Maternity Leave

This project was not made during the Residency in Motherhood but is the first in this series of projects that combine art world structures (the artist residency, the biennial exhibition) with my everyday life as a mother.

Maternity Leave was a private, durational performance that took place in our home and was transmitted via live-streamed audio to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. From June – September 2011 an otherwise empty gallery in the museum displayed a plinth holding a white plastic baby monitor. For the duration of the exhibition it emitted a live audio broadcast of the distant domestic world of our home and new eight week old baby to the gallery visitors.

In America where I live there is no government regulated maternity or paternity leave, and no public subsidy for new parents. For each week of the exhibition the Carnegie Museum paid me a maternity benefit, exactly equivalent to the “Maternity Allowance” I am eligible for were I living in England where I am from.

Maternity Leave reveals and considers overlapping cycles of responsibility; of government to citizen, institution to artist, artist to audience, parent to child, and audience to artwork.