Mierle Laderman Ukeles, born in 1939 in Denver, Colorado, is “madly in love” with the public domain and public culture and, as a result, nearly all of her work takes place in the public sphere. In 1969, she wrote the Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969! that is still exhibited and taught today. Since 1977, when she became the official, unsalaried artist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation—a position she still holds—Ukeles has created art that deals with the endless maintenance and service work that “keeps the city alive,” urban waste flows, recycling, ecology, urban sustainability and our power to transform degraded land and water into healthy public places. Since the late 1980s, much of Ukeles’ work has been created through “I-I- I: Infrastructure Interface Inc,” her conceptual organization, focused on transforming closed landfills into urban parks. This started with her Percent for Art commission for Fresh Kills in Staten Island, New York, once the largest municipal landfill in the world; Danehy Park in Cambridge; and an Evapotranspiration for Hiriyaan installation at the Tel Aviv Museum proposed for Israel’s largest landfill.
The Visiting Artists Lecture Series is sponsored by the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) at Parsons The New School for Design. The lecture series, organized by Coco Fusco, director of intermedia initiatives at AMT, invites renowned artists from across the globe to give free public presentations each Wednesday.