May 31, 2009

Mildred's Lane

Mildred's Lane is a 96-acre compound in the upper Delaware River Valley region of Pennsylvania near New York City. I have not been there but am inspired deeply by the website for this project that is a historical archive, an art school, and a camp where artists can live, make, and research differently.

The place is named for Mildred Steffens, who was born here in 1902 and later farmed the land with her husband and family. When they died the land and house remained as ghosts until the property was discovered by J. Morgan Puett, Mark Dion, Nils Norman and Renee Green in 1998. Mildred's Lane is now a museum and a Historical Society, devoted to archiving this woman's extraordinary life. It is also a site for innovated cultural production and collaboration.

Mildred Lane's website describes their endeavors as a
"revolutionary rigorous rethinking (the 3 Rs) of the contemporary art complex." It is a place to "collectively create new modes of being in the world -- this idea incorporates questions of our relation to the environment, systems of labor, forms of dwelling, all of which compose an ethics of comportment – and are embodied in workstyles. As a participant at Mildred’s Lane these issues will be negotiated daily through the rethinking of one’s involvements with food,shopping, making, styling, gaming, sleeping, reading, thinking and doing. This is a program and a place where a work-live-research environment is developed to foster a rigorous engagement with every aspect of life."

Many artists have contributed works to The Mildred's Lane Historical Society and Museum including a set of hand-made canoes by Bob Braine, works by Jorge Colombo, Brian Conley, Gregory Crewdsen, Mark Dion, Moyra Davey, Sean Foley, Hope Ginsburg, Jeffrey Jenkins, Iain Kerr, Julian Laverdiere, Matt Mullican, Nils Norman, Michael Oatman, J. Morgan Puett, Rebecca Purcell, William Purcell, Alexis Rockman, Jason Simon, Allison Smith, Spurse, Jeffrey Valance, Amy Yoes and many others.

J. Morgan Puett will be in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts this coming fall and collaborating with various institutions around the Bay Area. Keep an eye out for her and her work!

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