Joker’s Last Laugh (revised)
On Mike Kelley Retrospective at MoMA/PS1
The conceptual framework within which the late artist worked was as expansive as the tools and media he chose to communicate in. As I was walking in and out of PS1’s rooms, I could see that Kelley’s incisive humor and frantic energy pervade his entire oeuvre. The viewers and critics that criticized his art as ‘passive nihilism’ and ‘love of failure’ found new reasons for their claims, when the news about his tragic death sent shockwaves to the art world. But Kelly's sinister laughter, no matter how nervous and tense, was a clear message from an individual who was at pain to shake his fears of a deeply traumatizing world.