Walter de Maria in New York City

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brian Lehrer visits Walter de Maria's "Broken Kilometer" in SoHo

Bill Dilworth, caretaker of the DIA Art Foundation's New York Earth Room by the artist Walter de Maria, talks about taking care of the Earth Room for 19 years, while Patti Dilworth, caretaker of the DIA Art Foundation's Broken Kilometer project of Walter de Maria, discusses overseeing the Broken Kilometer.


Bill Dilworth and Patti Dilworth

Comments [10]

Michael Kellough from Staten Island

What a blast to hear Bill and Patti on the radio talking about one of the best kept secrets of the Soho era art world.

It is the 30th anniversary for the New York Earth Room but the 30th for the Broken Kilometer is next Spring. It might be the 31st for the E.R. since it was originally installed in 1977 but there was a significant delay before it was re-opened as a permanent exhibit.

Both the Earth Room and the Broken Kilometer were originally intended as temporary exhibits lasting just three months, which at the time was three times longer than usual, but both installations were so amazing it was quickly decided to make them "permanent".

There were two previous temporary Earth Room installations in West Germany.

The Broken Kilometer was preceded by the Vertical Earth Kilometer, also a permanent exhibit in Kassel, Germany. De Maria's original plan for the finish of the Broken Kilometer was to let it age naturally as was the plan for his early work "Silver Portrait of Dorian Gray". It didn't take long for him to change his mind and it is re-polished as needed, a significant endeavor.

Dec. 19 2008 12:30 PM
mgduke from hel's kitchen

as mencken said, no one goes broke underestimating the intelligence of the public.

these moronic installations indulge the pretentious while preying on people too dimwitted to experience either art or nature

for goodness' sake, read art as experience, if necessary, and enrich every day of your life with truly great art that you see/create for yourself

Dec. 19 2008 12:03 PM
Sophie Tuleburg from Manhattan

Cannot tell you how important these spaces are to artists -- losing DIA in Chelsea was terrible, so glad the Broken Kilometer and the Earth Room are still here.

Dec. 19 2008 11:56 AM
Mario from Washington Heights

I'm someone whose has struggled for decent housing since day one in New York City. I've had to move literally dozens of times, from one cramped, falling-apart room-share to another, in every corner of the city (Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn), and 11 years after arriving here (and finally making a professional income) I'm still in this situation.

My first reaction on seeing the dirt room (about 10 years ago now) was to be offended at such a large space being used for dirt. I do get that it's art, and after a few moments I thought it was nice to see a space in the middle of the city devoted to having a piece of earth --- though elevated. So, I 'get it' in some sense.

However, I wonder if the size of the real estate devoted to this installation was designed to offend?

Dec. 19 2008 11:56 AM
Anna from Manhattan

I visited both the Broken Kilometer and Earth Room with my 7th grade art class in 1996, it contributed to changing my definition of art.

Dec. 19 2008 11:56 AM
Franci from Roosevelt Island

Any problems with bugs, ie, roaches?

Dec. 19 2008 11:55 AM
Janny from jersey city

i remember seeing it around 1980, when i first came to NYC for school from the midwest. my initial thought is, what the hell - ?, this is 'art' - ? but now, many enlightened and sophisticated years later, i appreciate the beauty.

Dec. 19 2008 11:52 AM
Laura from Cobble Hill

On days when I've been feeling down and out, there is something great about being able to go to these two spaces, which seem to hold a moment of time. There is something comforting in a place that doesn't change in such a rapidly changing city.

Dec. 19 2008 11:51 AM
brooklyn woman from brooklyn

It is important to realize that although Dia maintains its commitment to the two works of Walter De Maria's works, including the two in Lower Manhattan, the Earth Room and the Broken Kilometer, these spaces represent a part of Dia's numerous real-estate holdings in SoHo, in Tribeca, and in Chelsea.
There is more to the story than simply the love of, and dedication to, art.
As to the art itself, and its relation to the very question of real estate, that is another story.

Dec. 19 2008 11:51 AM
Jane from brooklyn, ny

Is is the original dirt?

Dec. 19 2008 11:50 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.