“In bringing up these bodies and tragicomically bastardizing their ghosts,
(Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley) not only give voice to those omitted from official histories but demonstrate the possibility of such resuscitations. They exemplify how historical plotlines and the words of those populating them can be co-opted and cut loose; how the language that defines us is only ours until death do us part with the right to control it. In this, they call for both an enacting of artistic violence against sanctioned narratives that promote convention and ‘morality’, and an increased suspicion of artistic agency itself. For, while these bodies rest six feet deep, the words that animate them bounce freely on the surface, their looping arcs determined by anyone who thinks to reach out a hand, snatch and throw.”—Harry Thorne, Frieze
Mary Reid Kelley creates a female-focused reinterpretation of myth and history to subvert dominant narratives. Her work blurs meaning in favor of an aggressive and unresolved continuum. Made in collaboration with her partner Patrick Kelley, her graphically stylized videos combine painting, performance, and her distinctive wordplay-rich poetry.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley: Blood Moon, The Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia (2021); The Rape of Europa: Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2021); Rand/Goop: Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Studio Voltaire, London (2019); Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley – We Are Ghosts, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2017); Mary Reid Kelley, MUDAM Luxembourg (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, Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Vienna (2014); and Mary Reid Kelley, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), Boston (2013). Their work has appeared on the cover of Frieze and Artnews, and they were featured on season 6 of the PBS series Art21. They have received MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize and the Balois Prize at Art Basel.