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.
Visitors are asked to refrain from entering if, over the last ten days, they have had symptoms of or tested positive with COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Be considerate of fellow visitors and staff
- Masks are strongly encouraged for all visitors over the age of two
- No food or beverages allowed
- Large bags of any kind are not permitted inside the galleries. Back check is available.
- Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Strollers are permitted in the galleries.
- Keep a safe distance and do not touch the art work
- Visitors should practice good hygiene by coughing or sneezing into their elbows; tissues should be disposed of immediately; please wash hands for at least twenty seconds
Further Safety Measures at Dia Chelsea
- Hand sanitizer is available at various locations in and around the galleries
- A no-touch or low-touch visitor experience is provided; artist information is available online via QR codes
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By visiting Dia’s sites, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Walter De Maria
Walter De Maria was born in Albany, California, in 1935. He died in Los Angeles in 2013.
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.