SMMoA Presents A Conversation On The Mobile Homestead Project Tuesday

Monday, 16 Sep 2013, 9:07:00 AM

Mitch James

Mobile Homestead parked in front of the original Kelley home on Palmer Road, Westland, Michigan, 2010.
Photo by Corine Vermuelen/Courtesy Of MOCAD
Mobile Homestead parked in front of the original Kelley home on Palmer Road, Westland, Michigan, 2010.

The Santa Monica Museum of Art on Tuesday presents The Mobile Homestead Project: A Conversation with Mary Clare Stevens, Jim Shaw, and Cary Loren from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The conversation is part of SMMoA’s series “A Collection of Ideas.”

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Mary Clare Stevens, executive director of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, joins artists and Destroy All Monsters band mates Jim Shaw and Cary Loren to discuss their roles in Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead project and its collision of public art, subcultural activity, and independent art practice.

Mobile Homestead is a full-scale replica of Kelley’s suburban childhood home built on a lot behind the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

The structure features a detachable mobile façade designed to provide social services on the fly, a ground floor that functions as a community gallery, and a labyrinthine basement that is not open to the public and reserved for what Kelley described as “private rites of an aesthetic nature.”

The mobile facade’s voyage from downtown Detroit to the artist’s original home in the suburbs was recorded in Kelley’s final video works; Stevens will share excerpts from the videos and additional documentation of Mobile Homestead to contextualize the project and deepen the conversation.

Mike Kelley wrote of the Homestead: “This project blatantly makes a distinction between public art and private art, between the notions that art functions for the social good, and that art addresses personal desires and pleasure. Mobile Homestead does both; it is simultaneously geared toward community service and anti-social private sub-cultural activities. It has a public side, and a secret side.”

The Tuesday evening program presents the opportunity to reflect on this complex artwork, which offers many different services and meanings for Detroit’s diverse publics and the art world at large.

Mobile Homestead, planned and designed by Kelley, was commissioned by the London-based arts organization Artangel in association with MOCAD, the LUMA Foundation, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.

Mary Clare Stevens worked as Mike Kelley’s studio manager for 10 years and now serves as a Trustee of the Estate and Executive Director of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit that Kelley set up in 2008.

Stevens is an artist with an MFA from UCLA.

Cary Loren is a filmmaker, writer and bookseller from Detroit, Michigan. He was a founding member of Destroy All Monsters with Jim Shaw, Mike Kelley, and Niagara.

Jim Shaw is an artist and musician from Midland, Michigan. He was a founding member of Destroy All Monsters with Cary Loren, Mike Kelley, and Niagara. Shaw lives and works in Los Angeles and earned his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.


A Collection of Ideas… is a series of conversations with some of today’s most innovative and creative minds to examine the important social, cultural, and political issues of our time.

SMMoA is located at the Bergamot Station, Building G1, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, California.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, closed Sunday, Monday, and all legal holidays.

Suggested donation: $5; $3 for seniors and students.

For more information, call 310.586.6488 or visit

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