Mike Kelley (2007)
Installed: November 25, 2016 – April 2, 2017
Yerba Buena: 736 Mission Street, CJM
Kandor 17 was included in the exhibition From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM). The Kandor series, initiated by the artist in 1999, is comprised of sculptural depictions of Superman’s birthplace, the fictional city of Kandor. In the iconic story, Superman’s father sent his infant son to Earth in anticipation of Krypton’s destruction. In his attempt to save him, Superman’s father inadvertently sentenced him to a life of alienation, displacement, and longing. Kandor was not destroyed however; the futuristic city was shrunk and bottled by a villain, later to be rescued by Superman and protected under a bell jar in his sanctuary the Fortress of Solitude, a perpetual reminder of his lost past, and his alienated relationship to his adopted world.
Artist: Mike Kelley’s oeuvre works against art’s hierarchical history as it expands its breadth, positing cerebral concepts from psychology, philosophy and art theory against kitschy craft mediums, adolescent scenarios and rudimentary rendering. Kelley arrived in Los Angeles in 1976 to study at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), spilling forth ideas that continue to inform not just LA and the art world, but mainstream American culture. The artist was born in 1954 in Detroit, Michigan, and died in 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Solo exhibitions included “Mike Kelley–The Uncanny,” The Tate Liverpool, England (2004, traveled to MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); “An Homage to Mike Kelley,” MoMA PS1, New York (2013); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014).