The notion of a house as our most private sanctuary is obliterated with Mobile Homestead, the work of the late contemporary artist Mike Kelley, which has made its way from its permanent home at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) to the lot in front of The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA). This is the mobile home’s first journey outside of Detroit, coinciding with a larger retrospective of the influential artist's work at MOCA. He committed suicide in his South Pasadena home in 2012. He was 57.
“We’re not in the real estate business,” says MOCA Los Angeles’s new director Philippe Vergne. “We’re here because Mike Kelley believed art could make a difference, could change someone’s life, one work of art at a time.” At first, the 45-foot-long rectangular volume on wheels appears to be the epitome of domestic perfection. Wrapped in white siding and dotted with blue-green shuttered, sliding windows, the structure is a full-scale replica of Kelley’s single-story, ranch-style childhood home in suburban Detroit. But rather than isolate itself from the world outside, the house has doors that are—literally—open to the seedy, the overlooked, and often unloved.