Look Up: (#4)

Feb 9, 2012

We’ve all looked up to this South Pas landmark. But what many people don’t know is that beneath this water tower, in a funky little house, lived one of the most influential contemporary artists of the 20th Century.

Many of us looked up to Mike Kelley, whose quiet, domestic years as a South Pasadena resident offered a sharp contrast to the messy complexity and downright punk aesthetic of his work. Most of us had no idea such a radical art legend lived in that little house under the water tower. I shot many pictures of the house, never knowing who the owner might be. (Not even with clues like this one.)

Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight once described Kelley as “an avatar of the power and humanity inherent in recognizing the radical impurity of human experience. His art searches out dark and soiled places where defects, fault lines and inadequacies are obvious and routine, and where failure takes on the poignant, fragile, even heartbreaking beauty that accompanies any loss of self.”

Mike Kelley passed away last week at the age of 57. 57 years old is too damn young for anyone to leave this world — especially someone as rambunctious, groundbreaking, complex and passionate as Mike Kelley.
As I look upward now, I wish him luck, love and wild inspiration on his next adventure. If the spirit world is in need of a good shaking up, Mike Kelley is just the right rebel angel for the job.
This week is Look Up Week — a chance to look at things above us.

Read the Full Story at Glimpses of South Pasadena



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