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wallpaper scraping as art.

17/05/2014

 

A good friend sent me this link to Mierle Ukeles’ Manifesto for Maintenance Art. In it, Ukeles states,

 

The sourball of every revolution: after the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?

Development: pure individual creation; the new; change; progress; advance; excitement; flight or fleeing.

Maintenance: keep the dust off the pure individual creation; preserve the new; sustain the change; protect progress; defend and prolong the advance; renew the excitement; repeat the flight; show your work – show it again keep the contemporaryartmuseum groovy keep the home fires burning

Development systems are partial feedback systems with major room for change.
Maintenance systems are direct feedback systems with little room for alteration.

 

And this :

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

 

The exhibit she was proposing consisted of this :

 

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.

 

I love this : maintenance is a drag.
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and how à propos. I’ve spent the evening trying to rip/soak/scrape old wallpaper and wallpaper paint off a tired old kitchen wall, knowing that this is shitty ass thankless work that even I won’t appreciate later. knowing too that it’s pivotal to my feeling that I’m CREATING something : a fresh start, an esthetically pleasing home, a space worthy of the art and the living I hope to do here.
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IMG_1281
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(the struggle too between crafting this alt homestead that will preserve, sustain and renew and this desire for a more radical day-to-day.)
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To maintenance art.
And to the empowering reframing of the everyday.

 

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