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Between and Mortarboard

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Day is Done

Accession Number

Day is Done

Mike Kelley

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support

4 in x 3 in x ⅜ in (10.16 cm x 7.62 cm x 0.95 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase

Label copy
(New Media Gallery: Day is Done 2011)
Day Is Done (2005–06) continues artist Mike Kelley’s career-long investigation into the relationships between order and transgression, popular and avant-garde culture, while touching on contemporary notions of trauma and repressed memory. Day Is Done comprises parts two through thirty-two of Kelley’s multifaceted and ongoing project Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions, a body of work envisioned to eventually include 365 parts, one for each day of the year. Its thirty-one episodes are based on a series of photographs, culled from high-school yearbooks, depicting various “extracurricular activities,” specifically those that represent what Kelley has termed “socially accepted rituals of deviance”: dress-up days, religious performances, fashion shows, singles mixers, and talent shows, among others.
Kelley uses the situations from the original found images of the yearbook as points of departure to stage a series of loosely connected video narratives featuring such characters as the Motivational Vampire, Morose Ghoul, Shy Satanist, and Devil/Barber. Noting that many of his source photographs depict people in costume singing or dancing, Kelley has compared the resulting video episodes to music videos. “In fact,” he has written, “I consider Day Is Done to be a kind of fractured feature-length musical… The experience of viewing it is somewhat akin to channel-surfing on television.” Kelley’s mash-up of different narrative modes and musical styles alongside his liberal use of cultural stereotypes highlights the fact that so much “personal” experience is filtered through conventional representations. Ultimately, Day Is Done is less about high school per se than about common cultural rituals and their persistence and mutations over time. Originally presented in December of 2005 at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City as a sprawling video/sculpture, Kelley subsequently re-edited Day Is Done into a single channel format for theatrical presentation. Aptly described by filmmaker John Waters as an “epic,” Day Is Done will be shown at UMMA in its entirety.
Jacob Proctor
Guest Curator
Run time: 169 minutes

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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3 Related Resources

Detroit-Area Artists
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Theater and Drama
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display