Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Harper Montgomery

Second Advisor

Cynthia Hahn

Academic Program Adviser

Nebahat Avcioglu


This thesis argues that Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s work teaches us something new about what monument-making can be when it is socially engaged. The durational process and motivating desire to elicit gratitude for the DSNY labor force of Ukeles’s residency in the Sanitation Department raises pressing questions about the conventional nature of how monuments are typically conceived and executed and to whom these works are directed. Analysis of her three-part performance Sanitation Celebrations: Grand Finale of New York City’s First Art Parade, just one engagement within her long-term performative monument, explicates the intricacies of Ukeles’s process-based performative practice in terms of site, participation, and ongoing permanence.



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