Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home
The boundaries between labor and leisure are increasingly blurred.
About the Exhibition
Computers, the Internet, and mobile phones have enabled a variety of new labor practices, an unprecedented amount of which are situated within the home: White-collar home offices, self-employed social media influencers, the hidden labor of coders and offshore renderers now coexist with traditional domestic work by nannies, caretakers and homemakers. Digitization has brought previously unknown working conditions into our lives. They oscillate between a newfound freedom and increased personal expression, and the threat of total digital surveillance and exploitation. The boundaries between labor and leisure, now situated in the same spaces, are increasingly blurred.
Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home considers the domestic sphere as an ever-changing site of labor. The exhibition contrasts images from the MSU Broad Art Museum’s extensive photographic collection on traditional domestic labor—including photos by Walker Evans, Ewing Galloway, Jim Goldberg, Laton Alton Huffman, Arthur Rothstein, John Edward Sache, and Marion Post Wolcott—with current digital and photographic work. Beginning with images that document the Michigan State University School of Home Economics’ teachings in house management and interior decoration, recent explorations by contemporary artists and architects Chris Collins, Jay Lynn Gomez, Faith Holland, Won Kim, Keiichi Matsuda, Marisa Olson, Theo Triantafyllidis, Jon Rafman, Angela Washko and Guanyu Xu add a contemporary perspective.
Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Associate Curator Teresa Fankhänel with Curatorial Assistant Dalina A. Perdomo Álvarez and Curatorial Research and Administrative Assistant Thaís Wenstrom. Lead funding for this exhibition is provided by the Alan and Rebecca Ross Endowed Exhibition Fund.