This work adopts the form of a rambunctious musical-cum-vaudeville video, chopped into over thirty choreographed numbers. It is distributed across a series of twenty-five sculptural viewing stations that are also locations and para-architectures composed of props from each film shoot. The work is based on American, everyday ‘performances’ like those of school theater, children’s plays or Halloween. Day is Done can be seen as exemplary of Kelley’s interest in the repression of memory, which he questions – and triggers – by architectural and institutional interventions. Kelley conjures up a critically paranoid vision of the niches and micro-spaces inhabited by provincial leisure practices, in order to offer a disturbing commentary on the core of vernacular America.

John C. Welchman (b. 1958) is Professor of Art History in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Modernism Relocated: Towards a Cultural Studies of Visual Modernity (Allen & Unwin, 1995); Invisible Colors: A Visual History of Titles (Yale University Press, 1997); and Art After Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s (Routledge, 2001). He is co-author of Dada and Surrealist Word Image (MIT Press, 1987) and of Mike Kelley in the Phaidon Contemporary Artists series (1999). He is editor of Rethinking Borders (Minnesota University Press, 1996) and is a regular contributor to Artforum, Screen, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and The Economist.