Sunday, January 23, 2011
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Mierle Laderman Ukeles is someone who I think isn't recognized nearly enough for the revolutionary nature of her thinking and practice. Her Manifesto for Maintenance Art is a principled challenge to the traditional romantic (and traditionally male) notion of the artist as creator of something new. Her determination to assert the creative validity and necessity of the regular, repetitive acts of all those who keep things from falling apart, breaking down, or overflowing is an important contribution to the expansion of what an artist's role in the world can be. I think it's particularly compelling that she has found a way to extend the creative potential of her thinking, beyond the earlier activist performances, through a fruitful 40 year long collaboration with the NY Department of Sanitation as their first and continuing Artist in Residence. A recent interview from Art in America captures a bit of her formidable intelligence and sharp wit.