Mierle Laderman Ukeles Artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles Has a Message for Public Service Workers

WWD Sep 15, 2020

In 1979, artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles shook the hand of every New York Department of Sanitation employee. She visited the city’s 59 DSNY districts over 11 months, shaking hands with 8,500 workers and repeating the same sentiment to each person: “Thank you for keeping NYC alive!” That performance piece, “Touch Sanitation,” celebrated the unseen labor of the city’s maintenance workers, a central subject of her art.

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