LAMA BLOG

Mike Kelley Cave Drawing Goes to Auction in Los Angeles

July 11, 2014

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is pleased to announce that Mike Kelley’s Nazi War Cave #1 (1985) will be a featured lot in the upcoming October 12, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction. This exemplary work from Kelley’s Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile project is being sold by the estate of the original owner and will trade hands for the first time this fall.



Mike Kelley, Nazi War Cave #1, 1985
To go to auction on October 12, 2014 at LAMA

Nazi War Cave #1 (1985) (Estimate $400,000 – 600,000), from the Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile project that Kelley worked on from 1985-86, is one of ten works that explores the eternal artistic conundrum: truth versus illusion. This work employs text and imagery that creates layers of meaning, oscillating between “jokes”, “red herrings” and real “issues.” Kelley is begging the viewer to scrutinize this work by placing text and imagery together to decipher what is “real” and what is “fake.”“My language usage in artworks is not just babble. Often there are jokes on certain critical or historical issues – and that can be seen if one reads closely,” Kelley states from an interview in 1999.

Kelley’s work marks a critical point of progression in the history of post-war conceptual art. “L.A. would not have become a great international capital of contemporary art without Mike Kelley. Of all the artists in the 1980s, he was the one who really broke out and established a new and complex identity for his generation,” says Paul Schimmel, expert on Kelley’s work and principal of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel.

Another drawing from this project, Exploring from Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile (1985) is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art.

Lot Information:
Mike Kelley
Nazi War Cave #1
1985
Acrylic on paper
Sheet: 68.875″ x 104″
Exhibited: “Mike Kelley,” traveling exhibition, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, December 15, 2012-April 1, 2013; Centre Pompidou, Paris, May 2-August 5, 2013; MoMA PS1, New York October 13, 2013-February 4, 2014; MOCA, Los Angeles, March 31, 2014-July 28, 2014
Illustrated: Welchman, John C, Isabelle Graw, and Anthony Vidler, Mike Kelley. 2nd ed, New York: Phaidon, 2011, p 14; Meyer-Hermann, Eva, and Lisa Gabrielle Mark, eds, Mike Kelley. Munich: DelMonico/Prestel, 2013, p 76.
Estimate: $400,000 – 600,000

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Nazi War Cave #1 (1985), will go up for auction on October 12, 2014 in the Los Angeles Modern Auction (LAMA) Modern Art & Design Auction. Advance viewings begin September 29, 2014, and the auction will be on October 12, 2014 at 12 p.m. (PT). Visit www.LAMODERN.com or call 323-904-1950 for additional details.

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October 12, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction will be conducted at the LAMA showroom: 16145 Hart St. Van Nuys, CA 91406 and will start at 12 p.m. (PST). Auction Preview: September 29 – October 11, 2014; open daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. // Preview lots online: September 24, 2014

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