Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Light trick

A friend took me to two famous New York places I had not been to this arvo: Walter de Maria's "Earth Room" (1977) and "Broken Kilometer" (1979). They each fill a warehouse floor of a (different) building in SoHo and are maintained by the Dia Art Foundation. I'd heard of the first one (from a student presentation in "Religious Geography of New York" several years ago), but had not imagined it so weighty. Yet it was the second which captured my imagination. Not because its 500 solid brass rods "would measure to 3,280 feet if all the elements were laid end to end" (as the attendant description noted, breaking the kilometer up even more than the artist did). A little bit because the spaces between the bars widen by precise increments from 80 to 570mm. But mainly because it hit me that all the golden glow we were seeing in the far reaches of the room - which put me in mind of a Western sunset - was being reflected back from the illumination over our heads.

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