Go See – New York: The Broken Kilometer, 1979 Walter de Maria at Dia through June 13

November 22nd, 2009

The Broken Kilometer, Walter De Maria Dia Art Foundation
Walter De Maria: The Broken Kilometer via Dia Art Foundation

On long term display in Soho since 1979 under the Dia Foundation, The Broken Kilometer (1979) consists of “500 highly polished, round, solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimeters (two inches) in diameter.” The rods are placed in five parallel rows, with 100 rods making up each column. This monumental sculpture weighs 18 3/4 tons and would measure 3,280 feet, if all 500 rods were laid end-to-end. The rods’ placement increases by 5mm, with the first two rods placed a mere 80mm apart and the final two rods positioned 580 mm apart. The work is placed in a spacious room illuminated by metal halide stadium lights. Altogether, the piece is approximately 45 feet wide and 125 feet long. De Maria completed The Broken Kilometer in 1979, and it has been on long-term view to the public ever since.

Commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation, The Broken Kilometer serves as a companion piece to a work that De Maria completed in 1977, Vertical Earth Kilometer. Located in Kassel, Germany, Vertical Earth Kilometer consists of a brass rod inserted 1,000 meters into the earth and is a permanently installed earth sculpture.

the broken-kilometer - walter-de-maria- - Soho  - Dia
The Broken Kilometer via C4 Gallery


Walter De Maria, “The Broken Kilometer” (1979). Via The Politics of the Object.

Walter de Maria was born on October 1, 1935 in Albany, California.  From 1953 to 1959, De Maria studied history and art at the University of California, Berkeley and moved to New York City in 1960. His early works were influenced heavily by the Dada Movement, which inspired him to work with materials like stainless steel and aluminum. Later on, he would produce sculptures and installations more characteristic of Minimalism.

Dia Art – The Broken Kilometer [Dia]