(1954 - 2012)
Black Garbage (Grassy Island (Canadian)); White Garbage (Bob Lo Island), 2001
180.5 x 124.6 x 5.3 cm each
Through his work, Mike Kelley examined everyday American life and popular culture, exploring the themes of desire, anxiety, and decay with both irony and a sense of humor. His practice included performance, installation, drawing, video and sculpture, where he often experimented with unconventional materials such as worn stuffed animals and discarded objects and detritus. These images are part of a series of photographs documenting a boat trip on the Detroit River. Kelley, a native of Detroit, looks closely at the garbage left behind on the banks of two nearby isles, Grassy Island and Bois Blanc Island, better known as Bob Lo Island. Instead of documenting historic sites or city monuments in a flattering light, the artist directs his gaze toward the debris on the sandy beaches to find the trash and treasures of his hometown.