In Brief

Guggenheim Seeks Volunteer Readers for On Kawara Retrospective

On Kawara's 'One Million Years' being performed at the Stedelijk Museum (photo by Pedro Botton/Flickr)
On Kawara’s ‘One Million Years’ being performed at the Stedelijk Museum (photo by Pedro Botton/Flickr)

If you’ve ever wanted to sit at a table and read dates out loud for an hour — or rather, if you’ve ever wanted to be part of an On Kawara artwork — you’re about to get your chance. The Guggenheim is looking for volunteer readers as part of its upcoming On Kawara retrospective, which opens in February.

Kawara, who died this past June, is known for his relentlessly conceptual work, most famously his Today series, which involved the artist painting stark canvases that feature only the dates on which they were made. The Guggenheim show, On Kawara—Silence, will include a live reading of One Million Years, which the David Zwirner website describes as:

His epic project … a monumental series of twenty-four works comprising One Million Years [Past], which was dedicated to “all those who have lived and died,” and One Million Years [Future], addressed to “the last one.” The Past volumes, noting each year over an entire millennium from 998,031 BC, were started in 1970 and took two years to complete, while the Future years, begun in 1980, were written over the span of eighteen years and finish at 1,001,997 AD. Together the volumes make up 2,000,000 years.

The work also exists as a performance in which two people, a man and a woman, sit and alternate reading dates from Past and Future. The first public reading of One Million Years took place in 1993 at the Dia Center for the Arts; its longest reading happened in 2002, over the course of Documenta 11’s full 100 days.

At the Guggenheim, volunteers will read the text aloud in the museum’s rotunda every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, 11am–5pm, for the run of the show (Feb. 6–May 3). Participants will receive free admission to the exhibition on the day of their reading. If you’re interested, email [email protected]guggenheim.org with “Volunteer” in the subject line. And if you want to know what you’re in for, this should give you a taste.

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