In 1969, after the birth of her first child, Mierle Laderman Ukeles wrote a Manifesto for Maintenance Art and embarked on a career that has mixed maintenance performances and public art. Initially a series of solitary performances, in Wadsworth Atheneum Museum or Art she performed 4 actions: The maintenance of the art object. A ritual sequence of three cleanings of a glass vitrine in the Museumâ€™s Egyptian mummy section (by the maintenance person, by the artists and the
conservator respectively); The keeping of the keys: maintenance as security. The artist took control of the keys closing the museumÂ´s main entrances,
during open hours.; and 2 acts of Washing/Maintenance: Ukeles washed the stairs to the main entrance of the museum with water, stone and diapers (normally used by the conservators to clean works of art). Later, she washed the marble floor of Avery Court with the same materials.
To blur distinctions between work and art, to do publicly what women often do privately, to highlight how housekeeping and maintenance are essential acts in a domestic, urban and global context.
The work of maintenances was underlined and the vitrine, the stairs and the court floor were washed. The value of maintenance work was highlighted.