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Mike Kelley Cave drawing goes to auction at Los Angeles Modern Auctions
Mike Kelley, Nazi War Cave #1, 1985.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Los Angeles Modern Auctions announced 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.

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.

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