Artist-Musician Mike Kelley Dead of Apparent Suicide - Rolling Stone
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Artist-Musician Mike Kelley Dead of Apparent Suicide

Worked with Sonic Youth, co-founded Destroy All Monsters

Renowned contemporary artist Mike Kelley, who had close and lifelong ties to the experimental rock world, was found dead of apparent suicide on Tuesday at his home in South Pasadena, California. He was 57.

Kelley grew up in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he co-founded the “anti-rock” band Destroy All Monsters (which would eventually include members of the Stooges and the MC5) in 1973. Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore, who used a photo of one of Kelley’s trademark grimy fabric dolls on the cover of his band’s 1992 album Dirty, compiled a three-disc set of Destroy All Monsters’ music in 1994. 

Kelley, who had a punk performance group called Poetics when he attended the California Institute of the Arts, remained close to the music world after becoming an art-world luminary. Michael Stipe posted a tribute on his Tumblr calling Kelley a unique artist, “so way far out at the bow of things” and “loud and inimitable.” 


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