In 1969, the feminist performance artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles wrote in her watershed “Manifesto for Maintenance Art”:
"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."
When we think about art and labor, and art about labor, we often think of Richard Serra’s massive steel edifices, or even Mike Kelley’s hand sewn quilts made of discarded stuffed animals. But what about the women artists who have spent decades manifesting an alternative rhetoric around the value of labor? Through a series of lectures, discussions, and readings this course will examine feminist art and its relationship to labor practices, politics, and aesthetics. Tracing a legacy of feminist art that includes Suzanne Lacy, Lorraine O’Grady, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles, among others, this course will pay specific attention to artwork that takes up unvalorized forms of feminized labor. We will focus on material practices historically deemed to be women's work, such as sewing, knitting, and quilting, as well as subject matter such as motherhood, domesticity, housework, and sex work. We will also discuss how the devaluation of women’s work within the art institution, and more broadly, is informed not only by gender, but also race, class, and other intersections of difference.
Jordan Holms is a Vancouver-born visual artist, scholar, and curator who lives and works in San Francisco. Holms's painting and sculpture practice examines how space is organized, materialized, and made to mean. Her research interests include critical geography, second-wave feminist art, domestic crafts, labor politics, and reality television. Holms has exhibited internationally in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, and her work is held in multiple private collections. Her paintings have been included in several MFA survey exhibitions, featured at BAMPFA, and in Adidas's Market Street storefront. Holms is currently a Gallery Associate at KADIST and the Curatorial Assistant at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. Holms earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University in 2015 and a Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2019. Holms is represented by Marrow Gallery in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district.