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Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts appoints Catherine Opie to its Board of Directors
Catherine Opie. © Catherine Opie Studio.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the appointment of artist Catherine Opie to its Board of Directors. She joins Chair John C. Welchman and members Stephanie Barron, Gary Cypres, Jim Shaw, and Joan Weinstein.

“We are delighted to welcome Cathy Opie to the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts,” said Board Chair John C. Welchman. “Her excellence as an artist, generous commitment to community engagement, philanthropic experience, and candid artworld wisdom will greatly benefit the Foundation’s mission as we move forward.”

The Foundation was created in 2007 by the influential artist Mike Kelley to support arts organizations that offered compelling and high-quality programming in the arts—including experimental practices, underknown artists, or challenging content across a wide array of genres. Catherine Opie met Mike Kelley when she was a graduate student at CalArts in the 1980s. “There was always loud music from a band of students he put together emanating from one of the classrooms,” she explained. “Mike’s artwork and teaching has influenced many generations of artists. I am thrilled to be serving on the Foundation’s board and am honored to help carry on his legacy and his vision of supporting artists.”

Today the Foundation, led by Executive Director Mary Clare Stevens, furthers Kelley's philanthropic work through its Artists Projects Grants, awarded to artists and non-profit organizations creating vital and often difficult-to-produce work. Since the grant initiative’s inception two years ago, the Foundation has supported seventeen projects, including the reinstallation of Barbara Carrasco’s mural L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective as part of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes’s exhibition ¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege; the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles, a playable mini golf course that addresses current and historic zoning issues; LA Filmforum’s Survey of International Contemporary Media Art Across Los Angeles; and the upcoming To Protect and Serve? 50 Years of Posters Protesting Police Violence at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

In addition, the Foundation serves as an educational resource on Kelley’s life and work and promotes the artist’s legacy more broadly through loans from its collection, exhibitions, collaborations, and programs, such as the recent Kandors symposium at REDCAT, which complemented the Hauser & Wirth exhibition Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999–2011.

“The past few years have been a period of tremendous growth for the Foundation, with the launch of our grant program and a series of ambitious exhibitions and programs,” explained Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Cathy’s strong voice, energy, and commitment to the arts as an artist, teacher, and advocate will undoubtedly deepen our efforts and will be invaluable to the development of our organization.”

Catherine Opie was born in Sandusky, Ohio, and received her MFA from CalArts in 1988. Opie’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, including a mid-career survey at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2008. Opie was a recipient of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Medal in 2016, The Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award in 2013, and a United States Artists Fellowship in 2006. She also serves on the board of directors of the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. A large survey of Opie’s work recently opened at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Norway, with an accompanying catalog. Upcoming solo exhibitions open in 2018 at Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong and New York. Opie lives and works in Los Angeles and is Professor of Photography at UCLA.

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