Walter De Maria, The Broken Kilometer

393 West Broadway, New York City

Five vertical columns of sections of brass rods on a wood floor.

Walter De Maria, The Broken Kilometer, 1979. © The Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: Jon Abbott



The Broken Kilometer (1979), located at 393 West Broadway in New York City, is composed of 500 highly polished, round, solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimeters (two inches) in diameter. The 500 rods are placed in five parallel rows of 100 rods each. The sculpture weighs 18 3/4 tons and would measure 3,280 feet if all the elements were laid end-to-end. Each rod is placed such that the spaces between the rods increase by 5mm with each consecutive space, from front to back; the first two rods of each row are placed 80mm apart, the last two rods are placed 570 mm apart. Metal halide stadium lights illuminate the work which is 45 feet wide and 125 feet long.

This work is the companion piece to De Maria's 1977 Vertical Earth Kilometer at Kassel, Germany. In that permanently installed earth sculpture, a brass rod of the same diameter, total weight and total length has been inserted 1,000 meters into the ground.

The Broken Kilometer has been on long-term view to the public since 1979. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.


Wednesday–Sunday, 12–6 pm 

Closed 3–3:30 pm daily 

Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day 
Admission is free  

Photography is not permitted.

The Broken Kilometer has additional health and safety protocols in place due to COVID-19. For more information please read our visitor guidelines.


Art: The Broken Kilometer, 1979

Visitor Information

Visiting The Broken Kilometer
Please form a queue for admission; a maximum of four visitors permitted in the building at any one time.

In compliance with the New York City mandate, to enter Dia Chelsea all visitors 12 and older are now required to show proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  Those 18 or older are also required to show a valid I.D. Your safety, and that of our team, continue to be our top priority, so at this time we also still require staff and visitors to wear masks. 

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All out-of-state visitors must follow all applicable health and safety protocols required by the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory, which may include quarantine.

Visitors are asked to refrain from entering if, over the last fourteen days, they have had symptoms of or tested positive with COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19

Visitor Guidelines

  • Be considerate of fellow visitors and staff
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  • Social distancing is required; social-distancing markers are in place at the visitor entrance
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In the interest of your personal safety and the community’s health, Dia requires that all visitors observe the precautions listed above. We reserve the right to request that visitors who are not following these guidelines leave the premises.

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Walter De Maria

Walter De Maria was born in Albany, California, in 1935. He died in Los Angeles in 2013.

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<p>Photo: Don Stahl</p>

Photo: Don Stahl

Artists on Walter De Maria

Artists on Walter De Maria is the second installment in a series culled from Dia Art Foundation’s Artists on Artists lectures, focused on the work of artist Walter De Maria. It features contributions from Richard Aldrich, Jeanne Dunning, Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolás Goldberg, and Terry Winters.

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