Women’s Work Revisited: Feminist Art and a Politic of Labor

Jordan Holms
6 Sessions »Wednesdays, March 11-April 15

6:30-930pm | 16C | $295

Materials List

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.

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Jordan Holms  is a Vancouver-born visual artist, writer and curator who lives and works in San Francisco. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2015 and will receive her Dual Degree Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2019. Her studio practice consists of abstract painting, fiber-based sculpture and textile work. Holms is represented by Marrow Gallery in San Francisco’s Sunset District and the online gallery Beledor. She has exhibited internationally in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom and her work is held in several private collections.  Most recently, she has worked with ADIDAS to create an original painting for their San Francisco Market Street storefront. Holms is a former director of SFAI’s Swell Gallery at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and is currently a Teaching Assistant and Public Education Instructor at SFAI. 

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