The Rape of Europa: Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley

August 12, 2021 - January 2, 2022
Fenway Gallery

The Gardner Museum commissioned Artists-in-Residence Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley to respond to Titian’s Renaissance masterpiece Rape of Europa, which will be on view in the exhibition Titian: Women, Myth & Power. The artists created a graphically stylized short film, also titled The Rape of Europa, that combines painting and performance with Mary Reid Kelley’s distinctive satirical poetry. In the film, Mary plays a range of historical and mythical characters trapped between comic and tragic scenarios, layered into a densely detailed collage by Patrick. Their dilemmas, expressed through rhymes and puns, refer to longstanding social issues that resonate with the present-day #MeToo movement. By giving a voice to the character of Europa, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley humanize and liberate her from the subservient and silent role she had long been forced to play in the ancient myth described by male poets and artists.

The Rape of Europa explores themes of sexual assault and violence.

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Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley looking at Titian's Rape of Europa

Image credit: In January 2020, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley returned to see Titian’s painting close up in the Conservation Lab before it was packed for its trip to London.

About the Artists

Mary Reid Kelley (b. USA, 1979) received her BA from St. Olaf College, Minnesota, and an MFA in Painting from Yale University in 2009. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Grant, has received awards from the American Academy in Rome, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Patrick Kelley (b. USA, 1969) earned a BA from St. Olaf College, Minnesota, and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. His works have been exhibited at the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information–Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley’s video work has been exhibited at venues including Studio Voltaire, London; Baltimore Museum of Art; Tate Liverpool, Liverpool; MUDAM Luxembourg; The High Line, New York; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles Pilar Corrias, London; Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Vienna; and The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Boston. Their 2016 film This Is Offal won the Baloise Prize at Art Basel. They were the Keith L. and Kathy Sachs Visiting Professors in the Department of Fine Arts for the 2019 – 2020 academic year at the University of Pennsylvania. Between 2019 and 2021 as Artists-in-Residence at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia Mary and Pat are developing an extensive new project. They live and work in upstate New York.

Related Exhibitions

Related Exhibitions

Titian: Women, Myth & Power

Hostetter Gallery | August 12, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Body Language: Barbara Kruger

Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade | June 29, 2021 - February 1, 2022

The Artist-in-Residence program is directed by Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, and is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Barbara Lee Program Fund. The Rape of Europa by Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley was commissioned by the Gardner with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.