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Artangel announces Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead up and running in Detroit

Commissioned and produced by Artangel in association with Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Kelley’s public sculpture project is based on the construction of a full-scale replica of the 1950s ranch-style home in suburban Detroit where the artist was raised, relocated to the centre of the city in a reversal of the ‘white flight,’ which led to the emptying out of large parts of the inner city after the 1967 rebellion. The homestead has been constructed on a lot adjacent to MOCAD.

Mike Kelley, Mobile Homestead, 2012. An Artangel commission. Photo by Jason Sudak, courtesy of MOCAD.
Mike Kelley, Mobile Homestead, 2012. An Artangel commission. Photo by Jason Sudak, courtesy of MOCAD.

Mobile Homestead offers different uses for different communities. The first stage of the project—a mobile home designed to travel around the city and dispense various kinds of socially useful services—was ‘unveiled’ in the fall of 2010. Its maiden voyage from downtown Detroit to the ‘mother ship,’ the original Kelley home in suburban Detroit, was part of Kelley’s final video work, filmed in 2010 and completed just before his death. The trilogy of videos are on view at MOCAD until July 31, 2013, alongside a display of documentation materials related to the project.

The second and final phase of Mobile Homestead is based on the construction of a full-sized replica of Kelley’s childhood home. Kelley envisioned the ground floor of the “homestead” functioning as an open space for diverse community activities, situated above a labyrinthine basement zone which accommodates occasional covert activities.

Mike Kelley wrote about Mobile Homestead in 2008: “This project blatantly makes a distinction between public art and private art, between the notions that art functions for the social good, and that art addresses personal desires and pleasure. Mobile Homestead does both; it is simultaneously geared toward community service and anti-social private sub-cultural activities. It has a public side, and a secret side.”

Before the public opening, the basement complex,with its characteristically Kelley-like crawl spaces, was used for the first time by Jim Shaw and Cary Loren, Kelley’s long-time friends and collaborators, notably in the infamous band Destroy All Monsters.

Mobile Homestead was commissioned by Artangel with LUMA Foundation and MOCAD, and made possible with the support of the Artangel International Circle. Programming of the Mobile Homestead is funded by a grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Grant Program.