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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York; Onnasch Collection, Berlin; Zwirner & Wirth, New York; Private collection, Boston

  • Exhibited

    Kassel, Documenta IX, June 13-September 20, 1992; New York, Metro Pictures, Mike Kelley, November 14 - December 19, 1992; Marseille, MAC; Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; Turin, Castello di Rivoli; and Los Angeles, UCLA, The Armans Hammer Museum of Art, Sunshine & Noir Art in LA. 1960-1997, July 6, 1996 - January 31, 1999; Barcelona, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and Porto, Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves, Onnasch. Aspects of Contemporary, November 7, 2001 - June 23, 2002

  • Literature

    E. Sussman, Mike Kelley: Catholic Tastes, New York, 1993, pp. 34-35 (illustrated); N. Princenthal, “Mike Kelley at Metro Pictures,” Art in America, p. 127; T. Kellein, Mike Kelley, Thomas Kellein: A Conversation, Stuttgart, 1994, pp. 8 & 13 (illustrated); H-N. Jocks, “Mike Kelley: Mit Sex kann man der Bourgeoisie keinen Schlag merh verpassen,” Kunstforum, Bd. 130, May - July 1995, p. 286 (illustrated); I. Graw, A. Vidler, and J. Welchman, eds., Mike Kelley, London, 1999, p. 37 (illustrated); MACBA, and Porto, Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves, eds., Onnasch. Aspects of Contemporary, Barcelona, 2001, p. 188 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The specific character of Faecal matter or of the spectre, as well as of unlimited time or space, can only be the object of a series of negations, such as the absence of any possible common denominator, irrationality etc… It must even be added that there is no way of placing such elements in the immediate objective human domain, in the sense that the pure and simple objectification or their specific character would lead to their incorporation in a homogeneous intellectual system, in other words, to a hypocritical cancellation of excremental character.
    Mike Kelley taken from I. Graw, A. Vidler, and J.C.Welchman, eds., Mike Kelley, London, 1999, p.109
    If a common strain can be discerned in Kelley’s recent work it is the desire to move ever lower, debasing political attitudes and revealing states of mind and body considered unfit in more conventional, transcendent views of the function of art. Colema Bench,TortureTable and Primaling Cabinet (and the present lot Private Address System), all of 1992, are several examples of a literal pathological strain that emerges. Each refers to a body that is not present, but each is meant to function for the body in a psychologically somatic state. At the same time, the works are still purportedly craft-based: they are made of wood or mass produced – in the case of the present lot a mass produced portable toilet stall – easily assembled materials and some decorated with folk art motifs. These sculptures, which look as if they could have been made from Kits, are self-help structures for the nineties, when everything – one’s mind, body, and social customs – can be addressed and “helped” in a customized program. Normalizations of art and violence, signs of the failure of utopian visions, Kelley’s sculptures, tables, rooms and benches are set pieces for a performance of actions in a theater of the poetics of ultimate failure.
    E. Sussman taken from Catholic Tastes, pp. 32 and 38
    It’s always been very important to me that my work has a socialized veneer. I’ve never wanted my work to be associated with the Dada sensibility – to be perceived as simply negational. I want the initial perception of it too elicit comfort, which then starts to break down. You come to recognize that it is not what you thought it was. Works that are too negational on the surface repel viewers before they become involved. I want the viewer to spend enough time with the work to discover all the jokes and perversities at play. If the work immediately insults viewers, they will just ignore it.
    Mike Kelley taken from I. Graw, A. Vidler, and J.C.Welchman, eds., Mike Kelley, London, 1999, p.109


Private Address System


Portable toilet, loudspeaker, two microphones and electric system.

100 x 46 x 47 in. (254 x 116.8 x 120.7 cm).

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $205,000

Contemporary Art Part I

15 May 2008, 7pm
New York