This week in art class, we participated in an activity of Maintenance art that made me feel like a glorified janitor.
Mierle Laderman Ukeles cleaning the steps of an art museum differ from Richard Serra flinging molten lead against the walls of an art museum in that one is an action of art and one will produce a piece of art that will remain after the action that created the said art. They are the same in that they are both art because of the intentions that the artists put behind their actions.
The fact that Ukeles performed this action of cleaning stairs at an art museum makes it art because of the message she was sending by cleaning these steps. Hired janitors do not perform maintenance art because their intention is not to make a statement or send a message with their actions, they are just people simply going to work and doing their job each day.
An object does not become art because of the mediums used.
Just because a painting is not on canvas does not mean the painting is not art. Art lies within the intention of the artist not in the materials used to create the art nor where the art piece is located. A painting hung in a house can totally be considered art. Painting a house with a mural with the intention to beautify it will transform the act into art, whereas just painting a house to protect it from the elements would not be art.
Is “women’s work” ever art?
Thinking about this statement has definitely changed my opinion regarding typically domestic activities. The jobs that society usually asigns to women tend to revolve around caretaking and nurturing others and making life easier for those around them.
In this way, women have the intention to lighten the load of other with their actions making women’s work art. Women’s work beautifies and sends a message of care that allows these actions to be justified as art.
P.s. If I had to choose one star on Hollywood Boulevard to clean on my hands and knees I would choose Ryan Reynolds.