Maintenance Required - with Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Curated by Curatorial Fellows of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program Nina Horisaki-Christens, Andrea Neustein, Victoria Rogers, and Jason Waite.

Opening Reception
Thursday, May 30, 5–8 pm

Photo: Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance: Sweep 7, Staten Island, 6:00 a.m. Roll Call, 1979–80. Citywide performance with 8,500 New York City sanitation workers. 
Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

Maintenance Required examines the large-scale systems that construct our daily lives through an investigation of the diversity of maintenance tasks. 

Durational by nature, maintenance networks provide life-perpetuating mechanisms of care, yet these systems have the potential to invisibly direct or limit life’s possibilities, even manifesting as malevolent systems of control. By dismantling our collective blindness toward maintenance activities, we can begin to examine how they condition our lives. Bringing maintenance into view exposes a constantly shifting set of social, political, and affective relations. Acknowledging maintenance systems invites questions about what needs to be maintained and under what conditions that maintenance occurs. 

Taking as an entry point Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ “Manifesto for Maintenance Art” (1969), in which the artist redefines maintenance activities as art, Maintenance Required focuses on artistic practices that frame and critically engage these invisible systems of life support: practices that articulate the paradoxical tensions of large-scale systems of maintenance whose power to sustain life may run parallel to the power to constrain it.

With works by Michael Bramwell, Goldin+Senneby, Ashley Hunt, Masaru Iwai, Yve Laris Cohen, Sam Lewitt, Park McArthur, Salvage Art Institute, Karin Sander, Taryn Simon, Pilvi Takala, and 
Mierle Laderman Ukeles.

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