Mike Kelley - Kelley, Mike; Welchman, John - Yale University Press
Art and Architecture

Distributed for the Gagosian Gallery 

Mike Kelley

"Day Is Done"

  • Mike Kelley and John Welchman
      REVIEWS             PREVIEW             CONTENTS             EXCERPTS      


Out of Print.

Mike Kelley’s burlesque masterpiece, Day Is Done, is a work in progress conceived in three hundred and sixty-five separate chapters. Chapters 2 to 32 were staged as a complex and spectacular mixed-media installation—which Kelley scripted, scored, shot and sculpted—at Gagosian Gallery, New York, in 2005. To mark the first stage of this ambitious project, Kelley has edited an elaborate visual catalogue of Chapters 2-32. This richly illustrated book includes video stills and installation views, Kelley's libretto and selected writings and notes on key aspects of the project, and a critical review by John Welchman.

Each video chapter imaginatively reconstructs scenes from photographs of “extracurricular activity” that Kelley found in high school yearbooks. Over many years he has collected hundreds of such images and grouped them into categories referring to common forms of folk entertainment: plays, thematic costume days, holiday festivities, religious spectacles, hazing rituals, and so on.  Though not a standard narrative, Day Is Done features recurring characters and some semblance of narrative flow in a provocative look at the formative effects of school on the adolescent psyche.

Mike Kelley was born in Detroit and lives in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited extensively in museums and galleries throughout the world, include Tate Liverpool (2004), MACBA Barcelona (1997), and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993). John Welchman is professor in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California at San Diego. He is the author of several books on Mike Kelley as well as Invisible Colors: A Visual History of Titles, published by Yale University Press.