Mierle Laderman Ukeles

When Mierle Laderman Ukeles looks at garbage, she sees the possibility for art. She created her first projects about garbage in the late 1960s. Since 1978, Ukeles has been artist-in-residence for the New York City Department of Sanitation. One of her bigger projects involved the Fresh Kills Landfill near New York City.

"The design of garbage should become the great public design of our age," says Ukeles. "I am talking about the whole picture: recycling facilities, transfer stations, trucks, landfills, receptacles, water treatment plants, rivers. They will be the giant clocks and thermometers of our age that tell the time and the health of the air, the earth, and the water. They will be utterly ambitious -- our public cathedrals. For if we are to survive, they will be our symbols for survival."

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