To accompany the current exhibition Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art, the Queens Museum presents Artists In/Of The City, a special convening that explores the current wave of new artist residency programs in city agencies taking place throughout the nation.
Beyond Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ almost four decade long artist residency within the NYC Department of Sanitation, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs has recently initiated artist residencies inside three other city agencies and is working on more. Cities around the country, including Boston, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City, and Los Angeles, are experimenting with their own versions of residencies within municipal agencies and departments.
Artists In/Of The City convening provides an open space to share and discuss the aspirations and experiences of artists and their city agency partners involved in these kinds of residencies in NYC and across the country. We’ve also invited those in charge of organizing these residencies to share how they initiated and structured their residencies given their local contexts. We hope that these examples will illuminate the best ways moving forward to harness artists’ unique creative and critical contributions to how urban systems work.
The Artists In/Of The City convening starts with a brief examination by Ukeles of the artworks that inspired the event from the Touch Sanitation Show, 1984. Three works originally conceived for Touch Sanitation Show have been reimagined for the Queens Museum, and we will meet in front of One Year’s Worktime II, 1984/2016, a full year of work shifts in the form of clock faces has been silkscreened over a gradient of colors representing the seasons which is installed on the Museum’s Large Wall in the Main Atrium. We will then assemble around the Peace Table, originally commissioned in 1997 by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for Ukeles’s installation Unburning Freedom Hall. Made of layers of cobalt blue stained glass and plate glass in the shape of a halo, it will be suspended from 50 feet above the central atrium of the Queens Museum.
This setting for the convening, a literal round table, has inspired a format for the convening consisting of three concentric rings of guests. The first ring will be Presenters, artists and city officials with direct experience with residences at municipal agencies whose presentations will act as conversation starters for the convening. The second ring will be Respondents, other artists who have been asked to prepare questions to bring to the table that can deepen the conversation. The third ring will be Participants, other invited artists and the general public interested in the theme that can keep the conversation going with their own questions and comments during the convening.
Moderated by Queens Museum Director Laura Raicovich.
Confirmed guests for the convening include:
Image: Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance, 1979-1980. Citywide performance with 8,500 Sanitation workers across all 59 New York City Sanitation districts. Photo by Marica Bricker. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
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