Mary Kelly is an American conceptual artist born in 1941 in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

She studied fine art and music at the College of Saint Teresa, and fine art and aesthetics at the Pius XII Institute Florence, Italy. She later received a postgraduate certificate in painting at St. Martin’s School of Art, London.


From 1968 Kelly worked in London as artist, teacher, curator, editor and writer. Her first solo exhibition was in 1976 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, where she showed three of the six ‘Documents’ from her extended project Post-Partum Document (1973-7).  This large-scale installation work both visualizes and analyses the mother-child relationship of Kelly and her son over a period of four years, and includes drawings, graphs and charts objects and sound recordings. Post-Partum Document was later published in book form (London 1983) and was exhibited in its entirety at the Yale Center for British Art.

Kelly’s work is renowned for its inquiry into cultural identity, particularly the construction of femininity and power in Western capitalist society.

Flashing Nipple Remix, a series of black and white transparencies in light boxes, records choreographic improvisations based on a snapshot of street theater performers a the 1971 Miss World protest outside the Albert Hall in London.


Sisterhood is POW, a 72-foot narrative illuminated by strip light, replays he artist’s irreverent recollections of participation in the Miss World demonstration and a shorter piece, Seemed Right, highlights phrases most often repeated in interviews with women about the impact of these events on their lives.