February 26, 2013 - Grazer Kunstverein - Mierle Laderman Ukeles
February 26, 2013

Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Maintenance Art Work, 1977. Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Maintenance Art Works 1969–1980
9 March–19 May 2013

Grazer Kunstverein
Palais Trauttmansdorff
Burggasse 4
8010 Graz, Austria
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11–18h

T +43 (0)316 83 41 41
F +43 (0)316 83 41 42
office [​at​] grazerkunstverein.org


The Grazer Kunstverein kicks off its inaugural program dedicated to notions of social abstraction by presenting the very first comprehensive European solo exhibition of the artist’s earlier work. Originally organized in 1998 by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts gallery in New York, the exhibition presents a body of work spanning over a decade of significant production. 

The work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles (b. 1939, Denver) concerns the everyday routines of life. In 1969, following the birth of her first child, Ukeles wrote “Manifesto for Maintenance Art” as a challenge to the binary systems of opposition that draw the line between art/life, nature/culture, and public/private. The manifesto proposed undoing boundaries that separate the maintenance of everyday life from the role of an artist in society. Ukeles was interested in how artists could use the concept of transference to empower people to act as agents of change and stimulate positive community involvement toward ecological sustainability. In the 1960s, Ukeles completed an undergraduate degree in history and international studies at Barnard and studied visual arts at Pratt Institute in New York. Ukeles’s work at this time was experimental, and visually and symbolically conveyed the social unrest surrounding events, such as the women’s movement and the Vietnam War.

Ukeles became increasingly disturbed by the separation of the artist in society from everyday activities, such as childcare, household work, and other routine labor practices that she felt should be reinterpreted within the contexts of personal and political aesthetic values. Ukeles has stated that “Avant-garde art, which claims utter development, is infected by strains of maintenance ideas, maintenance activities, and maintenance materials…”

“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 everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art.” (Ukeles, 1969)

Ukeles’ very first publication focusing on her “Ballet Works” produced between 1983 and 2012 will be produced by Kunstverein, Amsterdam in collaboration with the Grazer Kunstverein, and will be published by Sternberg Press with the support of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

The Members Library* presents

Raivo Puusemp – Dissolution
9 March–19 May 2013

The first presentation in the library’s series is dedicated to the work of Raivo Puusemp (b. 1942, EE/US) and the reprint of his publication Beyond Art – Dissolution of Rosendale, N.Y. from 1980.

In March 1975, conceptual artist Raivo Puusemp was elected mayor of Rosendale Village, New York, at the time in its history when an overbearing tax structure and problems with its municipal utilities made it clear that the town could only survive by disincorporating and joining the surrounding Rosendale Township. 

In Rosendale, A Public Work,  the attempt was made to superimpose a formal concept upon an essentially directionless political micro system and to effect that system permanently by doing so. After the dissolution of Rosendale Village in 1978, Puusemp withdrew himself from the art context. 

The exhibition Raivo Puusemp – Dissolution will, besides displaying material around the work Rosendale, a public work, also feature earlier work, mostly imbedded within the construction of phenomenology, and one recent work, which he produced for the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden (NL) containing a burial of a work by Paul Mccarthy. Alongside Puusemp’s practice, the exhibition will also includes related works by artist Ben Kinmont.

Raivo Puusemp – Dissolution is co-produced by Project Arts Centre, Dublin; Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria; and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, USA. 

Following its presentation at Project Arts Centre (November 9, 2012–January 12, 2013) and the Grazer Kunstverein (March 8–May 19, 2013), it will travel to Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (June 7–July 27, 2013).

*The Members Library is constructed and designed by artist and architect Céline Condorelli (b. 1974, Paris) in collaboration with Harry Thaler as a permanent work titled Things That Go Without Saying. The structure she had built for The Members Library is part of a series titled ‘Additionals’. These different prop-like objects, quasi-functional structures, operate at a scale between furniture and architecture.

On display continuously 

Ian Wilson
1 Feb 2013–
Ian Wilson (b. 1940, South Africa)is someone in whose work the Grazer Kunstverein’s would like to see its mission reflected; to explore relationships between the viewed—or discussed—and the viewer and the topical urgency of such interaction.

To stress his importance to the program, the Grazer Kunstverein dedicates a permanent solo exhibition to the artist, which will display different works throughout the years as well as a commissioned and acquired Discussion.

The Peacock
1 February 2013–
A nonstop group show examining the interior of the Grazer Kunstverein by introducing (new) furniture, design, applied and decorative arts that analyze their own functionality.

9 March–19 May 2013
Nina Beier, Dexter Sinister, Will Stuart and Robert Wilhite.

Inaugural performance by Nils Bech (i.c.w. Julian Skar)
8 March
Start: 22h
Location: Palais Thinnfeld, 2nd floor (previous location: Grazer Kunstverein)

For reservations and further information, please contact us.

Sincerely yours,

Grazer Kunstverein

Grazer Kunstverein is generously supported by the city of Graz, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, the province of Styria and Legero The Footwear Company and its members. The performance by Nils Bech is generously supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Austria.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles at Grazer Kunstverein
Grazer Kunstverein
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