Look familiar? If you’re in NYC, you may have seen this artwork in the subways, …

Look familiar? If you’re in NYC, you may have seen this artwork in the subways, Times Square, or on the facade of the Queens Museum facing Grand Central Parkway.

Fun fact: The artist is a Barnard alumna, class of 1961! Launched on September 8, 2020, Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ public art installation thanking service workers has greeted the city day and night, serving as an important reminder to thank those who are putting their lives at risk every day to keep our city safe.

This artwork, created during the pandemic, was inspired by Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ 11 month performance work in another crisis, NYC’s dreadful fiscal crisis of the 1970s when the city almost went bankrupt, called “Touch Sanitation” (1979-1980) in which she shook hands with all 8,500 employees of the New York Sanitation Department and said to each, “Thank you for keeping NYC alive!”

“I can’t shake any service worker’s hand now, but I sure can keep trying to say—through this artwork—Thank You!” notes Laderman Ukeles.

📸Photo Credit: 1/3: Marc Hermann; 2/3: Ian Douglas; 3/3: Hai Zhang
by barnardcollege