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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Bronx, NY
USA

After child-birth in 1968, artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles became a mother/maintenance worker and fell out of the picture of the avant-garde. In a rage, she wrote the Cambridge, and the Ayalon Park in Israel. She has completed 6 work ballets with workers, trucks, barges, and hundred of tons of recyclables: in NYC, Pittsburgh, France, Holland, and Tokamachi, Japan. Recent and forthcoming exhibitions are a one person show in the Feldman Gallery Booth at the International Armory Art Fair in NYC, WACK! Art & the Feminist Revolution, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates. The unsalaried Artist In Residence in the NYC Department of Sanitation for 30 years, she is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in NYC. Often a visiting artist, she will teach at Yale in the sculpture department in 2007—2008. She has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the NY State Council on the Arts and support from the Guggenheim, Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, and Anonymous Was a Woman Foundations.

Feminist Artist Statement

“My Feminist Art Statement is expressed in my MANIFESTO FOR MAINTENANCE ART 1969! Proposal for an Exhibition “CARE”. It remains operative today. The proposal for a three part exhibition, “CARE,” still stands. This artwork is available on the Feldman Gallery website.

Please use this path to get there: www.feldmangallery.com—> Jump to an Artist—> select Mierle Laderman Ukeles from the drop down menu.

<p>Touch Sanitation</p>

Touch Sanitation

“I’m not here to watch you, to study you, to analyze you, to judge you. I’m here to be with you: all the shifts, all the seasons, to walk out the whole City with you.”
I face each worker, shake hands, and say: “Thank you for keeping NYC alive.” / Performance Duration: 11 months, at least 1 to 2 8-hour/per day work shifts. With 8,500 sanitation workers. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Touch Sanitation

“I’m not here to watch you, to study you, to analyze you, to judge you. I’m here to be with you: all the shifts, all the seasons, to walk out the whole City with you.”
I face each worker, shake hands, and say: “Thank you for keeping NYC alive.” / Performance Duration: 11 months, at least 1 to 2 8-hour/per day work shifts. With 8,500 sanitation workers. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

The Social Mirror

The “MIIROR TRUCK” as it is known in Sanitation has been used since 1983 until today for parades and community festivals. It is considered an honor to drive it. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

RE-SPECT (October 28, 1993, Givors, France)

Performance with 27 city trucks, 3 barges, a recycled cobalt blue “diamond” on the barge deck. A 1 hour procession through town with trucks and also 100 kids, from a housing project, given adult used work gloves. Followed by a 3 movement ballet on the 650 foot quai along the River Rhone, consisting of Sanitation, Parks, and Fire choreography and then a surprise water component with 3 barges on the River. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Ceremonial Arch Honoring Service Workers III

I believe the City is a living entity, our ecological home. If you want to have a City, you need to become inter-dependent on many kinds of service workers whose work is never finished, but cycles like breathing, to keep the City alive and healthy.
No matter how technologically advanced our culture becomes we will always be dependent upon these workers. I asked workers from 12 NYC agencies and authorities to give me their dirty work gloves, signifying work and honor. / Six columns are made of emblematic materials from six different agencies. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Unburning Freedom Hall

I set up art studios in work yards with city workers from Sanitation, Streets, and Fire departments, and also many high schools, where during regular work and school hours, workers made over 700 Unburnings.
After the installation in the Museum, visitors continued to make over 1,000 Unburnings in the museum.
8 different formal Peacetalks at the Hearth were held at the cobalt blue Peacetable, led by great local “Peace-Builders,” identified in communities all over L.A. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Turn Around Surround: Galaxy Dancefloor

Danehy Park is the restoration of a site that originally provided the clay that most bricks in Cambridge and Boston come from. Forced by new environmental regulations to close, through the 1970s and 1980s, the City decided to invest heavily in its rehabilitation as a wonderful recreational park, which was sorely needed. /
Located on top of the central mound, at the highest point in Cambridge, overlooking the rest of the park, is the Galaxy Dancefloor, a site of celebration. / The Galaxy is an image of whirling energy and offers a notion of continuity and cycling in opposition to the wasted materials beneath the mound but in harmony with the strangely re-used rubber now on top which has now become a celebratory Dance Floor with a great view overlooking Cambridge and beyond. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

tford Wash: Washing/Tracks/Maintenance

Part of Maintenance art performance series that took place between 1973-4 at Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT.

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Bronx, NY
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