This Artist Shook the Hand of Every NYC Sanitation Worker, Over 8,500!

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance
Photo: Queens Museum

From July 24, 1979 through June 26, 1980, local artist and photographer Mierle Laderman Ukeles sought out each of the 8500+ employees of the New York City Department of Sanitation. She shook each of their hands, and got a photograph of it in the process.

A new exhibition at the Queens Museum titled Maintenance Art selects over 300 of the best photos from the series, and displays them alongside interviews with four Sanitation Commissioners who worked with the artist.

Together, important perspectives on an artist who has transformed our notions of public art and the potential for the artist in the city.

Check out Maintenance Art at the Queens Museum until February 19th, 2017.

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