On Monday Supreme announced their newest capsule collaboration with the late visual artist Mike Kelley for Supreme’s FW18 week 3 drop. Supreme has a knack for collaborating with cutting-edge artists, including Nan Goldin, Richard Estes, and Cindy Sherman. So the Mike Kelley x Supreme collaboration fits right in with the brand’s use of late 20th century American art masters. In fact, it’s surprising Supreme hasn’t already collaborated with Kelley.
Kelley’s famous 1987 work, “More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and the Wages of Sin,” is a mixed-media masterpiece. Comprised of a massive 8 x 10-foot tapestry of second-hand stuffed animals, dolls, and Afghan blankets, and a small table of half-melted candles, Christopher Knight in the LA Times described Kelley’s masterpiece as “a devastating meditation on impossible negotiations of love and loss, both for society and for individuals.”
Supreme has given “More Love Hours” the all-over print button up shirt and hoodie treatment.
Kelley’s most recognizable work–by way of the 1992 Sonic Youth album, “Dirty”–is his 1991 series of photos “Ahh… Youth!” This wasn’t the first time Kelley and Sonic Youth hooked up, though. In 1985, the two collaborated on Kelley’s performance piece, “Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile.”
This work consists of a row of eight portrait, passport-style photographs of secondhand stuffed animals and Mike Kelley’s yearbook photo. The stuffed animals’ portraits are of a piece with “More Love Hours,” evoking loss and sentimentality. The inclusion of Mike Kelley’s relatively affectless photo heightens the emotional impact of the stuffed animal portraits.
For the drop, Supreme created a variety of clothes featuring the “Ahh… Youth!” photos, including eight skateboard decks, sweatshirts, shirts, and tees.
Rounding out the drop is a selection of images culled from his series of ink and collage works, “Reconstructed History.” This 1989 series featured black-and-white textbook images defaced with marginalia, juvenalia, and other types of graffiti. Kelley’s point in these works was to consider how history books communicate one version of history, and how individual people “write” back against official stories. Of course, this sentiment fits completely with Supreme’s ethos.
Multiple hoodies and tees use “Franklin Signing the Treaty of Alliance with the French Officials,” “The Empire State Building,” and “Hiding From Indians” from this series.
Find all things Mike Kelley x Supreme here