Trailblazing feminist artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles (far right) was up here from New York last week to plan projects with the Cambridge Arts Council (one of my day jobs)–and I was so honored to meet her.
Her landmark early projects were at the intersection of motherhood and art and so-called “women’s work.” In 1973, she gave performances at Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum in which she washed the museum’s floor and its grand entrance stairs. She called it “Maintenance Art.” In projects like her subsequent longtime residency with the trash collectors at New York’s Department of Sanitation, she has continued to bring attention and honor to the folks in our society who clean up after others.
In Cambridge, plans are being made with with Cambridge Art’s conservation team to restore of her “Galaxy Dance Floor” (pictured) at Danehy Park, a large park created atop a capped garbage dump. And she’s discussing ideas for a new public artwork that would complete her “Turnaround Surround for Danehy Park” project, which she began in 1989.
(Photo copyright Greg Cook.)