Maintenance Required at The Kitchen

Maintenance Required
Curated by Nina Horisaki-Christens, Andrea Neustein,
Victoria Rogers, and Jason Waite
2012-13 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows

May 30–June 22, 2013
The Kitchen, 512 W 19th Street
Opening Reception
Thursday, May 30
5–8 pm

Exhibition hours are Tuesday–Friday, 12–6 pm; Saturday 11–6 pm.
Admission is free.

The exhibition features works by Michael Bramwell, Goldin+Senneby, Ashley Hunt, Masaru Iwai, Yve Laris Cohen, Sam Lewitt, Park McArthur, Salvage Art Institute, Karin Sander, Taryn Simon, Pilvi Takala, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles.

Maintenance is crucial for the continuation of our physical infrastructure, our society, and our lives. The often repetitive and mundane work of maintenance sustains people, objects, and institutions, and supports our constant struggle against entropy and decay. Ubiquitous but unseen and undervalued, maintenance comprises the essential systems of support such as healthcare, trash collection and disposal, data exchange and storage, financial infrastructures, and domestic cleaning. These vital systems and activities clear the ground for all other forms of work.

Investigating the diversity of maintenance tasks, Maintenance Required examines the large-scale systems that construct our daily lives. Durational by nature, maintenance networks provide life-perpetuating mechanisms of care; yet these systems can also invisibly direct or limit life’s possibilities, or even become malevolent systems of control. By overcoming our collective blindness toward maintenance activities, we can begin to examine how they condition our lives. Bringing maintenance into view exposes a constantly shifting set of social, political, and affective relations and invites questions about what needs to be maintained and under what conditions that maintenance occurs.

The exhibition takes as its entry point to these issues Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s “Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969!", in which the artist redefines maintenance activities as art. Maintenance Required then focuses on artistic practices that frame and critically engage these often invisible systems of life support. Many of these practices articulate the paradoxical tensions of large-scale systems of maintenance whose power to sustain life may run parallel to the power to constrain it.

Public Programs
Integral to the exhibition, performances will be occurring throughout the duration of the show in both the gallery, as well as off-stage and storage spaces usually reserved for maintenance work at The Kitchen and at Regus Offices on Wall Street.
All events are free and open to the public; seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please check for updated times and details.

Washing Stage
Masaru Iwai
Thursday, May 30
5 pm
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
Tokyo-based artist Masaru Iwai focuses on the aesthetic materiality of cleaning with a particular emphasis on ritualistic, bodily relationships to maintenance. Iwai's new performance for this exhibition abstracts the act of washing, thus staging its aesthetic potentials. The action transforms the pristine minimal structure of the stage into a palimpsestic surface for the material components of domestic maintenance.

Yve Laris Cohen
Saturday, June 1 and Thursday, June 20
8 pm
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
In a new site-specific performance, Yve Laris Cohen meditates on unused and unseen spaces of The Kitchen, responding to the history of the institution, the neighborhood, and the medium of performance. Exploring duration, perception, and the limits of human movement, Laris Cohen considers how maintenance, as well as the lack thereof, reveals our predilections and desires. Space for this event is extremely limited. Reservations required; please register by emailing

Headless at Regus
Tuesday, June 4
3:30 pm
Regus Offices
14 Wall Street, 20th Floor
A performance and video screening of the documentary Looking for Headless (2010) by filmmakers Kate Cooper and Richard John Jones will take place at Regus Offices, a firm that provides temporary meeting room and office rental. The film, commissioned by artists Goldin+Senneby, attempts to track down the offshore company Headless Ltd. through interviews with academics, private investigators, fictionalized characters, and company representatives. As the search proceeds, a complex web of obfuscation similar to the layers of bureaucracy that shroud the opaque world of international finance and its instruments is mapped. Space for this event is extremely limited. Reservations required; please register at

Ashley Hunt
Tuesday, June 18
6 pm
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
In his ongoing interdisciplinary series The Corrections Documentary Project, artist and filmmaker Ashley Hunt investigates the institution of the prison: how it structures and perpetuates racial and economic divisions within society. In Corrections (2001), Hunt uncovers an elaborate system of political and financial incentives that lie behind the growth of the American prison system, and incarceration emerges as a means of maintaining the status quo rather than promoting social change. At times darkly humorous and devastatingly pointed, the film reminds us of ulterior motives that can influence the legal system where order can take precedence over justice.