Untitled (Bowling Ball, Bag, Shirt and Catalog), 1991



The complete set of four objects including a customized bowling shirt, bowling ball, bag and book.

The bright-red customized elements of Mike Kelley’s three-part still-life sculpture conjure an alter-ego of the artist as a member of a bowling league. Fabricated for the piece, these seemingly common commercial items feature mysterious personalized details. The bowling ball has no holes and is engraved with the artist’s signature. The XXL shirt is monogrammed above the chest pocket, with the artist’s signature stitched in black thread and its mirror image stitched in white. On the back of the shirt and on the bowling bag is a hand-designed emblem of a genie’s lamp with a small puff emerging from its spout. Flanked by two crossed paintbrushes dripping with paint, its handles read “Death, Knowledge, Life, and Guilt,” while the lamp itself is inscribed with the letters “X-C,” connoting a Christogram, or Christian monogram. This darkly humorous assemblage perhaps alludes to Kelley’s Roman Catholic upbringing in a working class suburb of Detroit, while also suggesting the cultural distance between bowling leagues and art museums.

Last two remaining sets from an edition of 50.

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