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Mike Kelley's Tate Modern exhibition in October 2024 will be UK first

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

An entire career-spanning exhibition on the American artist Mike Kelley is coming to Tate Modern in 2024. For many UK art-lovers, it will be the first time they get to experience his experimental work.

Kelley produced provocative art from the 1970s until his death aged 57 in 2012. The art world celebrated him, praising his unsettling multimedia work, which often used installation, performance and music. And despite his artwork appearing in galleries around the globe, there’s never been a major exhibition dedicated to him in Britain.

But Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit — opening in October 2024 — will change that.

The exhibition will bring together his diverse body of experimental and performance pieces: from sculptures made with plush toys to multi-media installations set to music such as Day Is Done.

Drawing on references from popular and underground culture, literature, and philosophy, Kelley explored how the roles we play in society are entangled with historical fact and imaginary characters from the films and images we consume.

These reflections on identity and memory continue to resonate today, over a decade on from his death.

Collage of photographs showing plush toys as mugshots. There are seven. One photo is the artist
Mike Kelley, Ahh...Youth! 1991. © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. All Rights Reserved / VAGA at ARS, NY

The exhibition will be organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with three major European art galleries: the Bourse de Commerce, Paris’; K21, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Further details on what visitors can expect from this exhibition are yet to be revealed. And so far there is no word on ticket prices or even when tickets will go on sale. But the expectation is that that will happen well into the new year — and Tate members will get in free as usual.

It’ll be one of a number of exciting solo art exhibitions happening in 2024 at Tate Modern. These include a major retrospective of performance artist Yoko Ono, the immersive artworks of English-born, US-based artist Anthony McCall, and a landmark show of the Blue Rider Group expressionists.

Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit will run at Tate Modern in London from 3 October 2024 until 9 March 2025

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