LOS ANGELES — Contemporary artist Mike Kelley, who was described by colleagues as an "irresistible force," has died, police said Wednesday. He was 57.
South Pasadena Police Sgt. Robert Bartl said Kelley was found at his home and it appeared he had committed suicide Tuesday, without providing further information on the artist’s death. An autopsy was pending.
"Kelley’s work in the 1980s was part of how one defined the Los Angeles arts scene. He had a remarkable ability to fuse distinction between fine and popular art in ways that managed to perturb our sense of decorum," said Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
A family friend who was concerned about Kelley went to his home and called 911, Bartl said.
The friend told investigators that Kelley had been depressed because he had recently broken up with his girlfriend, but no note was found, Bartl said.
"Mike was an irresistible force in contemporary art. … We cannot believe he is gone. But we know his legacy will continue to touch and challenge anyone who crosses its path. We will miss him. We will keep him with us," Kelley’s studio said in a statement that the Los Angeles Times published on its website.