Mike Kelley: Day is Done

Mike Kelley: Day is Done

(Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions #2–#32)

"Day Is Done is an indisputable tour de force... a variety show scripted by a regression therapist." The Village Voice

World theatrical premiere | 2005–06, 150 min., DigiBeta
Jack H. Skirball Screening Series

A major new video work by the Los Angeles artist, Day Is Done is a feature-length musical that examines American subcultures and folk events through the restaging of 31 carnivalesque productions intermixed into a meandering semi-narrative. Each reconstruction is a live-action scene that has been extrapolated from photographs found in high school yearbooks, with such familiar diversions from the day-to-day routine as dress-up days, memorial speeches, religious spectacles, fashion shows, singles’ mixers and musical follies. Kelley disrupts the traditional structures of such events to construct a dizzying daisy chain of performances that results in an institutional landscape populated by dancing Goths, singing vampires, hick storytellers, horse dancers and the Virgin Mary. Written and directed by Mike Kelley, with original music by Mike Kelley and Scott Benzel, and choreography by Kate Foley. 



Mike Kelley is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the west coast art scene of the 1980s. He works with performance, installation, drawing and painting, video, sound, and sculpture. Drawing from historical research, mass cultural sources, and psychological theory, his artworks reference both high art and vernacular traditions.

Kelley was born in 1954 in a suburb of Detroit, where he was influenced by the local music scene and was a member of the band Destroy All Monsters. He moved to California where he attended the California Institute of the Arts, founded a band with fellow CalArtians John Miller and Tony Oursler and graduated with a MFA in 1978. He has been featured in numerous exhibitions including, most recently, Profondeurs Vertes, a special project for the Louvre, Paris (2006); and The Uncanny, a curatorial project presented at the Tate Liverpool and the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (2004). Day Is Done was first presented as a sculpture and video installation at the Gagosian Gallery, New York (2005) (see http://www.gagosian.com). His solo shows include survey exhibitions at the ICA (London) and the Kunsthalle Basel (1992); the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993), among others.

His work is in the permanent collection of the Carnegie Museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Germany Museum Moderner Kunst, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Copenhagen Stedelijke Museum, the Walker Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

He has been awarded a number of awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and several National Endowment for the Arts grants.He has also published several volumes of critical writings and interviews.

Mike Kelley lives and works in Los Angeles.

Selected Videography:

  • The Futurist Ballet, 1973, 27 min, b&w/sound (Documentation of a live improvisational event with Jim Shaw and others)
  • Kappa, 1986, 26 min, color/sound (Mike Kelley/Bruce and Norman Yonemoto)
  • Blind Country, 1989, 19:57 min, color/sound (Mike Kelley/Ericka Beckman)
  • 100 Reasons, 1991, 6:41 min, color/sound (Mike Kelley/Bob Flanagan/Sheree Rose)
  • Heidi, 1992, 62:40 min, color/sound (Mike Kelley/Paul McCarthy)
  • The Pole Dance, 1997, 31:18 min, color/sound (Mike Kelley/Tony Oursler/Anita Pace)
  • Strange Fruit, 1998, 60:00, color/sound (w/Destroy All Monsters)
  • Test Room Containing Multiple Stimuli Known to Elicit Curiosity and Manipulatory Responses, 1999, 51:18 min, color/silent
  • A Dance Incorporating Movements Derived from Experiments by Harry F. Harlow and Choreographed in the Manner of Martha Graham, 1999, 8:32 min, b&w/silent
  • Cross Gender/Cross Genre, 1999, 119:06 min, color/sound
  • Sod and Sodie Sock (Vienna Cut), 1999, w/Paul McCarthy, 17:38, color/sound
  • Haut 'D' Voix, 2000, w/Franz West, 99:46 min, color/sound
  • Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene), 2000, 29:44 min, b&w/sound
  • Runway for Interactive DJ Event, 2000, 48:23 min, color/sound
  • Bridge Visitor (Legend-Trip), 2004, 17:53 min, color/sound

The Jack H. Skirball Screening Series is curated by Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud.

Associated Images: 


Date/Time G ST CA
Mon 1.22.07 8:00pm $8 $6 $4
Tue 1.23.07 8:00pm $8$6$4

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff