NEW YORK.- The Ronald Feldman Gallery, in cooperation with the New York City Department of Sanitation, will present the work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles at the gallerys booth (1116) at Pier 94 in the 2007 Armory Show. An artist who works in the public domain, Ukeles conceptualized the term Maintenance Art in 1969 after child-birth, which she has applied to the home, all kinds of service work, the urban environment, and the sustenance of the earth itself. Her thirty-year-long artist-in-residency, official and unsalaried, in the Department of Sanitation was referred to in the Winter 2002-2003 Public Art Review as among the great public art works of our time.
On view will be The Social Mirror, a twelve-ton, twenty-eight-foot-long New York City sanitation truck reconfigured with mirrored glass panels that will occupy the booth. The reflecting truck is a metaphor for the interrelationship between us whose images get caught in the mirror and those who collect our garbage. A highlight of the First NYC Art Parade in 1983, The Social Mirror is a permanent, mobile public-art work that continues to be used by the Department of Sanitation for parades and other special events.
Photographs, videos, and text tracing the arc of Ukeles career will line the corridor between the booths wall and the mirrored truck, including The Manifesto for Maintenance Art (1969); documentation of domestic art actions and early performances in art institutions in the 70s; the ground-breaking Touch Sanitation city-wide performance with 8,500 Sanitation workers from 1977 to 1980; Unburning Freedom Hall at L.A. MOCA in 1997; and her work on the transformation of closed landfills, including Danehy Park in Cambridge, MA. As the Percent for Art Artist of Fresh Kills, the largest landfill on earth, her proposals to renew peoples connections to the site and make the power of its transformation visible have been published in the NYC Fresh Kills Park Draft Master Plan. A PBS video and a compilation video of The Social Mirror, the Ballet Mechanique, choreographed for six sanitation mechanical sweepers, and Ceremonial Sweep capture th e spirit of these decades of work.
Mierle Ukeles 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. Forthcoming group exhibitions include WACK! Art & the Feminist Revolution at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates, and Claiming Space: The American Feminist Originators at American University, Washington D.C.