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Photo by Timothy Schenck

Mary Reid Kelley

We’re Wallowing Here in Your Disco Tent

September 2016 – November 2016

High Line Channel 14, 14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street

September 1 – November 2, 2016
6:00 PM daily until the park closes

Mary Reid Kelley creates videos, photographs, and drawings all based on her humorous and poignant renditions of ancient Greek mythology and historical events. Her scripts are densely woven with complex multi-lingual word play, literary and artistic allusions, and lascivious puns that burlesque the master narratives and gender politics of war and myth, giving them a grotesquely comic feminist twist. Produced with Patrick Kelley, the videos’ costumes, props, and black-and-white aesthetic pay homage to many visual worlds, including Cubism, early cinema, and cartoons.

Reid Kelley’s program features five videos: in Camel Toe (2008) a male aviator bemoans the loss of his lover to her new, more exciting diversion. The bawdy revelry in The Thong of Dionysus (2015) follows Dionysus, Ariadnae, and the Minotaur on an intoxicated adventure in search of “a raisin to live.” In a more somber tone, The Queen’s English (2008) portrays the monologue of a British nurse on the Great War’s Western Front who laments watching a wounded soldier’s slow demise. Also set in World War I, this time in London, Sadie, The Saddest Sadist (2009) displays the intermingled amorous and vocational lives of women working in factories at the time. Finally, The Syphilis of Sisyphus (2011) stars a pregnant bohemian in nineteenth century Paris who delivers biting criticisms of modernity and its false promises of progress.

Organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley, The Syphilis of Sisyphus, 2011. HD video, black-and-white, sound; 11 minutes, 2 seconds. Courtesy of the artist, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York

Artist bio

Mary Reid Kelley (b. 1979, Greenville, South Carolina) lives and works in Saratoga Springs, New York. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented internationally at venues including Hammer Museum (2015); Neuer Kunstverein Wien (2014); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2013); and The Contemporary Austin, TX (2013). Reid Kelley’s work has been featured in a number of prominent group exhibitions including Rose Video 03: Maria Lassnig and Mary Reid Kelley, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, South Waltham, MA (2014); Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from the Alumni Collections, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin (2013); Ludicrous!, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2010); and SITE Santa Fe Eighth International Biennial (2010). Reid Kelley has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2014); Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2013); The Shifting Foundation Grant (2012); and the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize (2011).


Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. Additional funding is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Dorothy Lichtenstein. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.