Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts Gives Out $319,000 in Grants

The grants will fund an exhibition on Chicano murals, a stage set by Liz Glynn, and more.

Charlemagne Palestine,
Charlemagne Palestine, "GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt," installation view at Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2016. Courtesy of photographer Aad Hoogendoorn, the artist and Witte de With.

The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts has announced the 2017 recipients of its Artist Project Grants, now in its second year. Among the benefiting institutions are the University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach, and REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles.

The grants, which this year total $319,000, look to build on Mike Kelley’s philanthropic work, giving money to artists creating innovative works at Los Angeles nonprofit institutions and organizations. Special consideration is afforded to lesser-known individuals and organizations, as well as to work that is particularly difficult to make and has had trouble securing funding.

“These artists and organizations exemplify the ambitious and imaginative spirit of this grant,” said foundation executive director Mary Clare Stevens in a statement. “From new works—such as Liz Glynn’s sculptural stage set of fire and steel—to the first-ever performance of the late composer James Tenney’s magnum opus, to critical examinations of art history, the projects reflect the remarkable scope and variety of artistic and curatorial practices in Los Angeles.”

Invisible Cities. Produced by the Industry, directed by Yuval Sharon. Performed in Union Station, Los Angeles. Courtesy of Nim Sharon.

Invisible Cities. Produced by the Industry, directed by Yuval Sharon. Performed in Union Station, Los Angeles. Courtesy of Nim Sharon.

The 2017 grantees were selected through a competitive application process by a panel of artists, curators, and art writers, which included Charles Gaines, Gene Moreno, Frances Stark, Astria Suparak, and Jan Tumlir. The grants include a dedicated fee for the participating artists, as well as funds for project-related expenses and organizational overhead costs.

For conceptual artist lauren woods (who spells her name with no capital letters), the grant is especially meaningful giving the timing. “When the news came in that this vision would be supported by the Mike Kelley Foundation,” she said in a statement, “I felt tangible relief to know that despite the radical, almost overnight shift in the political climate of our country, there are people and institutions in the arts—allies—willing to not only continue to engage and call attention to the sociopolitical issues that my practice is deeply invested in addressing, but also to push forth an agenda that commits to the protracted struggle to end structural injustice.”

“When Mike Kelley established the Foundation in 2007, he aimed to encourage expansiveness and fearlessness in all disciplines,” Stevens added. “As funding for the arts is shrinking, this charge is more vital than ever.”

Here are the full list of grant recipients for 2017:

Human Resources/356 S. Mission Rd., $40,000
Charlemagne Palestine‘s “GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt,” an exhibition and series of performances

The Industry, $40,000
Yuval Sharon‘s Galileo, a play with a set featuring an enormous fire sculpture by Liz Glynn

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, $40,000
“L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective,” an exhibition about Chicano murals in the Los Angeles area

REDCAT, $40,000
“Chalk Circles,” an exhibition exploring the intersection of visual art and acting

The Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound, $33,000
James Tenney‘s Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps, a musical composition

University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, $40,000
lauren woods‘s new exhibition of her conceptual, hybrid media projects

Vincent Price Art Museum, $50,000
“Regeneración: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology,” an exhibition about about the circulation of revolutionary and activist ideals between artists in America and Mexico from 1900 to the present day

Pasadena Art Council/Volume, $36,000
Ron Athey‘s Gifts of the Spirit: Auto da Fe, an installation/performance inspired by the artist’s upbringing in a Pentecostal church


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