After Trump’s Inauguration, Matthew Barney Installed a Giant Clock Counting Down His Days in Office. Now, It’s Finally Going Dark

The clock has remained a mystery to many New Yorkers over the past four years.

The Trump countdown clock on the facade of Matthew Barney's studio building. Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.
The Trump countdown clock on the facade of Matthew Barney's studio building. Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

For the past four years, New Yorkers may have noticed the giant, red-neon numbers on the side of a building on the Queens waterfront, directly across the river from the United Nations. The digital clock went up in the early months of Donald Trump’s presidency and has been counting down the days and hours until its end.

It currently reads: “1.”

The 25-foot-wide LED clock appeared on the side of the industrial Long Island City building, which houses artist Matthew Barney’s studio, in the summer of 2017. Barney, it turns out, quietly installed the work in Trump’s native borough along with editor and curator Brandon Stosuy, architect Jane Lea, fabricator Jade Archuleta-Gans, and light designer Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn.

The Remains Clock under construction in Barney’s studio.

“It’s a reminder that a lot [of] people can’t wait until it’s over,” Stosuy told DNAinfo shortly after the clock, known as the “Remains Board,” went up. “It’s also a bit like a durational test—a reminder to try to hold on until the end.”

Many onlookers never knew what the glowing numbers signified because the artists intentionally left the meaning obscure.

“All this time I just thought it was some doomsday clock or project,” Queens resident Michael Russinik told the Long Island City Post this past November, just after election day. “I don’t think it’s going fast enough, I look forward to that date.”

“We see it as a civic project, like the national debt clock, and we don’t want it to become about who made it,” Stosuy said in a statement. “We figure what it does is clear enough without us elaborating on it. I think our stance on Trump is clear, too.”

The team that built the clock astutely predicted that Trump’s term might be a tumultuous one, and so programmed it “to jump to ‘0’ days if that time comes sooner than the traditional four-year term,” according to the fabricator’s website.

That didn’t quite happen, of course. But at least it won’t restart back at another 1,460 days, either, and when President-elect Joe Biden takes office tomorrow, the clock will go dark.

A live-streamed performance by the Brooklyn black metal band Liturgy will mark the occasion.

The Remains Clock.

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