Mike Kelley American

Not on view

A kitsch klatch of thrift-shop yarn dolls and stuffed animals gets the yearbook photo treatment alongside the genuine article (featuring the artist himself) in Mike Kelley’s lineup of misfit mugshots. The artist’s self-caricature compares his apathetic, acne-scarred, adolescent self to the cuddly but creepy castoffs in a fractured fairy tale about youth. Early viewers of the work assumed that it conjured the artist’s traumatic childhood, but Kelley insisted that such conjectures were informed more by projected anxieties than by any repressed memories of his own. Still, he admitted that such symbol-laden toys and similar cultural objects wield unnerving control: "You are them, whether you like it or not." The iconic series is widely recognized from the cover of Sonic Youth’s 1992 album Dirty and a 2018 drop from streetwear label Supreme

Ahh...Youth!, Mike Kelley (American, Wayne, Michigan 1954–2012 South Pasadena, California), Silver dye bleach prints

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