How to Join On Kawara’s ‘One Million Years’ at Guggenheim

On Kawara, One Million Years. Courtesy David Zwirner Gallery.

Just months after the death of conceptual art giant On Kawara, the Guggenheim will open “Silence,” the first complete retrospective of his work. Beginning on February 6, the exhibition was put together with the artist’s help and will feature his famous “Today” series of paintings, as well as postcards, telegrams, maps, lists of names, newspaper clippings, calendars, and an inventory of paintings, all of which reflect the artist’s unique and unwavering fascination with cataloging time, place, and the nuances of his daily existence.

It will also give art lovers another chance to participate in One Million Years, the performance art piece that Jerry Saltz called “one of the odder hours I’ve ever spent in a gallery,” after his visit during the work’s run at David Zwirner in 2009.

One Million Years at David Zwirner in 2009. Photo: Cathy Carver/Courtesy of David Zwirner

One Million Years at David Zwirner in 2009.
Photo: Cathy Carver/Courtesy of David Zwirner

Throughout the duration of the exhibition (four months!), pairs of volunteers will be stationed in the museum’s rotunda every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday from at 11 AM to 5 PM. A male and a female will alternate reading dates from the artist’s 20-volume collection, comprised of One Million Years [Past], created in 1969 and containing the years 998,031 B.C. through 1969 A.D., and One Million Years [Future], created in 1981 and containing the years 1996 A.D. to 1,001,995 A.D. Past readings have taken place at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York, at Documenta 11, and in Trafalgar Square in London, as well as in various other cities worldwide.

Each pair will read for one hour, but volunteers are also allowed to sign up for multiple time slots should they discover a newfound love for the monotonous reading of somewhat hard to pronounce numbers. If you would like to volunteer to participate in One Million Years, email [email protected] with “Volunteer” in the subject line.

Silence” will be on display at the Guggenheim from February 6—May 5, 2015. 

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