Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Social Mirror is a reminder to be passionate.

The Social Mirror by Mierle Laderman Ukeles
New York City garbage truck with hand-tempered glass mirror and strips of mirrored acrylic
New York, USA, 1983, Ronald Feldman Gallery

Okay so I noticed on my posts that I have had The Social Mirror post as a draft for months. Why? I have no clue, but I definitely have previously started this post a ton of times and just never thought it was good enough to publish. Another reason could be because Mierle Laderman Ukeles is really freaking hard to find any information on and I usually research any artist I am going to feature beforehand. All I can tell you is that she is an artist that often deals with feminist topics and anything that has to do with maintenance but, what the heck does that even mean?

So why do I love The Social Mirror if I don't know crap about the artist? Well, for starters the way she created the message of the piece is pretty darn brilliant. To state the obvious, the picture above shows a regular garbage truck however on one side of the truck there is a mirror and the mirror is reflecting dozens of people. Okay, so what? WELL the brilliant factor here is in the title The Social Mirror. Ukeles is simply showing how we the people of the world are creating a ton of crap and garbage and we should be blamed for the effects of this crap and garbage. You could even go as far as saying that she believes we are a wasteful, un-resourceful, and lazy people for not taking some responsibility.

I like The Social Mirror for other reasons too. I suppose the main reason isn't because it speaks to my inner love for our environment (which to be honest I could be greener) but, it speaks to my need for passion in my life. Mierle Laderman Ukeles is extremely passionate about sanitation, so much so that she created The Social Mirror and bases most of her artwork on the topic. She has found something in life that sparks her and ignites her to do something.

I am always desperate to find this in my life. Besides art, I can't think of one hobby or one cause that I have been obsessed with for over a year. The Social Mirror encourages me to find something that consistently excites me and motivates me to do something.

Thus, The Social Mirror is a reminder to be passionate.


  1. Thanks for posting, however I don't think Ukeles point is to call us lazy. Historically garbage men are looked down upon for their profession- they do work that remains invisible when done well, and looked down on when noticed. The mirror reflects that all the viewers together contribute to the garbage that gets hauled away. We are the creators of the garbage, and the sanitation worker is not lower. Also, it identifies each and every one of us as creators of waste.

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