

Mike Kelley makes a portrait of Jim Shaw based on a photograph taken of Kelley, Shaw, and John Reed as undergraduates.

1976

Mike Kelley moves to California to attend CalArts. Douglas Huebler is one of his teachers.

1970s 1977

Mike Kelley and Stephen Prina meet at CalArts. Because Prina is a musician, Kelley invites him to play keyboard in an iteration of his band, Gobbler.

1978

Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw earn their MFAs from CalArts.

1978

Although they weren’t in the same years, Stephen Prina recalls first catching a “glimpse” of Mike Kelley during Prina’s first-semester orientation at CalArts.

decade

1980s

1981

Mike Kelley has his first solo exhibition at the Mizuno Gallery titled Meditation on a Can of Vernors.

1983

Mike Kelley begins exhibiting at Rosamund Felsen Gallery with the exhibition Monkey Island. Kelley has many solo exhibitions there throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

1984–88 1984

Jorge Pardo attends the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, where Mike Kelley and Stephen Prina are his teachers.

1987

Mike Kelley begins collaborating with Paul McCarthy on many videos and installations including Fresh Acconci (1995).

decade

1990s

1990

David Hammons, Mike Kelley, and William Wegman are included in the group exhibition Just Pathetic at Rosamund Felsen Gallery.

1991

Mike Kelley, Craft Morphology Flow Chart, 1991. Dolls and figures, gelatin silver prints, acrylic on paper, folding banquet tables, and folding card tables; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Lannan Foundation, 1997.41. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

1992

Poster for Beat of the Traps, performance by artists Mike Kelley, Anita Pace, and Stephen Prina, 1992. Gindi Auditorium, University of Judaism, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Track 16.

1992

Anita Pace explains her interest in collaboration, including with Mike Kelley and Stephen Prina on the performance Beat of the Traps.

1992

Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw are both included in Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s, an important exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).

1992

Mike Kelley accepts a teaching position at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena alongside Richard Hawkins and Stephen Prina.

1992

Mike Kelley, Anita Pace, and Stephen Prina collaborate on the performance piece Beat of the Traps, which premieres at Gindi Auditorium, University of Judaism, Los Angeles.

mid-1990s 1993

Shortly after getting married, Jim Shaw and his wife, Marnie Weber, move into a house up the hill from Mike Kelley.

1995

The original Destroy All Monsters members (Mike Kelley, Niagara, Cary Loren, and Jim Shaw) reunite for shows in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area.

decade

2000s

2000

Mike Kelley donates three works by fellow artists, including Jim Isermann, to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).

2000

The Destroy All Monsters band and artist collective (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, and Jim Shaw) create an installation of four mural-sized paintings and a video titled Strange Fruit: Rock Apocrypha.

2002

Mike Kelley, Stephen Prina, and Jim Shaw perform in Shaw’s performance The Initiation Ritual of the 360 Degrees at MoMA PS1.

2003

Aaron Curry and Sterling Ruby move to California to get their MFAs at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, where Richard Hawkins and Mike Kelley are teachers. Ruby cites Kelley and the exhibition Helter Skelter as reasons he moved to California.

mid-2000s 2004

Sterling Ruby is Mike Kelley’s teaching assistant for three years.

2006

Lynn Hershman Leeson interviews Mike Kelley for !Women Art Revolution.

2006

Mike Kelley plays drums in Jim Shaw’s daughter Colette Weber Shaw’s band Dolphin Explosion (with her friend Ariel West) and records and produces the full-length album Boogie Man, which features their artwork on the packaging.

2006

Mike Kelley’s film Day Is Done includes the debut of Jim Shaw’s daughter, Colette Weber Shaw, as Angel Girl.

decade

2010s

2011

Jim Nutt has a solo exhibition at MCA Chicago titled Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character. It is accompanied by Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, which included works by Nutt, Aaron Curry, Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Gladys Nilsson, and Karl Wirsum.

2011

Joe Goode, Stephen Kaltenbach, Mike Kelley, Tom Marioni, Bruce Nauman, Senga Nengudi, Allen Ruppersberg, and Ed Ruscha are included in the group exhibition Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974–1981 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

2013

Cary Loren oversees the subterranean layer of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead (2013), helping to organize secret exhibitions beneath a reproduction of Kelley’s childhood home.

2014

The Museum of Contempoary Art, Los Angeles, hosts the traveling exhibition Mike Kelley.

Photo of God’s Oasis in The Ann Arbor News, Wednesday, June 23, 1976. Pictured from left: Marju Nemvaltz, Rick Greenvald, and Jim Shaw on the porch; David Owen and Mike Kelley on lawn. Photo: Larry E. Wright. Image courtesy of the Ann Arbor District Library.

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From God’s Oasis to the City of Angels

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