Public Art: Feminism, Labor, Environment

We will focus on three artists who engage in some combination of issues around feminism, labor, race and the environment.  Mierle Ukeles took the realization that her domestic labor, as a mother, could be a model for creating works of art.  She turned her attention to under-valued laborers, such as janitors and garbage collectors, and created public art that shows appreciation and respect for those who clean up the world around us.  She is now Artist in Residence at the NYC Department of Sanitation.  We will also look at the work of Rick Lowe, who re-furbishes shot-gun houses for low-income, single, African-American mothers. His recent focus in post-Katrina New Orleans demonstrates the connection between environmental factors leading to the hurricane and its effects on the African-American community.  So too, artist Mel Chin works in New Orleans. His focus is to mediate lead-poisoning in African-American communities; his dedication to collaborating with scientists to reduce heavy metals in communities demonstrates a strong connection between the environment and public art.