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Seven Work Ballets | Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Kari Conte, Amanda Crabtree, Krist Gruijthuijsen | An Art Book Series Event

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FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m.

On the occasion of the launch of the monograph Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Seven Work Ballets, artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles and editor Kari Conte are joined by Amanda Crabtree and Krist Gruijthuijsen for a reading and discussion. 

 Book cover, Ukeles conducting Broom Dance, Part II of Vuilniswagendans, Garbage Truck Dance, Rotterdam, 1985
 Book cover, Ukeles conducting Broom Dance, Part II of Vuilniswagendans,
Garbage Truck Dance, Rotterdam, 1985

Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969! Proposal for an Exhibition “CARE” (1969) was a major intervention in feminist performance practices and public art. The proposal argued for an intimate relationship between creative production in the public sphere and domestic labor—a relationship whose intricacies Ukeles has been unraveling ever since. In 1977, she became the official unsalaried Artist-in-Residence for the New York City Department of Sanitation, a position she still holds that enables her to introduce radical public art into an urban municipal infrastructure. 

Through archival research, this monographic publication focuses on Ukeles’s work ballets—a series of seven grand-scale collaborative performances involving workers, trucks, barges, and hundreds of tons of recyclables and steel—which took place between 1983 and 2012 in Givors, New York, Pittsburgh, Rotterdam and Tokamachi. Over the past four decades, Ukeles has pioneered how we perceive and ultimately engage in maintenance activities. The work ballets derive from her engagement in civic operations in order to reveal how they work though monumental coordination and cooperation as well as in creative collaboration with many workers.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Seven Work Ballets is the first monograph on Ukeles’s seminal practice, and is as much an artist’s book as an art-historical publication. Published by Sternberg Press in December 2015, Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Seven Work Ballets is edited and features an essay by Kari Conte, an introduction by Krist Gruijthuijsen, substantial writing about the work ballets by Mierle Laderman Ukeles and a conversation between Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Tom Finkelpearl and Shannon Jackson.

 Follow in Your Footsteps, 1977–80. Citywide performance with 8,500 New York City sanitation workers.
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation: Follow in Your Footsteps, 1977–80.
Citywide performance with 8,500 New York City sanitation workers.

The book is co-published by Kunstverein Publishing, Grazer Kunstverein, and Sternberg Press in collaboration with Arnolfini, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Marabouparken konsthall, Stockholm and is designed by Marc Hollenstein. 

Copies of Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Seven Work Ballets are available for purchase and signing at the end of the event.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles works in a variety of mediums, creating installations, performances, permanent public art, and media works. She has received honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maine College of Art. She received a BA in international relations and history from Barnard College in 1961, and an MA in interrelated arts from New York University in 1974. Ukeles has exhibited internationally, including at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (1973, 1998); Whitney Museum, New York (1976, 1978, 1985); MoMA PS1, New York (1988, 2008, 2013); Queens Museum, New York (1992, 1995, 2005, 2013, 2014, 2016); Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (1995 1997, 2007, 2012); Tel Aviv Museum (1999); Armory Art Show, New York (2007); Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates (2007); Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (2005, 2008); Smack Mellon, Brooklyn (2010); Wellcome Trust, London (2011); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2012, 2013); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012); and the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013). Her recent teaching includes positions as senior critic in sculpture at Yale University and lecturer at Bard College, UCLA and Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York City.

 The Grand Finale of the First New York City Art Parade, 1983
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Ballet Mécanique for Six Mechanical Sweepers, Movement II of Sanitation Celebrations: The Grand Finale of the First New York City Art Parade, 1983

Kari Conte is a New York-based curator and writer. Since 2010, she has been the Director of Programs and Exhibitions at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) where she leads residencies, exhibitions and public programs. She has curated numerous exhibitions, site-specific commissions and performances most recently Aqueous Earth with artists Allora & Calzadilla, Lara Almarcegui, Brandon Ballengée, Dylan Gauthier, Brooke Singer and Pinar Yoldas (2015) and the upcoming solo exhibition Eva Kot’átková: Error (2016). Prior to ISCP, she worked at Whitechapel Gallery and lived in London.

Amanda Crabtree co-founded artconnexion with Bruno Dupont and joined the organisation full-time in 2001, having worked at the British Council, Paris, Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains, Le Magasin, CNAC, Grenoble and the Centre d'art contemporain of Geneva. She currently curates exhibitions, residencies and New Patrons projects at artconnexion. She also heads a new Master's programme 'Art, Society and Public' at the University of Lille with a particular focus on the production of contemporary art works and public realm projects.
 
Krist Gruijthuijsen is a curator, artistic director of the Grazer Kunstverein in Graz, and course director of the MA Fine Arts Department at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. He is the curator of Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s exhibition Maintenance Art Works 1969–1980, which traveled to the Grazer Kunstverein; Arnolfini, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Marabouparken/Konsthall C in Stockholm.

 Rotaries Shooters’ Dance, Movement II of Snow Workers’ Ballet, Tokamachi, Japan, 2012
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Dance of the Rotaries: Rotaries Shooters’ Dance,
Movement II of Snow Workers’ Ballet, Tokamachi, Japan, 2012

In its eighth year the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, gallerists, historians and writers.

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