mike kelley


Kelley, whose most recent show opened recently at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, was the last artist—and by last, I mean both “most recent” and “last ever”—to pull off the great gambit of 20th-century art: He made things that, upon first inspection, you would think had no artistic qualities whatsoever, things that were not and could not possibly be art, let alone significant art. And yet there they were, in a gallery or museum, and after you spent some time with them, you began to think, Yes, of course this is art; and after a little more time, you began to realize that it was very significant art indeed. It now falls to me, and art writers like me, to exercise, for the last time, the great gambit of 20th-century criticism, and explain why. . . .

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