Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Susan Richmond

Second Advisor

John Decker

Third Advisor

Gyewon Kim


Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ 1973 performance, Transfer: Maintenance of the Art Object posed a comparison between her own gendered household labor and the labor of a maintenance worker in a museum. The performance also addressed the hierarchies of maintenance work versus artistic work as well as invisible work versus public work, and is often interpreted as serving to equalize these boundaries. While hierarchies are questioned within this piece, this paper argues that the performance primarily serves to acknowledge and maintain the inevitability of these existing hierarchies within the art institution, rather than eliminate them.