Mierle Laderman Ukeles

On art and labour, performance work:


Mierle Laderman-Ukeles, Wadsworth-Atheneum (1973) source

One of the of the Manifesto’s goals was to bring to the public space/eye what women do in private, highlighting the work of women. Laderman-Ukeles notes in M A N I F E S T O FOR MAINTENANCE ART 1969!:

“C.        Maintenance is a drag; it takes all the fucking time (lit.)

The mind boggles and chafes at the boredom.

The culture confers lousy status on maintenance jobs = minimum wages, housewives = no pay.

clean your desk, wash the dishes, clean the floor, wash your clothes, wash your toes, change the baby’s diaper, finish the report, correct the typos, mend the fence, keep the customer happy, throw out the stinking garbage, watch out don’t put things in your nose, what shall I wear, I have no sox, pay your bills, don’t litter, save string, wash your hair, change the sheets, go to the store, I’m out of perfume, say it again—he doesn’t understand, seal it again—it leaks, go to work, this art is dusty, clear the table, call him again, flush the toilet, stay young.”1

Various reproductions of the Manifesto are available, I found one here.


1. ‘Mierle Laderman Ukeles – Artforum.Com / Critics’ Picks’. Accessed 14 April 2018. https://www.artforum.com/index.php?pn=picks&id=48868&view=print.


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