Mary Reid Kelley

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Mary Reid Kelley
Born 1979
Nationality American
Awards MacArthur Fellow

Mary Reid Kelley (born 1979) is an American artist based in upstate New York.


Born in Greenville, SC, Reid Kelley’s black and white videos fuse classical drama, modern literature and contemporary pop culture into observations on gender, class, and urban development. They satirize the promise of progress through dense layering of cultural references ranging from southern church socials and women’s magazines to Borges and Baudelaire. Reid Kelley often works in collaboration with her partner, Patrick Kelley.[1]

Reid Kelley is represented by the galleries Pilar Corrias Gallery in London, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in Los Angeles, CA and Fredericks & Freiser in New York, NY.


The narrative short films of Mary Reid Kelley often take place during historical moments of social upheaval and war. In her research, Reid Kelley discovered that the female experience of these events was largely lost to the past, eclipsed by a profusion of poetry, literature and art produced by men. In an effort to pull women from the margins of historical records and textbooks, her work centers around female protagonists such as nurses, prostitutes, and factory workers.

Interweaving historical and literary references, euphemisms, and clever puns within the parameters of rhyming verse,[2] her scripts are both humorous and complex. The result is a delightful manipulation of language that satirizes established social structures while disrupting concepts of logic and reason with its nonsensical qualities.[3]


February 11–27, 2016: "The Syphilis of Sisyphis," Rosebud (satellite gallery of the Rose Art Museum), Waltham, MA

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "Art 21: Mary Reid Kelley". PBS. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  2. ^ "Transcript of 'The Syphilis of Sisyphyus'". 
  3. ^ From exhibition material, Rosebud, Waltham, MA. February 11–27, 2016