Mierle Laderman Ukeles Takes Over The Queens Museum

Photograph courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

The performance artist discusses her upcoming exhibition

The following feature appears in the September 2016 issue of NYLON.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles started out as an artist in search of freedom, but after the birth of her daughter in 1968, she felt an unavoidable shift in her life. “Being a mother entails an enormous amount of repetitive tasks. I became a maintenance worker. I felt completely abandoned by my culture because it didn’t have a way to incorporate sustaining work. I had no words, no language to deal with it,” she says.

This realization lead Ukeles to write Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969!, a statement intended to unite her work as a mother and her work as an artist. “I felt like two separate people,” Ukeles says, “and I wanted to be both.” Now, nearly 50 years later, a survey of her work will be shown at the Queens Museum in New York starting September 18

Click through the gallery to read the rest of the feature.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance, 1979-1980. Citywide performance with 8,500 Sanitation workers across all fifty-nine New York City Sanitation districts. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, photo: Robin Holland.

“The critical thing to understand about being a maintenance worker is that you make a decision that something has value and should be sustained, maintained, kept alive,” says Ukeles of the connection between mothers and maintenance workers. “Once you make that decision, you have to do the work that it takes to keep that person, system, or city going.” Western culture has never celebrated maintenance work in this way; as she points out, “it’s done behind the scenes, downstairs, after hours, unseen.”

Because of her interest in both creating work and how our society receives her work, it is unsurprising that this connection has led Ukeles to the Queens Museum. “Thinking about the city, thinking about our culture, enlarging who has a voice in our culture—that’s what the Queens Museum has become famous for,” says Ukeles, who will be the first artist to have a show occupy the entire building.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Inside, July 23, 1973. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.  

Photograph courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

“This exhibition involves looking at works that happened 30, 40 years ago, re-envisioning them for our site today and also re-envisioning the ideas behind them for contemporary issues,” explains curator Larissa Harris. Since Ukeles’s work is heavily performance-based, the exhibition presents some difficulties for Harris and her colleagues. “Our very interesting challenge is to try to understand how this material can take shape in three dimensions, on white walls,” she says. “What you’re going to see in the show is fantastic glimpses of the performances themselves, taken by photographers.”

As Ukeles looks back on the last 50 years, she is particularly grateful for those who believed in her along the way. “I have a great appreciation for the people who took a chance on me and made it possible for me to continue doing my work,” she says. She has led the movement in making strides to improve the treatment and appreciation of the artistic values of maintenance and motherhood, with a core message that remains constant: There is always more work that can be done. 


Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance, 1979-1980. Citywide performance with 8,500 Sanitation workers across all fifty-nine New York City Sanitation districts. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, photo: Marcia Bricker.


Photograph courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video]



Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.