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Over the course of his four-decade career, Mike Kelley (1954-2012) critically questioned aesthetic conventions and examined all forms of culture. The approximately 100 Memory Ware and associated works were made during the first decade of the 21st century; all are reproduced in this catalog. Named for a genre of North American folk art in which everyday utilitarian objects such as vases are coated with a claylike substance and then embedded with small objects including shells, beads and buttons, Kelley's Memory Ware series consists both of wall-hung works (known as Memory Ware Flats) and freestanding pieces. The artist's appropriation of this folk tradition eliminates recognizable underlying objects and expands the original method to include a wider variety of keepsakes.



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