Artist Mike Kelley Dies: See Photos of His Greatest Works

Contemporary artist Mike Kelley died Tuesday. See photos of his hallucinatory work.

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Ann Summa / Getty Images

Mike Kelley

Mike Kelley, a Detroit-born artist whose work has appeared in the Whitney and the Louvre, was found dead Tuesday in his Southern California home. The iconoclastic artist found his punk aesthetic early in his career, as a member of 1970s punk band Destroy All Monsters. A kitsch sensibility also pervades Kelley’s work, from his life-size Colonel Sanders mannequin to collaborations with Paul McCarthy and Sonic Youth. In 1993, Kelley distinguished himself as a major presence in the world of contemporary art with a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York. His work was shown in other major exhibitions at the Tate in 2004 and the Louvre in 2006. The Daily Beast curates some of Kelley’s most spectacular pieces.

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Kelley showed his work Kandor City 3 at the Yokohama Triennale in Japan in August 2011. The work is part of a series titled Kandors that was inspired by Superman’s home city on the planet Krypton. The series took more than a decade to complete.

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A museumgoer takes a swing at Kelley’s Adaptation: Test Room Containing Multiple Stimuli Known to Elicit Curiosity and Manipulatory Responses at London’s Hayward Gallery in 2010.

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In a series of numbered pieces titled Memory Ware Flat, Kelley, who frequently used found objects and collage techniques, arranged jewelry, bottles, picture frames, and other everyday objects to create unruly but distinguishable patterns. A detail from a piece in the series shows the variety of objects used.

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This piece, Exploded Fortress of Solitude, continued Kelley’s Kandors series. Viewers are invited in to a cave constructed of fake black rock, within which is set a miniature glass replica of the comic-book city sheltered within a bell jar.

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These legs are made entirely of chocolate. Titled Saltwater-Chocolate (Shrimpers Choice) 2005, they were exhibited along with 21 other chocolate works at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany.

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Kelley exhibited his Kandors Full Set 2005-2009 at the Punta della Dogana during the Venice Biennale in June 2009.

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Kelley frequently mixed highbrow and lowbrow aesthetics in his work.

Sarah Lee, eyevine / Redux

"I produced 20 different bottled cities based on images from the comics,” Kelley told Interview magazine of his Kandors project. “They’re all supposed to be the same city, but each one is unique.”