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Wk 1-Art Experience-“Women’s Work is also Art

Performing Maintenance Art made me feel kinda shy at first, especially since it was at the USU where people I know could possibly see me cleaning a random statue. It made me feel vulnerable since cleaning is something that you normally do alone, not in public.

Madam Laderman Ukeles cleaning the steps of an art museum is obviously much more stable and calm than the sights of Richard Serra flinging molten lead against the walls of an art museum. One is seen as nurturing and responsible while the other is seen as chaotic and destructive. Visually, they are complete opposites, however I think they can be interpreted in the same ways. Ukeles cleaning the steps of an art museum and Serra destroying the art museum can both represent a new start for art. Since Ukeles is cleaning, there is a fresh slate for the museum to start off on. Since Serra is destroying what was, there can be a new beginning. Through these interpretations, both pieces can be considered “art”. However, if one were to simply look at these images and not interpret anything, both can considered “not art.”

Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ Maintenance Art performance at the Wadsworth Atheneum was considered art because there was an intention behind it, and the image it provokes can be interpreted and inspire others in many different ways. With this in mind, her performance was not considered “art” just because it was done in front of the museum. I feel that even if she was simply a janitor at a random factory, if someone had taken an image and left it up for interpretation, people can consider it “art” so long as it inspires them and provokes some type of thought. Therefore, the phenomenon behind art is the fact that it makes the viewer think about something they’ve never took the time to consider before. As long as there’s introspection, there’s art.

I don’t think art has anything to do with the medium or the intention. Paintings on canvases or paintings at an art museum actually can be considered not art, and houses that are painted can be considered art even if they aren’t in museums, depending on who is viewing it. With what was said previously, as long as whatever object (or maybe nothing) a person is viewing at provokes some feeling and deeper meaning that is thought, this object can be considered art, no matter the medium or intention. Some person could just spill soda on a paper, and the viewer could think it to be beautiful and feel a certain emotion towards it despite the intention or medium.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Jennifer Lopez have both made an impact on how I view “Women’s Work.” I believe that “Women’s Work” is considered art because, while it is a daily task that people do regularly, if looked at and appreciated, it can be art. Honestly, before thinking about how these images affected me, I didn’t consider them art just because I didn’t see the point. However, since I had given them meaning and appreciation for the deed it represents, I now consider it beautiful and a work of art.

I would probably want to clean Hugh Jackman’s star. The Greatest Showman was a real work of art.


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