Dis…Miss, an apron display with 10 artists postcards, courtesy of LA Freewaves, 2017.
Dis…Miss, an apron display with 10 artists postcards, courtesy of LA Freewaves, 2017.

Mike Kelley Foundation 2018 Artist Project Grants Announced

Los Angeles, CA., April 11, 2018 – The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the ten recipients of the 2018 Artist Project Grants, an initiative in its third year that seeks to further Mike Kelley’s philanthropic work and honor his legacy by supporting innovative artist projects at Los Angeles nonprofit institutions and organizations. The grants support compelling projects of any duration or type, particularly work that is lesser-known or has proven difficult to make or fund. This year’s grantees are the Craft & Folk Art Museum, Fulcrum Arts, Hammer Museum, JOAN, LA Freewaves, LAXART, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Latin American Art, Self Help Graphics & Art, and The Underground Museum. The 2018 grants mark both the largest total sum awarded and group of grantees to date.

A combination of small, mid-size, and large institutions will present the 2018 projects, which span a wide range of disciplines such as performance, multimedia art, sculpture, and printmaking. The projects include solo, group, and collaborative exhibitions, as well as interactive workshops and related publications. "The grantees this year reflect Los Angeles’s energized and diverse art scene, and underscore the Foundation’s commitment to support risk- taking, underseen, and hard-to-fund work,” said Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director of the Foundation. “From a historical examination of printmaking by Latin American, Chicano, and Latino artists in the exhibition Gráfica América, to Rodney McMillian’s powerful videos and performances, to Alison O’Daniel’s use of skateboards as percussive instruments to investigate the experience of sound, this year’s recipients highlight the range and depth of curatorial and artistic practices in Los Angeles.”

Four grant-supported exhibitions focus on individual artists, including established artist Andrea Fraser and emerging artist Indira Allegra. Since the 1980s, Fraser has created incisive performances and installations that interrogate social structures with humor and pathos, offering insights about the constraints on subjects working within contemporary social systems. In her project at the Hammer Museum, the internationally respected artist will premiere a new performance and a publication that will make her works and interviews spanning three decades newly accessible to a broad audience, in a partnership between the Hammer Museum and A.R.T. Press. “I’m very excited about collecting my interviews in one book and about collaborating with the Hammer Museum. From traditional to concocted, sociological to psychoanalytic, constructed to found, written, recorded, and enacted dialogues have been central to my activity as an artist for almost thirty years,” remarked Fraser. “Dialogues have also been an important part of the Hammer’s programs. The prospect of bringing these together with a new performance is an incredible opportunity. It’s an honor to have the support of the Mike Kelley Foundation.”

No Space Without Tension at the Craft & Folk Art Museum will be artist Indira Allegra’s first solo museum exhibition. Allegra’s fiber sculptures, looms, video projections, and live and live- streamed performances make visible the tensions that exist within societal interactions—both personal and public. She represents these tensions through the process of weaving, the resulting fiber works, and through her own body and choreographed movements. “It is an immense honor to be recognized with the Mike Kelley Foundation Artist Project Grant. I'm obsessed with tension as a creative material, so I appreciate Kelley's obsession with repressed memories and desires and how they act as unseen forces—shaping what is mundane, absurd, and curious about America. This generous support will allow me to follow my own impulses to use material, performance, and installation to locate tensions that bind our societal body even as we pull apart,” noted Allegra. “I am simply overcome with gratitude."

Self Help Graphics & Art, an organization dedicated to the production, interpretation, and distribution of prints and other art media by Chicano and Latino artists since 1970, will present the Chicana/o and Latinx Print Summit Portfolio & Atelier. Twelve master printers from across the United States will come together to create new work and share best practices and techniques through public workshops and mentorship. The project will culminate in the production of the Print Summit Portfolio, an edition of prints produced by each artist that will be on view in Self Help’s Annual Print Fair exhibition in 2019. “This support from the Foundation is crucial in a moment when our nation's highest office is constantly questioning and threatening the Chicano and Latino experience. Our world-renowned print studio has been from inception a space for innovation, political interrogation, and cultural expression,” explained SHG Co-Director, Advancement and Administration, Betty Avila.

The 2018 grantees were selected through a competitive application process by an independent panel that included Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; artist and activist Andrea Bowers; Ciara Ennis, Director and Curator at Pitzer College Art Galleries, Pitzer College; Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate, Whitney Museum of American Art; and multimedia artist Bruce Yonemoto. Totaling

“The support from the Mike Kelley Foundation contributes to the work of SHG in recreating and strengthening, through the production of this print portfolio, a national network for a new generation of artistic changemakers,” added SHG Co-Director, Programs and Operations, Joel Garcia.

$400,000, the grants cover project-related expenses and a modest portion of the organization’s overhead costs, and recognize the participating artists with a dedicated fee. The grant-funded projects will take place throughout 2018 and 2019, and the Foundation will share updates on performances and exhibitions on its website.

“Mike Kelley was deeply engaged in the Los Angeles arts community and started his Foundation to support artists and arts institutions that were doing meaningful and necessary work. In the three years since the grants were established, it has been our great pleasure to echo that commitment and help the grantees realize boundary-pushing work,” said Stevens. “Now more than ever, projects like these demonstrate the importance of art as a voice of the times and as an agent for change. They create diverse spaces where artists and audiences can reflect, interpret, and comment on both critical issues of the day and visionary ideas.”

For organizations interested in applying for the next round of Artist Project Grants, updated information about the 2019 cycle will be posted later this spring on the Foundation’s website (last year’s guidelines remain there for reference only).

About the Foundation
The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts seeks to further Kelley’s philanthropic work through grants for innovative projects that reflect his multifaceted artistic practice. The Foundation also preserves the artist’s legacy more broadly and advances the understanding of his life and creative achievements. The artist established the nonprofit foundation in 2007. For additional information, please visit the Foundation page.

About the Artist
The work of artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) embraced performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, sound works, and sculpture. Kelley began his career in the late 1970s with solo performances, image/text works, and gallery and site-specific installations. He came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures composed of common craft materials. The artist’s later work addressed architecture and filmic narratives using the theory of repressed memory syndrome coupled with sustained biographic and pseudo-biographic inquiry into his own aesthetic and social history. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of our time, Kelley produced a body of deeply innovative work in dialogue with American popular culture as well as both modernist and alternative traditions.