Current events:

Gloria Patri featured in Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011

PS 1 MoMA, New York, November 3, 2019 - March 1, 2020

for more information please visit: MoMA >>


Mary Kelly: Keynote address

Novo Nordisk Fonden

Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen, October 21, 4 PM


Mary Kelly: Selected Works

Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, September 28 - December 8, 2019

for more information please visit: Weatherspoon Art Museum >>



Mary Kelly, Study for How to use the bomb shelter as a table, 2012, Compressed Lint, 24 1/2 x 32 1/2

Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, September 28 - December,8, 2019


September 28 - December,8, 2019

Over four decades of her practice, Mary Kelly has addressed issues relating to the body, systems of classification and power, and memory. In the early 1970s, she began to bring art and politics together; her projects reference iconic representations from the historical past and have been informed by World War II in London, the Vietnam War protests, and the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Based in Los Angeles, Kelly blends personal and political issues of gender, identity, and collective memory, and both her art and writings have been central to discussions of Conceptual art, postmodernism, and feminism since the 1970s. Her work has received ongoing attention in solo exhibitions around the world and been included in such seminal group exhibitions as Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution (MOCA, Los Angeles) and Women and Work (The Tate Modern, London).

This exhibition is organized by Nancy Doll. The show is presented in collaboration with UNCG's School of Art as part of the Falk Visiting Artist program.


Artist Talk: Mary Kelly

Falk Visiting Artist, Weatherspoon Art Museum, October 10, 2019, 6 PM


Recent events:

Mary Kelly, Peace is the Only Shelter, Desert X, February 9 – April 21, 2019

for more information please visit: Desert X >>

Download Press Release >>


Mary Kelly, Peace is the Only Shelter, 2019, Duratrans print in lightbox 67 7/8 x 45 3/8

Desert X


February 9 – April 21, 2019

A long period of research led Mary Kelly to repurpose Cold War–era peace activism, in this case the anti-nuclear Women Strike for Peace (WSP), formed in 1961. This feminist group initiated lobbies, petitions, vigils, and demonstrations against nuclear testing. Between 1945 and 1992, the United States conducted more than 1,000 nuclear tests, mostly in the desert Southwest. The artist notes, “Although the radical peace initiatives of women in the early post-war period have been largely forgotten, the action-oriented interventions of the Women Strike for Peace set a precedent for the non-hierarchical politics of second-wave feminism, as well as the many prominent protest movements currently underway.” This counter-history takes on renewed significance amid today’s escalated tensions worldwide. A central feature of Kelly’s similarly public intervention is the so-called Doomsday Clock, whose hands tick closer to midnight as militarism rises and humanity inches closer to self-destruction. The allegory in Peace is the Only Shelter is reshaped as a bus shelter, itself a representative timetable. The intervention in public space brings bygone vestiges of the Cold War back into our contemporary context, employing slogans from the WSP, where normally there would be advertisements, and cartographies of military expansion in the California desert, where there would be routes and schedules. Peace is the Only Shelter locations: 33.819063, -116.546868 333 S. Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA 33.816109, -116.545457 469-499 S. Indian Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA 33.816693, -116.545452 S. Indian Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA


Mary Kelly, Scarcity #1, 1966, magazine photographs, various coloured drawing papers, mounting board, 64.8 x 63.5 cm



MARY KELLY Face-to-Face

September 20 - November 3, 2018


Private View Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 6-8 pm

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to announce Face-to-Face, its third solo exhibition with renowned American artist Mary Kelly (b. 1941). Over the past fifty years, Kelly has been a pioneer of conceptual art and contributed extensively to the discourse of feminism and postmodernism. Running from 20 September to 3 November 2018, the show will comprise works that demonstrate the artist’s sustained engagement with questions of war and violence.


Previously unexhibited collages from the 1960s, new and monumental ‘compressed lint’ works, and unseen studies by the artist for major projects will form the core of the exhibition. Overall, the works will provide a valuable insight into Kelly’s emergence as a project-based artist concerned with social justice before developing these ideas as large-scale, narrative installations. They will also reveal Kelly’s sustained research into major conflicts of recent history, including those in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Bosnia and Vietnam. Grounded in conceptualism, and informed by psychoanalysis and feminism, the works will elucidate how Kelly has attempted to visualise or voice the inarticulable effect of traumatic events on those affected by war, proposing that coming face-to-face with the ‘other’ is the precondition for both empathy and discourse./p>


One of the highlights of the exhibition will be Scarcity (1966), a series of collages made while the artist was living in Beirut. On view for the first time, the works are informed by Kelly’s early encounter with the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, drawing particular inspiration from his concept of scarcity as both the foundation of violence and man’s inhumanity to man. Using magazine photographs, coloured paper and pencil in starkly minimal compositions, the collages represent Kelly’s reflections on the Vietnam War as well as the broader context of poverty, imperialism and resistance. The recognition of human vulnerability, which has been an important aspect of Kelly’s work ever since, is evidenced in her evocative material processes.


Sarajewo 1992 (1999/2018), from the series Mea Culpa, is one of the earliest examples of Kelly’s unique compressed lint technique. Made of rhythmic bands of text, and composed as a sixteen foot relief, the work addresses the traumatic impact of politically-motivated atrocities when received second-hand through the media. The narrative is based on the experiences of Muslim families, forcibly removed from Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, that were reported to The International War Crimes Tribunal. The individual units of lint were cast in the filter screen of a domestic tumble dryer over several months before being assembled as panels of intaglio text. Kelly’s use of lint – ‘the residue of private, domestic and feminized chores’ – speaks to how representations of war filter into everyday life, often overheard on the radio or glimpsed on the news.


The show will also include a new work, Dicere #2 (2018), that looks at the effects of contemporary warfare on the everyday lives of civilians. Similarly made of compressed lint, the work combines the satellite transmission of a drone target with a narrative based on accounts of a US missile attack on a wedding party in Yemen during 2015.


Another highlight of the exhibition, Circa 1940 (2015), refers to an iconic photograph commissioned by Fox Photo Agency during World War II. Recreated on a prodigious scale in compressed lint and projected ‘light noise,’ this work will be the largest and most striking to feature in the exhibition. The image captures the devastation of Holland House Library in the aftermath of a Luftwaffe raid on London, one month after the Blitz began. Three men peruse the bookshelves amidst the rubble, obviously staged as a typically British gesture of defiance. Kelly’s visualisation gives an air of uncertainty to the spectacle, turning attention toward another moment captured in the image described by the artist as the ‘political primal scene’ for her generation. Here, the past is the province of memory and desire, as well as a reservoir of tactics for dealing with the present.


Mary Kelly: The Practical Past, Mitchell- Innes & Nash, New York, October 19 – November 22, 2017

for more information please visit: Mitchell- Innes & Nash >>

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Mary Kelly, Tucson, 1972, 2017, compressed lint, 66 by 88 3/4 by 2 in.





October 19 - November 22, 2017


Reception: Thursday October 19, 6 - 8 PM

Mitchell-Innes & Nash presents conceptual artist Mary Kelly’s inaugural exhibition, The Practical Past, a project-based work that considers the meaning of an era concurrent with the artist’s lifetime and deeply influenced by the events of 1968. The installation combines “Circa Trilogy,” large-scale works that reference iconic representations of the historical past, with two series that focus on the more intimate and pragmatic politics of the everyday: “News from Home” and “7 Days,” which will be on view for the first time.


Concerned with affect as much as fact, Kelly’s reworking of archival images is intensely involved with both material process and duration. All of the works in the exhibition are made of compressed lint, a material Kelly has been working with for almost two decades. Individual units of compressed lint are cast in the filter screen of a domestic dryer over several months and hundreds of washing cycles, and then assembled as large panels of low relief. As the physical detritus of a cleansing process, the dryer lint becomes a material residue of collective memory in the aftermath of an event.


The three works that comprise “Circa Trilogy” have light noise projected onto the surface of the lint, making an aesthetic link to early black-and-white films or contemporary computer screens, and creating a phenomenological uncertainty about what is seen. “Circa 1940” reworks a commissioned news photo of London during the Blitz that shows three men reading books among the ruins of Holland House Library, obviously posed to capture a transcendent moment in the midst of chaos, while “Circa 1968” reflects on Jean-Pierre Rey's famous photograph of Paris on the eve of the general strike. The Marianne figure hoists a flag in the manner of “Liberty Leading the People,” but appears trapped by the role she tries to portray. “Circa 2011” draws on the prolific and often anonymous Internet images of the Arab Spring. Cell phone shots of Tahrir Square—taken just before the military takeover at the high point of mass demonstrations demanding the removal of the regime—capture the euphoria of the moment in a way that resembles a strange constellation in the night sky.


In addition to the Circa Trilogy, Kelly will present a series of smaller lint works that reference the covers of 7 Days, a short-lived weekly newspaper founded by an alliance of women engaged in feminist politics and men in the self-styled ‘revolutionary left.’ They aimed to establish parity in the production process and give full support to the Women’s Liberation Movement. Launched in October 1971, 7 Days ran until May 1972, and during that time, Kelly contributed articles and illustrations to several issues. These images and headlines present a far more specific and mundane chronicle of the events that defined the early years of women’s liberation in contrast to the archetypal images presented in the larger works.


The title of the exhibition is adopted from Hayden White’s book of the same name. The term is used to describe the way we consider the past from a utilitarian viewpoint separate from factual evidence. This idea is in contrast with the ‘historical past,’ which exists as a sequence of events without interpretation. The Practical Past exemplifies Kelly’s preoccupation with the past as a repository of memory and desire as well as a means of interpreting both future and present moments. “News from Home,” unlike the emblematic images of “Circa Trilogy,” deals entirely with the practical past as a tactic for problem solving in everyday life. Personal letters from the artist’s archive, which have been recreated in compressed lint, encapsulate the lived experience of feminists in the early 1970’s. “Beirut 1970” grapples with sexual politics, noting the difficulty of putting French philosophers Sartre and De Beauvoir’s critique of monogamy into practice. “London 1974” gives a fleeting glimpse of communal living. Conflicting messages (one from a mother and another from a child) invoke the chaos and excitement of women negotiating their commitment to activism with childcare, illness, accidents, and domesticity. In “Tucson 1972,” the focus is on economic survival and alternative ways of living in the context of protests against the Nixon administration’s escalation of the war in Vietnam.


Kelly questions what defines an era and for whom it is defined. Her interest in the dissemination of political discourse through images is also addressed in the selection of works from “7 Days,” named after a publication born out of the New Left and the Women’s Liberation Movement during the 1970s. The covers of “7 Days” traverse a broad range of issues from the unionization of prisoners to unemployment, abortion rights, and the anti-apartheid struggle. As a short-lived weekly newspaper, 7 Days was in print from October 1971 to May 1972. During this time, Kelly contributed articles and illustrations to several issues. The inclusive overview of this publication is indicative of Kelly’s project overall and represents a forceful precedent for the intersectional feminism of today.


Mary Kelly: Early Work, 1973-76, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, April 14-May 31, 2016

for more information please visit: Pippy Houldsworth Gallery >>


Circa Trilogy, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, April 23-May 28, 2016

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April 23 – May 28, 2016

Reception: Saturday, April 23, 6 – 8 PM

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce our first exhibition with celebrated conceptual artist, Mary Kelly. Opening on April 23, 2016, CIRCA TRILOGY presents a newly completed project that addresses the meaning of an historical era shaped by the events of 1968.


The Trilogy includes three large works in compressed lint: Circa 1968 (2004), Circa 1940 (2015), and Circa 2011 (2016). In each work, Kelly appropriates and reinterprets an iconic archival image through the lens of generational memory. The images that Kelly has selected are synecdochical; while they represent certain moments of The Blitz, the student uprisings of 68, or the Arab Spring, they encapsulate the wider historical narratives of these major events both in their ubiquity and the way their specific aesthetics communicate the image environment of the time. In the installation, light noise is projected onto the lint, creating an uncanny resemblance to black and white film of the forties, grainy video of the sixties, or the glare of a contemporary computer screen. Kelly’s concept of history as a lived relation to the past is concerned with materializing affect as much as fact, and her working process is intensely durational. Individual units of compressed lint are cast in the filter screen of a domestic dryer over several months and hundreds of washing cycles; then assembled as large panels of low relief. Each work also is paired with a letterpress print, consisting of a diagram and text by the artist, that composes a “tour” of the lint image, and provides a score for a performance by the artist collective My Barbarian and cellist, Betsy Rettig, during the exhibition opening.


Circa 1940 is based on an iconic photograph of London during the Blitz. Three men, reading books in the ruins of the Holland House Library, are posed to suggest a moment of transcendence amid the chaos. Kelly describes this moment, not long before she was born, as the political primal scene for her generation, underpinning the anti-war protests of the 1960s. Circa 1968 adopts Jean Pierre Rey’s famous picture of Paris, in May, just before the general strike. In a direct reference to Delacroix’s “Liberty Guiding the People,” a young woman hoists a flag, held aloft by a male companion. She appears trapped by the role she tries to portray, yet sets a precedent for the legal and personal empowerment of women through the feminist movement of the early 1970’s. Around this time, many of the women involved in that movement had children, and it was their curiosity about 1968, as young adults, that Kelly says motivated her to undertake this project. Circa 2011 draws on the abundant, but often anonymous, images of the encampment in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. Before the military takeover, at the highpoint of the revolution, when aspirations to form a secular and democratic government still seemed possible to achieve, these images brought back memories of 1968, but events proved otherwise. This final work is far more abstract than the previous two, reflecting not only the difference of the past and opacity of the present, but also an aesthetic shift from the carefully curated, posed pictures that shape our recollection of 20th century events to the vast networks of images from cellular phones that combine in our memories to describe current circumstances.


In addition to the Circa Trilogy, Kelly will present a series of smaller lint works that reference the covers of 7 Days, a short-lived weekly newspaper founded by an alliance of women engaged in feminist politics and men in the self-styled ‘revolutionary left.’ They aimed to establish parity in the production process and give full support to the Women’s Liberation Movement. Launched in October 1971, 7 Days ran until May 1972, and during that time, Kelly contributed articles and illustrations to several issues. These images and headlines present a far more specific and mundane chronicle of the events that defined the early years of women’s liberation in contrast to the archetypal images presented in the larger works.


Production of the works in CIRCA TRILOGY was supported by a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Mary Kelly (b. 1941) is one of the most influential American conceptual artists. She has had significant solo exhibitions at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, UK; the Santa Monica Museum, Santa Monica, CA; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; the Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; the Center for Contemporary Art, Ujadowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; and the Institute for Contemporary Art, London, UK. Recent noteworthy group exhibitions include “Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image Ideology,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; “Women and Work,” Tate Britain, London, UK; “Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974.” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; “This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1980’s,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; “Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and “Documenta 12,” Kassel, Germany.


Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is located at 6006 Washington Blvd in Culver City, 1 block west of La Cienega at Sentney Avenue.

Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am - 6 pm and by appointment.

6006 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, California 90232 phone 310.837-2117


Post-Partum Document in Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979, Tate Britain, London, April 12-August 29, 2016


Women and Work, in the Inaugural Exhibition, Switch House Gallery, Tate Modern, London, opening June 15, 2016


An Earthwork Performed in A lesson in Sculpture with John Latham, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, March 24-June19, 2016


Mary Kelly has been named a 2015 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation


Mary Kelly in Conversation with Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium, May 22, 2015

For more information please visit the following link:

Tate Modern >>


A Voice Remains

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, April 24 - May 30, 2015

For more information please visit the following link:

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery >>



Ends of The Earth: Land Art to 1974,

Museum of Contemporary Art, The Geffen Contemporary, Los Angeles, until September 3, 2012; Haus der Kunst, Munich, October 11, 2012 - February 15, 2013

co-curated by Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon.


This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1980ʼs

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, November 16, 2012- March 3, 2013

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 30 until September 30, 2012;

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, February 11–June 3, 2012

Curated by Helen Molesworth.

For more information please visit the following links:

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston >>

Walker Art Center >>

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago >>


ARTspace Annual Distinguished Artists’ Interviews: Mary Kelly and Martin Kersels

College Art Association, 100th Annual Conference

Los Angeles Convention Center,

West Hall Meeting Room 515A, Level 2,

1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA,

Friday, February 24 2:30–5:00 PM


Mary Kelly Projects 1973 - 2010

Whitworth Art Gallery
The University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

February 19 - June 12, 2011

Four decades of projects by American artist Mary Kelly are brought together in the most comprehensive exhibition of her work ever presented. As much about everyday experiences as historic events, Kelly's art makes the personal political.From Post-Partum Document (1973 - 79), the series about motherhood that provoked tabloid outrage in 1976 because of its presentation of stained nappies, to more recent intallations about feminism like Love Songs (2005 - 7), the exhibition traces the artist's enduring commitment to women's narratives. The celebratory glow of Multi-Story House (2007) invites visitors to step inside and read the intergenerational dialogue patterning its walls. The impact of conflict and war also runs through the exhibition.  The polished shields and trophies of Gloria Patri (19932), quoting soldiers in Iraq, are hung high like a heraldic display. The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001) about a child lost and found during the Kosovo war, makes a continuous sweep around the gallery walls. Kelly's most recent commission unifies her long-term questions about how history shapes us; the bomb shelter-like Habitus (2010) is 'corrugated' with the memories of people born around the Second World War, legible only by looking into its mirrored floor. Mary Kelly's work reflects back to us how we remember and talk about our experiences, from world wars to daily struggles.


The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi
Saturday 19 February, 12noon and 2pm, Free
The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi is a collaboration between Mary Kelly and composer Michael Nyman. Nyman's haunting score will be performed live in the gallery installation, by the Michael Nyman Quartet and soprano Marie Angel.

Exhibition Tours
Saturday 5 March, 2pm, Free
Tuesday 15 March, 2pm, Free

A friendly and informal guide to the exhibition, led by Curator Dominique Heyse-Moore.

Centenary of International Women's Day
Tuesday 8 March, 3.30 - 5pm, Free
Look around Love Songs, Mary Kelly's celebration of the Women's Movement, and help us mark the 100th International Women's Day.
Dialogic Space: Mary Kelly at the Whitworth Art Gallery
Day Symposium: Saturday 26 March, 10am - 5pm, tickets £25 / £12 concessions

Mary Kelly, Juli Carson, Carol Mavor, Laura Mulvey and Griselda Pollock will talk about the artist's work, concluding with a roundtable discussion chaired by Janet Wolff.
Organised in collaboration with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts (CIDRA), with the support of Art History and Visual Studies & Cultural Theory Unit, The University of Manchester.

After Hours Screening: Nightcleaners
Thursday 19 May, 6 - 9pm
Film starts at 7pm, free
The Gallery will be open late for you to look at the exhibition, enjoy a drink and watch Nightcleaners, a key documentary of the 1970s by members of the Berwick Street Collective (including Mary Kelly) about the campaign to unionise the victimised and underpaid women who cleaned offices at night.

For more information, please visit theWhitworth Art Gallery Educator Resource >>


Mary Kelly
Four Works in Dialogue 1973 - 2010
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
16 October 2010 - 23 January 2011
Curated by Cecilia Widenheim

Over the years, Mary Kelly has developed a unique way of combining personal narratives with a subtle humor and a critically analytical approach in her large–scale installations. In connection with Moderna Museet’s project “The Second Museum of Our Wishes”, one part of Mary Kelly’s major ground-breaking work Post-Partum Document (1973-79) was acquired for the Moderna Museet collection. Post-Partum Document was completed over a period of sixyears and shows how a child, the artist’s son, gradually masters language in a mutual process of socialization between mother and child in the first few years of life. This is the first time Post-Partum Document will have been shown in its entirety in an exhibition in Sweden.

A deep interest in history and time can be found throughout Mary Kelly’s oeuvre. The exhibition FOUR WORKS IN DIALOGUE includes TheBallad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001), Multi-Story House(2007) and a new work, Habitus, commissioned for this venue. Presenting her seminal project from the 1970s together with the later work, generates an exchange between two moments in history, alternative views of collective memory, different iterations of the mother-and-child relationship and co-incident forms of identity.

For more information, please visit the Moderna Museet’s website > >