The Labor Portraits of Mildred’s Lane

A really fun aspect of my semester is getting to do my Arts Administration internship in the The Maslow Study Gallery for Contemporary Art on campus. I am learning a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of a gallery as well as what I personally gravitate towards within collections management and curatorial work! We’ve just finished taking down the exhibition that was up and preparing the space for the next one. An outside artist named J. Morgan Puett is coming to co-curate this exhibit with the Maslow’s curator to pair pieces from her own collection with works we have in the Maslow Collection. I got to do some research on this artist and her work, to not only become familiar with her but also to write up a mock press release!

In the assignment, I had to come up with a title for the exhibit, explain Puett’s work as an artist, her project at Mildred’s Lane, the series that she is bringing to campus, and how the Maslow’s collection selected works will tie in. I got to bring in my first draft to my internship and get feedback from my peers as well as Ryan Ward, the curator of the collection. I immediately was blown away by Puett’s art and continue to be inspired by it as I get to work more closely with it. I highly recommend looking more at her work! It’s truly inspiring. Though this project of mine (and the exhibition in general) is still very much in the process of being completed, I wanted to share it with you all. 🙂


The Labor Portraits of Mildred’s Lane and The Maslow Collection

“Being is the practice. And that, my friend, is social. It’s political.” 

-J. Morgan Puett

For J. Morgan Puett, the practice of being is artistic, too.  An artist trained in painting, sculpture, and experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Puett has been devoted to the practice of being within many realms of art and community. Her work in the international fashion world precluded the opening of an artist project called Mildred’s Lane. Located in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania, and founded upon the themes of Puett’s art, Mildred’s Lane serves as a work/live environment where artists from all over the world can collaborate on small- and large-scale projects while critically engaging with every aspect of life. The self-proclaimed “Ambassador of Entanglement”, Puett, believes that for an artist making art is synonymous with living. Puett takes care to teach the careful weaving of one’s lifestyle within one’s art, and vice versa. 

The Labor Portraits of Mildred’s Lane embody just this. This series is a large-scale transhistorical project that photographically documents the various roles held at Mildred’s Lane. With titles such as Land Steward, Ministry of Comfort, and Digestion Choreographer, these portraits display the social and political engagement that embodies systems of labor. Fellows participated in the staging and documentation of these portraits as well as the labor that they represent at Mildred’s Lane. Thirteen of the nineteen portraits in this series are completed and are on display at The Maslow Gallery alongside works from The Maslow Collection that complement each portrait. Works from the Maslow Collection from artists such as Peter Halley, Hilla and Bernd Becher, and Ed Ruscha embody themes of labor, domesticity, and collaborative art-making. These themes are woven together in this co-curated exhibition by J. Morgan Puett and Ryan Ward, Curator of The Maslow Gallery. 

Here are some of the portraits from the series! Be sure to check them out (in person) in a few weeks at The Maslow Gallery!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.