Mike Kelley's mobile homestead tours Detroit via three films at Site Gallery Sheffield

By Mark Sheerin | 04 July 2013

Exhibition preview: Mike Kelley: Mobile Homestead Videos, Site Gallery, Sheffield, until July 20 2013

Colour photo of a truck touring an American suburban home
© The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Photograph by Corine Vermuelen. Image from www.tate.org.uk
1993 saw a plaster cast of a four bedroom terrace house by Rachel Whiteread. 2004 saw the installation of a replica of Michael Landy’s father’s semi-detached home in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britian. Houses tend to inspire artists with ambition.

Without wanting to pander to stereotypes, perhaps it has taken a freewheeling American to go one better and get a domestic project on the road, in a literal sense. Such were the unfinished plans of Mike Kelley. Mobile Homestead was one of the final projects he envisioned before his death in 2012.

In short, the artist has put his family home on wheels and towed it back and forth on a sightseeing tour between the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (MOCAD) and the suburbs. En route the mobile homestead passes through neighbourhoods Cork Town, the old Irish Quarter, and the Latin Quarter.

The endeavour has given rise to three films, two of which are exhibited in Europe for the first time in Sheffield. And the artist used the project to comment on many things, including race riots, the motor industry and everyday life in Detroit.

With titles as cumbersome as the vehicle itself his three films are Going West on Michigan Avenue from Downtown Detroit to Westland, Going East on Michigan Avenue from Westland to Downtown Detroit and Mobile Homestead Christening Ceremony and Launch, 25 September 2010. But you will have to be nimble to catch them; note the show ends in just over two weeks.

  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5.30pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @site_gallery‎.

Visit Mark Sheerin's contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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