Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York

Percent for Art

   Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Honor 2000, Exterior Wall Design, 2000


Honor 2000

Completion Date:



Concrete masonry units and etched glass blocks




Engine Company 75 Firehouse


2175 Walton Avenue, Bronx


Richard Dattner & Partners

Sponsor Agency:

New York City Fire Department

Design Agency:

Department of Design and Construction

Mierle Laderman Ukeles's Honor 2000 wall has three components: a ladder truck, two carved glass hands in relief, and the engraved names of all the Bronx firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty in the last century. It expresses the relationship between citizens, especially people of the neighborhood, and firefighters, and serves as a tribute to their heroism. The ladder truck is a realistic life-sized depiction of the Ladder No. 33 truck - except that the ladder of the artwork's truck is always up and its bucket is a beacon always floating near the window. The hands on the wall are modeled from the hands of a father and his three-year-old daughter who were saved by firefighters of this firehouse. Ukeles remarks, "I hope the wall between the inside and the outside of the firehouse becomes transparent, that it is melting a bit because of this artwork."

About the Artist...
Since 1977, artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles has been artist in residence (unsalaried) at the New York City Department of Sanitation, a position that enables her to introduce radical public art as public culture into a system which serves and is owned by the entire population. Since she wrote the "Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969," virtually all Ukeles's work has been public. Recent permanent commissions include Percent for Art Fresh Kills Landfill Project, NYC, the world's largest landfill; Danehy Park, Cambridge; Schuylkill River Park, Philadelphia; Maine College for Art, Portland. Upcoming projects are for Creative Time, NYC and Ayalon Park, Israel. Recent temporary exhibitions include installations about Israel's landfill at the Tel Aviv Museum and "Unburning Freedom Hall" at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. A Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of many grants and fellowships from the NEA and NYSCA, she is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC.

Artist Quote...
"So this has been my whole professional life! Public art can create permeable membranes between the inside and outside of systems, spaces, and even the souls of citizens. Public artists need more breathing space to experiment and do R&D. They need to be brought in at the very inception of projects, so they can do their first work as a certain kind of thinker." -- Ukeles, 2001