The Broken Kilometer

By Domenico Di Maio

Week 51

A room composed of five parallel rows, made up of 100 highly polished, round, solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimetres in diameter.
It may sound like a joke, but this is the art installation of Walter De Maria, situated in Soho, in the heart of Manhattan.
The Broken Kilometer (1979) is housed in a Corinthian columned edifice that is noticeably different to its fashionable urban surroundings and the designer neighbourhood in which it is located. The moment you enter the building, one is filled with a sense of alienation as a result of the material and visual composition of the artwork, which is laid out in a long, vacuous room.

The Broken Kilometer is a minimalist long-term installation commissioned by Die Art Foundation in 1979, a companion to De Maria’s 1977 Vertical Earth Kilometer, which resides in Kassel, Germany.
It’s an introspective game, the projection of a Manhattan street that has been stripped of everything: the sounds, the lights, noise and confusion.
It takes the visitor on a conceptual journey asking him or her to ponder the raw space that is laid out before them.
An installation that is worth visiting, a must see in the heart of Manhattan.