This UK premiere of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead videos, presented in collaboration with Artangel, coincides with the opening in Detroit of Kelley's last major project. Before his death in 2012, the artist had begun work on a new public commission for his native city, based on a life-sized replica of the suburban home in which he grew up. The new ‘homestead’ has been relocated to the city centre, outside the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), in a reversal of the ‘white flight’ to the suburbs that followed the 1967 Detroit riots. Kelley envisioned the ground floor of the house as a site for community activities, while a labyrinthine basement would provide space for what he described as ‘private rites of an aesthetic nature’.
The videos document the homestead’s journey from downtown Detroit to ‘the mother ship’, the Kelleys’ former home in Westland, and back again. This expedition is presented alongside interviews with an array of local residents, including bikers, church officials, strippers, social workers, heroin addicts and representatives of the automobile industry to which the Motor City owes its name.
The launch event on Wednesday 22 May begins with a keynote lecture by John C. Welchman, Professor of Modern Art History at the University of California, San Diego and Co-director of The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.