Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969

"I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order). I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I 'do' Art. Now I will simply do these everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art."
(Miele Laderman Ukeles, Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969).

 

 

 

Initially written as a proposal for an exhibition entitled Care, the Manifesto For Maintenance Art emphasizes maintenance—keeping things clean, working and cared for—as a creative strategy. The manifesto is formed of two parts. In part I, under the rubric 'Ideas' she makes a distinction between the two basic systems of 'Development' and 'Maintenance', where the former is associated with 'pure individual creation', 'the new', 'change' and the latter is tasked with 'keep the dust off the pure individual creation, preserve the new, sustain the change'. She asks, "after the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?".[7] This contrasts with the modernist tradition in which the originality of an artist is foregrounded and the mundane material reality of an artist's everyday life is disregarded.[8] “Avant-garde art, which claims utter development, is infected by strains of maintenance ideas, maintenance activities, and maintenance materials…”

The second part describes her proposal for the exhibition and is made up of three parts A) Part One: PersonalB) Part Two: Generaland C) Part Three: Earth Maintenance. She begins with the statement “I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order) I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I ‘do’ Art. Now I will simply do these everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art [...] MY WORKING WILL BE THE WORK”[9]

 

 

 

 

 

II.       THE MAINTENANCE ART EXHIBITION:    “CARE”

Three parts:  Personal, General, and Earth Maintenance. 

 A.   Part One:  Personal 

I am an artist.  I am a woman.  I am a wife. I am a mother.  (Random order).

I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc.  Also,

(up to now separately I “do” Art.

Now, I will simply do these maintenance everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art. I will live in the museum and I customarily do at home with my husband and my baby, for the duration of the exhibition. (Right? or if you don’t want me around at night I would come in every day) and do all these things as public Art activities:  I will sweep and wax the floors, dust everything, wash the walls (i.e. “floor paintings, dust works, soap-sculpture, wall-paintings”) cook, invite people to eat, make agglomerations and dispositions of all functional 

refuse. 

The exhibition area might look “empty” of art, but it will be maintained in full public view.

MY WORKING WILL BE THE WORK

 

Veronica has not chosen a license for this content.