Mary Reid Kelley

Born 1979 in Greenville, South Carolina. Lives and works in upstate New York.

Mary Reid Kelley, in collaboration with her partner, Patrick Kelley, combines painting, performance, and a distinctive wordplay-rich poetry in her polemical, graphically stylized videos. Performing as a First World War soldier, a grisette in revolutionary Paris, or the Minotaur, she resurrects characters that embody particular facets of ideas in time. Her historically specific tableaux enclose dilemmas of mortality, sex, and estrangement, navigated by the characters in punning dialogue that traps them between tragic and comic meanings.

Reid Kelley received her BFA from St. Olaf College, Minnesota, and an MFA in Painting from Yale University in 2009. In 2013 the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston held the first solo museum exhibition of Reid Kelley’s work. Recent solo exhibitions include: We are Ghosts, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2018); We Are Ghosts, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2017); We’re Wallowing Here In Your Disco Tent, The High Line, New York (2016); Mary Reid Kelley, M - Museum Leuven, Leuven (2016); A Marquee Piece of Sod – The WWI Films of Mary Reid Kelley, Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen (2016); Hammer Projects: Mary Reid Kelley, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Mary Reid Kelley, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (2015); Mary Reid Kelley, Site Santa Fe (2015); Swinburne’s Pasiphae, Pilar Corrias, London (2014); Mary Reid Kelley: Working Objects and Videos, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz; University Art Museum, University at Albany, New York (2014); The Syphilis of Sisyphus: Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley, AMOA Arthouse, Austin (2013). Recent group exhibitions include: Life a User’s Manual, Encounters Contemporary Art Biennale, Timisoara and Arad (2017); Commercial Break, Public Art Fund, New York (2017); The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, The Jewish Museum, New York (2017); Objects Do Things, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2016); Mixtape 2016, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2016); The Beast and the Sovereign, MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona; Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2015); Pratfall Tramps, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta (2015); Who’s Speaking?, Klemms Gallery, Berlin (2015); Mary Reid Kelley and Maria Lassnig, Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts (2014); Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from the Alumni Collections, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin (2013); Re-generation, MACRO, Rome (2012); Weighted Words, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2012).

Reid Kelley has been awarded the MacArthur Fellowship (2016); the Baloise Art Prize (2016); Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2014); Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant (2013); The Shifting Foundation Grant (2012); Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome (2011); the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant (2009); and a CAA Visual Arts Fellowship (2008). Reid Kelley’s work is held in public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hammer Museum Los Angeles; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and Kadist Foundation.


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