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MAINTENANCE ART WORKS ←→ MIERLE LADERMAN UKELES

Project Series with the NYC Department of Sanitation
c/o Resource Recovery, Rm 830
51 Chambers St.
NYC, NY 10007

[[image]] :
566 - 0276
Or 566 - 0922

October 19, 1983

[[note]] UK - Marcia Bricker [[/note]]

Dear Lucy:

Hi! Welcome Home!! We missed you. I loved your article in VV about Australia. You cram so many ideas into one article it made my hair stand on end. DURATIONAL PROJECTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Work art about work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm sniffing something. Perhpas it's true, maybe not. You, who have put your finger on "FRAGMENTS" working through and with fragments, mostly of time and even of space, as the THE hallmark of women's work / are talking about LONG-TERM DURATIONAL PROJECTS. Perhaps, now, YOU are ready to undertake one. I don't mean the 80 thousand energy parcels that you ignite regularly that end up with lives of their own, issues, helping more people than anyone in the entire art world ever did and that's the truth. That's your everyday reality, necessity, there's a Yiddush word "peckel" [one's bundle that one shleps around of necessity--fate?] Besides that, I mean a HUGE LUCY WORK? A FILM? A BOOK? Maybe layers from within you are ready--I'm thinkingof that lecture with slides you gave of your OWN writing at AIR Gallery last year. Just a thought. If so, God give you strength to do it.

Did NOT use your name as a reference for Guggenheim, which I had the nerve to apply for, I'll do ANYTHING right now. Couldn't stand to ask you to clutter up your life for that. However, I'm sending you some of my writing for that institution, because I think that's what I'm talking about, and would like if possible: 1 some feed b a c k from you, if that's CLEAR.2 Also, do you know any Labor funding bodies I could approach, I want this to address ISSUE of WORK, esp. service work / CULTURE. 3: I would like to publish some of this thinking in advance of thew TOUCH SANITATION SHOW, so people know where I'm coming from, that's its a set of ideas from a pretty good head, not some ditsy dame "exploiting" workers for her own gain. [HA!] [You know Rudolph Baranik's remarks in London about my piece exploiting workers--besides showing from the details of his remarks that he didn't even bother to look or read or listen to the piece right downstaires fercrissakes!, still rankles. I'm slow. I just realized 2 yrs later what i should have said very loud and clear that night, in front of all those "friends": Rudolph, I should have said: If I exploited anyone, it was my own self and my own children and my own family. Period. And that's the truth. I left out the personal "overlay" in that whole piece because I was generalizing for all maintenance workers--esp. in "femalized" work. That's my only art criticism of the performance piece formally / that it left out my own story: how i did it and walked out the door day after day and night after night and saw my babies only sleeping. etc. etc. for NO money. that's the weak link in the art work itself: an artist receiving no pay doing a heart-rending performance about workers (who get paid). Which i never discussed. And maybe this is true. And here I am 6 years into this madness, spending most of my fucking time [lit]. trying to raise $$$$$$, not making art for one vision. ?????????????? Ah, but such a VISION.

-can you turn the page?

Transcription Notes:
. image: telephone symbol

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