Performance 4: Measuring the Universe by Roman Ondák :: June 24 - September 14, 2009 :: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 11 West 53 Street, New York City.
Museumgoers play a central role in the creation of Measuring the Universe (2007) by Slovakian artist Roman Ondák. Over the course of the exhibition, attendants will record the heights of Museum visitors on the gallery walls, along with their first names and the date each measurement is taken. Beginning as an empty white space, the gallery will gradually accumulate the traces of thousands of people, generating a unique wall drawing.
The inclusion of the viewer in the art-making process has a long tradition in the history of performance-based art. By inviting people to actively participate, artists attempt to bridge the divide between art object and spectator, production and reception.
Measuring the Universe transforms the domestic custom of recording a child’s height on doorframes into a public event, referring through its title to humankind’s age-old desire to gauge the scale of the world. By welcoming the involvement of the public in the creation of this work, Ondak merges art with everyday life in a process that is at the very heart of his artistic practice.
Roman Ondák (b. 1966, Zilina, Slovakia) is widely regarded as one of the most important neo-conceptual artists working today. His work is characterized by a minimal use of materials paired with a subtle humor. Inviting strangers to participate in the production of his works is also a common strategy for the artist. Ondák lives and works in Bratislava, Slovakia. He is currently representing Slovakia at the 53rd Venice Biennale in the CZ/SK pavilion through November 22, 2009.
Measuring the Universe was recently acquired for the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in conjunction with the Museums newly heightened focus on performance-based art.
The Performance Exhibition Series is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, and Jenny Schlenzka, Assistant Curator for Performance, Department of Media and Performance Art.
The Performance Exhibition Series and the Performance Workshop are made possible by the Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.