Selected works by Robert Melee

Robert Melee
Party Girl Mommy-Popping


Black and white photograph

Image size 31.5 x 26.6cm
Robert Melee
Unit 1


Multi-media video unit and black and white photographs

243.8 x 243.8cm

Intimacy, kitsch, sexuality, and subculture are integral themes of Robert Melee’s work. Taking his relationship to his outlandish mother as his subject, Melee’s photos, videos, installations, and performances blur the boundaries between private life and theatre. Using lurid 70s furniture Melee’s Units 1 & 2 provide a stage of eccentric domesticity: lined with personal photographs and home videos they display the mementos of his unorthodox family. Entrenched in queer culture, Melee’s work is a celebration of difference, revealing an alternative lifestyle with endearing and unabashed candour.

Robert Melee
Unit 2


Multi-media video unit and black and white photographs

243.8 x 243.8cm
Robert Melee
Self Portrait


Slip cover, gilded frame, and black and white photographs

243.8 x 137.2cm

Making the most of embarrassment, Robert Melee’s Self Portrait encapsulates all the cringe-worthy sentiments of family photography. Inlaid within a multi-window frame, the same image of Melee’s face is replicated in each space: dull-eyed, bad haircut, painstakingly self-conscious. Reminiscent of Warhol’s multiples, Melee offers his portrait as both icon and keepsake, magnifying the nakedness of personal disclosure as a generic and empty sentiment.

Robert Melee


Slip cover, gilded frame and photographs

213.4 x 137.2cm

When it comes to humiliating mother stories, Robert Melee wins hands down. In his photo tribute Mommy, Melee enshrines the best and the worst of his nearest and dearest: mum boozing, in the bath, as sex kitten, cabaret diva, and Madonna with her adult naked son on her lap. In portraying his maman in all her overwhelming glory, Melee exposes a familial melodrama of Sweet Baby Jane proportions, offering a heart-wrenchingly honest portrait of mother-son love, and all its resplendent dysfunction.

Robert Melee


Framed photographs in plastic slip covers

83.8 x 48.3cm

Throughout Melee’s work is a flirtation between reality and fantasy: family photographs look like film stills, scenarios appear scripted, and people seem as grotesque caricatures playing out clichéd roles. Using life-as-stage, Melee’s work expounds relational dysfunction, drawing the viewer as hostage-voyeur into the entangled drama. With positions firmly drawn, each party plays up to expectation, identity is validated and aggrandised through co-dependence, and all are drawn into the tragic-comic pantomime. In Smoking, random snapshots of the artist and his mother sucking fags are framed as out-takes of a life; glamourised and forgotten footage from a sad, camp movie lovingly dredged from the archive, begging for one last applause.

Robert Melee's Biography

Born in 1966, New Jersey
Lives and works in New Jersey


Robert Melee, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Robert Melee, City Hall Park, New York, NY
Unshamelessfulnessly, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, NY

Robert Melee's Poplar, Ingalls & Associates, Miami

Stage Works and Substitutions, Sutton Lane Gallery, London
In Between False Comforts, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

Robert Melee, Art Statements, Art 34 Basel, Switzerland

You, Me and Her, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NYC

Robert MeleeĆ­s Unit, Corcoran Museum, Washington D.C.

Units, Jay Jopling / White Cube, London
Unit, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NYC

Robert Melee Movies, Centre Gallery, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami FL

Robert Melee, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NYC

Baloneyism, Bravin Post Lee, NYC

White Room, White Columns, NYC


Living Live, LGBT Center, New York, NY
NY/Prague 6, Futura - Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, Curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud
Portugal Arte 10, Portugal Biannual, Lisbon, Portugal, Curated by Stefan Simchowitz
Lush Life, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY, Curated by Franklin Evans
Reel Subjects, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, NY
It's All American, New Jersey MoCA, Asbury Park, NJ, Curated by Alex Gartenfeld and Haley Mellin

Wild Exaggeration, The Grotesque Body in Contemporary Art, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel
hit it big, Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Arena Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico
Bad Habits, Albright-Know Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, Curated by Heather Pesanti
Glitterati, Headquarters, New York, NY, Curated by Thomas Woodruff and Aaron Cobbett
LOVER, On Stellar Rays, New York, NY, Curated by Kate Gilmore & Candice Madey
Glamour Bomb, Parlor Gallery, New Jersey, NJ

It's Not Over Yet, Invisible-Exports, New York, NY
Looking Back, Mireille Mosler, Ltd. New York, NY
Mamma's Boy, Comme il Faut Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

The Lath Picture Show, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NY
Neointegrity, Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY
Warhol and..., Kantor/Feuer Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Artists' Self-Portraits as Porn Stars, Circus of Books, West Hollywood, CA (curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud)

Make It Now: New Sculpture in NY, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York
Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Museum, Long Island City, New York
Painting the Edge, Gallery Hyundai (Do Art), Korea
Summer Group Show, Sutton Lane Gallery, London
Can I Get A Witness, Curated by Dean Daderko, Longwood Gallery, Bronx, New York

Currents 31: Robert Melee, curated by Stefano Basilico, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
Adaptive Behavior, curated by Dan Cameron, Yukie Kamiya and Trevor Smith, New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC

Mama's Boy, White Columns, New York, NY (curated by Jane Harris)
The Outlaw Series, New York, NY (curated by Lisa Kirk)
Greetings from New York: A Painting Show, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria
YOU, Royal Modern Gallery, New York, NY (curated by Lisa Kirk)
The TaDa Show, The Annex, New York, NY

The Longest Winter, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Monitor, Volume 2 Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
Flesh for Fantasy, Javogue & Ingalls Fine Arts, Miami Beach, FL
Family, curated by Jessica Hough, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT
Wonderland, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
Super-Heroes, Galerie Edward Mitterrand, Geneva, Switzerland
State of the Gallery, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, NY

American Spirituality, Audiello Fine Art, Inc. New York, NY
Skank Plus Ultra, Brooklyn, NY

Exposure: Recent Acquisitions from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, O.R.S.
Ltd, Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Mount Miami, Tel Aviv Artists Studio, Tel Aviv, Israel
Achieving Failure: Gym Culture, collaboration with Meredith Danluck, curated by Bill Arning, the Thread Waxing Space, NYC

Group Show, Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL
Group Show, Cartervous & Time, Whales, UK

Sassy Nuggets, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NYC
Pet Shop, Nicholas Davies & CO, NYC

Gramercy Park Fair, NYC

Doggy Style, curated by Rick Prol, Space, NYC
The Joy of Painting, curated by Alix Lambert, HERE, NYC
Maux Faux, Richard Feldman Fine Arts, NYC
Summer Sow, Richard Anderson Fine Arts, NYC

Dirty Birds, Wooster Gardens, NYC

7 Rooms, 7 Shows, P.S.1 Museum, Long Island City, NYC
Neurotic Art Show, Artist Space, NYC

Home, Home For Contemporary Arts, NYC

Visual Art Gallery, curated by Steve Keister, NYC