Getty Research Institute Acquires Mary Kelly Archive

Mary Kelly, Tucson, 1972, 2017, compressed lint.


The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has acquired Mary Kelly’s archive, which includes various documents related to works the American artist made between 1968 and 2014. Those documents, along with various ephemera and materials, will be catalogued by the institute and then made available to the public.

Kelly is one of the most important Conceptualists to come out of the 1960s and 1970s. She is perhaps best known for her 1973–79 piece Post-Partum Document, which combined Conceptualism’s emphasis on photography and documentation with feminism’s interest in the roles of women in society, and wound up becoming an unlikely tabloid sensation because it included her baby’s soiled diapers. She has gone on to explore the way memory and digital production affect the flow of images around the world.

The artist said in a statement, “Because my studio practice is project based, involving extensive research that often overlaps with interests in activism and pedagogy, the concept as well as the material form of an archive is central to the way I work. The Getty Research Institute’s curatorial vision not only supports this approach, but I believe, will enhance the discursive potential it implies. I am thrilled to be included in the collection and honored to be part of an on-going collective legacy of such significance.”

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