VIDEO: Paul Schimmel on the Complexity of Mike Kelley’s ‘Kandors’ Exhibition

See the artist's final series up close.

artnet News recently spoke to Hauser & Wirth partner and vice president Paul Schimmel about Mike Kelley’s show at the gallery’s cavernous New York space. It’s not hard to see why it has been one of the most buzzed-about art shows of the current fall season (It runs through October 24).

The sprawling exhibit features “Kandors,” Kelley’s last major series before his untimely death in 2012. It’s also the first major exhibition at the gallery since news that it was tapped to represent the Mike Kelley Foundation in January.

The artist’s “Kandors” series was named for the birthplace of Superman, which was the capital city of Krypton, the superhero’s home planet. According to comic book lore, Superman’s father sent his infant son to Earth ahead of Krypton’s destruction. Though that action ensure the caped crusader’s safety, it also meant a lifetime of displacement and loneliness.

Superman grew up believing Kandor was destroyed but later found out it still existed; it was stolen by the villain Braniac, who shrunk it and left the miniature city trapped inside a glass bottle. When Superman finally wrests it away from Braniac, he hides the city in his Fortress of Solitude.

A focal point of the exhibit is Kelley’s Exploded Fortress of Solitude (2011) one of the last works in the artist’s series.

Noting the inclusion of the Kandors at the well-received Mike Kelley retrospective at MoMA PS1 in late 2013, Schimmel said: “It was left for this show to realize the depth, complexity and the completeness that Kandors can be.”


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