Man Cleaning Up – HELP WANTED

Thu 14 Dec 2017

This is a past program.
Main Exhibition Gallery

Help Wanted for Nat Thomas performance

Man Cleaning Up 2017

On behalf of artist Nat Thomas, ACCA is seeking volunteers to participate in a performance work which will take place on occasions over the duration of the exhibition Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism, at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne.

Thomas’ work is titled Man Cleaning Up, and requires male volunteers to donate 30 minutes of their time, to perform a cleaning action. The performance can take place at any time during ACCA’s opening hours, by arrangement.

Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact ACCA at:


Nat Thomas on Man Cleaning Up:

Are you a white man born to a privilege you didn’t ask for?

Have you assumed power because you have never questioned that you’d have it?

Are you a boss who earns an embarrassing amount more than your dedicated female-dominated workforce?

Are you a man feminist wanting to work toward gender equality but don’t know where to start?

Are you tired of being emotionally complicit in maintaining a status quo that works for the few but not the many?

Are you a beneficiary of the unpaid and underpaid labor of women?

Do you want to confront cultural norms and help clean up the mess that is gender discrimination?

Then I’ve got a job for you!

Man Cleaning Up is a durational performance commissioned by ACCA for its ‘Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Art and Feminism’ exhibition.

The real work of this work, is about who can be convinced to address their privilege by dressing in a Hi-Vis vest (so we won’t miss this small public gesture), getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing the floor clean.

Each shift will be 30 minutes, unless you really were born to rule and you do rule, at which point you might like to commit to a longer stretch of grunt work, but I’ll leave this up to you.

You will not be required to speak, but to reflect on gender politics within society today and how we can work together for more equitable life outcomes.

Like many gender role expectations, sexism is a problem left to women to solve. Dissolving sexism in turn becomes more unpaid labour for women. Women are sick of solving problems men benefit from.

In doing this work we pay homage to Miele Laderman Ukeles’ iconic feminist series Maintenance Art Works 1969-1980, especially her washing of the staircase of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Connecticut in 1973.

See her manifesto at

Who’s in and thanks in advance,

nat x



Natalie Thomas