Posts Tagged ‘Chasing Sanitation’

Hurricane Sandy

Monday, October 29, 2012

The entire East Coast of the United States seems to have shut down—public transport, schools, Broadway theaters, banks, the stock exchange—but trash collection is on for Monday in New York City. Pretty darn impressive. Feels like today is a good day to revisit Chasing Sanitation, an artistic tribute to New York’s Strongest in the form of portraits and collected stories.

Touch Sanitation

And, while we’re at it, it’s a good day to revisit the work of Mierle Landerman Ukeles, the Department of Sanitation’s artist in residence. Among other landmark trash-related installations, Ukeles is known for a performance piece she put on in 1984 called Touch Sanitation. Over 11 months,  she shook the hand of every sanitation worker in the city and said “Thank you for keeping New York City alive.” Here’s a classic Talk of the Town on her work, via Feldman Gallery.

Stay safe, trashies.

New York’s Strongest

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ugh, trashies, forgive my sporadic posting these days. The new day job is all consuming, but that’s no excuse, especially since SO MUCH has been going on in the world of garbage. This weekend was totally saturated with new trash finds, mostly thanks to the fantastic event artist Paul Lloyd Sargent organized on the converted RV known as MLAB. We held a little garposium featuring Robin Nagle, who shared the back story on how exactly one becomes anthropologist in residence for the Department of Sanitation, yours truly who shared the origin myth of and Lisa Dowda of Chasing Sanitation. To round out the day, Paul closed with an excellent overview of evolution of trash art (which I wont go into here in fear of spoiling the future guest post I hope to wrangle on the topic).

First off, let me tell you about Chasing Sanitation, a website that Lisa and her coconspirator Liz Ligon hope to make into a book. As the title suggests, they spend a good deal of time chasing sanmen and women and documenting their hopes, dreams and daily lives. The result is both beautiful and compelling.


Check out their kickstarter site to donate to the project and get updates on the book-in-progress’ journey to completion and publication. I know my coffee table feels empty without it. In the meantime, check out to peruse photos and life stories. And if salt of the earth stories aren’t compelling enough for you, check out this recent story on the creative women behind the site. To raise money and awareness for their cause, Lisa and Liz are awarding a date with one of “New York’s Strongest” for anyone who donates more than $1500. That’s right.

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