John Kelly is a performance and visual artist. His performance works range in scale from solo to larger ensemble, and stem from autobiographical, cultural, and political issues. Subjects have included the Berlin Wall, the Troubadours, the AIDS epidemic, and Expressionistic Film, and character studies based on Egon Schiele, Caravaggio, Antonin Artaud, Joni Mitchell, and Jean Cocteau. These works have been performed at The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, the Warhol Museum, the Whitney Biennial, PS 122, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, and London’s Tate Modern.

A relationship to self-scrutiny and the mirror began during his training in dance studio, and eventually extended to include a visual art practice of self-portraiture, comprised of drawing, painting, photography and video.

Kelly has received 2 Bessie Awards; 2 Obie Awards; 2 NEA American Masterpiece Awards; an American Choreographer Award; a CalArts/ Alpert Award in Dance/Performance; a Visual AIDS Vanguard Award; and the 2010 Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Fellowships: the Rome Prize in Visual Art at The American Academy in Rome; The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard; The Guggenheim Foundation; The Sundance Theatre Institute, The New York Foundation for the Arts; and Art Matters, Inc., and a 2013 USA Artists (Gracie) Fellowship.  Recent residencies include Armory Artist in Residence at the Park Avenue Armory, the Civitella Ranieri Center, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the LMCC Process Space Artist in Residence program.  He was recently a Visiting Artist in Residence at Bard College (2013-15).

Visual Art Exhibitions: Alexander Gray Associates; MOMA; List Visual Art Center at MIT; Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; New Museum; PS 1; Art In General; FotoGrafia-Festival Internazionale di Roma; MACRO, Roma; Biagiotti Progetto Arte, Firenze; the Coreana Art Museum, Soeul, Korea, Harvard University, Hudson Opera House.

As a singer he has collaborated and recorded with composers David Del Tredici, Richard Einhorn, Laurie Anderson, and The Jazz Passengers. Acting credits include the Broadway production of ‘James Joyce’s The Dead’ (Bartell D’Arcy) at the Belasco Theatre; Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Dido, Queen of Carthage’ (Cupid), directed by Neil Bartlett at A.R.T.; Rinde Eckert’s ‘Orpheus X’ (Jon/Persephone) directed by Robert Woodruff, at A.R.T. and TFANA; ‘Dog Days’ (Prince), an opera by David Little, directed by Robert Woodruff at Peak Performances, Ft Worth Opera, LA Opera, and New York’s 2016 Prototype Festival; ‘The Threepenny Opera’ (Street Singer/Filch) directed by Martha Clarke at the Atlantic Theatre Company; ‘The Clerk’s Tale’ (Spencer Reese) a film written and directed by James Franco. He has frequently performed the work of John Cage, including: ‘James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Eric Satie: An Alphabet’ (Narrator); ‘Report On The Weather’; ‘Aria With Fontana Mix (with the San Francisco Symphony); and ‘’The City Wears a Slouch Hat’.

Writing includes ‘JOHN KELLY’, a visual autobiography, published by the 2wice Arts Foundation in association with Aperture; essays for Movement Research Journal, Inside Arts, Metro New York, The Italian Journal, and Performing Arts Journal.

He recently reconstructed his 1990 Obie Award winning ‘Love of a Poet’ (a staging of Robert Schumann’s ‘Dichterliebe’ song cycle).  His first solo recording ‘Beauty Kills Me‘ was recently released;  he is currently completing his first graphic novel A Friend Gave Me A Book; and he is developing ‘Time No Line‘, a new solo performance work based on 40 years of handwritten journals that will premiere at La MaMa in the fall of 2017.

Comments (30)

30 Responses to “BIO”

  1. Elyse Dalle says:

    John Kelly is a New York treasure! I’ve been attending his unique & extraordinary performances for a very long time& am always astounded at his talent& vision! He is amazing– I was very young when I was fortunate enuf to see his show on Egon Schiele- I couldn’t believe what I was seeing– it was so emotional,creative& honest– I hope Mr. Kelly graces Gotham with his inventiveness for a long long time! He finds humanity& truth in his subjects while treating us to beautiful aesthetics!!

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