Mike Kelley - New Now Day Sale New York Sunday, February 28, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles

  • Exhibited

    Tokyo, Museum of Modern Art, Toyama Now ‘87, 1987

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mike Kelley’s Feudal War from 1987 portrays the Japanese folkloric Kappa (river-child), a mischievous water deity traditionally depicted as a child-sized humanoid in legends. The Kappa character lies between the "crossfire" of intensely profane slangs between Toyama and Tokyo, two feuding Japanese cities. At the time the present lot was created, Kelley had completed a series of work which dealt with themes from Japanese culture and history, including the 1986 film Kappa which he collaborated with Bruce Nauman and Norman Yonemoto.  The work’s imagery derives from legendary Kappa portrayals seen throughout Japan. As troublemakers, their pranks range from the relatively innocent to the more menacing kidnapping of children, feeding on the blood of their victims. Even today, signs warning children against the presence of Kappa are seen in some Japanese towns and villages.


Feudal War

acrylic on canvas laid down on panel
48 1/8 x 60 in. (122.2 x 152.4 cm)
Signed, titled and dated “Mike Kelley 1987 ‘Feudal War’” on the reverse.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now Day Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 11am