Artists & Artworks
David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974)
The Homeless Vehicle is Wodiczko’s response to
the homeless epidemic in New York City in the 1980s.
Wodiczko worked with a team of homeless citizens and
designers to create vehicles inspired by shopping carts.
Designed and constructed to provide an individual with
basic human needs, each has an insulated sleeping space,
a wash basin, toilet, and storage space. Like other artists
inspired by their compassion, Wodiczko uses his art to
address issues of powerlessness and social justice.
Mierle Laderman Ukeles (b. 1939)
Ceremonial Arch Honoring Service Workers
in the New Service Economy
Mierle Laderman Ukeles creates art inspired by her com-
passion for workers whose services are often overlooked.
As an artist in residence for the New York City Sanita-
tion Department, Ukeles orga-
nized public projects that focus
on social and ecological issues of
In her early work, Mainte-
nance Art Performance Series,
Ukeles created progressive performance pieces such
as Touch Sanitation, in which she shook the hands of
and thanked 8,500 New York City sanitation workers.
Pieces like this encourage people to be more aware of
and appreciate the people we take for granted. For Cer-
emonial Arch Honoring Service Workers in the New
Service Economy, city agencies donated materials, such
as workers’ gloves, which she used to create the works.
Ukeles reconnects art and everyday life with the goals of
promoting change, challenging stereotypes, and inspir-
Actions like creating art,
prompted by compassion can
be constructive and positive.
Krzysztof Wodiczko (b. 1943) Homeless Vehicle
Inspired by his compassion for people who are mar-ginalized and powerless, Krzysztof Wodiczko creates
politically charged artworks in public spaces. He creates
site-specific slide and video projections on architectural
façades and public monuments. For instance, images of
homeless people are projected on park statues. The artist encourages citizens to discuss and debate issues like
homelessness in the city centers where his work exists.
David Alfaro Siqueiros, For the Complete Safety of All Mexicans at Work, detail, 1952–54. Mural.
Hospital de la Raza, Mexico City, D. F., Mexico. Schalkwijk/Art Resource, N Y. © 2010 Siqueiros
David Alfaro/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City.
Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945)
German artist Käthe Kollwitz was
first inspired to create portraits of
the human condition by the hardships of the people she observed in
the poorest section of Berlin where
she lived. Her personal life became
a catalyst for her work when she,
too, experienced tremendous loss
through the death of her son.
Kollwitz’s expressive drawings,
prints, and sculptures embodied
her empathy for people who were
experiencing hardship in daily life.
Because of Kollwitz, we are able to
see, feel, and experience the plight
of others, such as in Brot (Bread),
where we sense the desperation felt
when people, especially mothers and
children, are hungry.