The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.

Measure Your Existence

February 7, 2020–January 24, 2021

The fleeting, impermanent here and now—in all its destruction, regeneration, and intense immediacy—is the ultimate reality. The exhibition Measure Your Existence questions and expands the Buddhist concept of impermanence through artworks by six contemporary artists who explore duration, survival, memory, fate, history, loss, disappearance, and reappearance.

In the original iteration of the exhibition, visitors were called upon to coproduce, participate in, and intimately experience the works of art on display. In compliance with New York State guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s installation “Untitled” (Placebo) is no longer on view. Lee Mingwei’s The Letter Writing Project remains installed, however onsite participation is currently suspended, and visitors can contribute to the project from home.

Despite these changes, the exhibition continues to invite reflection on ephemeral moments and meaning, inspiring personal recollection and reminiscence.

Measure Your Existence is organized by guest curator Christine Starkman and produced by the Rubin Museum of Art, featuring artworks by Tehching Hsieh, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Lee Mingwei, Shilpa Gupta, Meiro Koizumi, and Taryn Simon.

Measure Your Existence is supported by the Ministry of Culture (Taiwan) and Taipei Cultural Center in New York.

ministry of culture
Image credits:
Left: Lee Mingwei (b. 1964, Taichung, Taiwan; lives and works in New York City and Paris); The Letter Writing Project; 1998″“present; mixed-media interactive installation, wooden booth, writing papers, envelopes; installation view at Lee Mingwei and His Relations, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2014; photograph by Yoshitsugu Fuminari; image courtesy of Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Middle: Meiro Koizumi (b. 1976, Gunma, Japan; lives and works in Yokohama); still from My Voice Would Reach You; 2009; HD color video with sound; 16:45 min.; image courtesy of the artist, Annet Gerlink Gallery, Amsterdam, and MUJIN-TO Production, Toyko
Right: Tehching Hsieh (b. 1950, Nan-Chou,Taiwan; lives and works in Brooklyn); One Year Performance 1980″“1981, Punching the Time Clock; 1980″“1981; photograph; © Tehching Hsieh 1979; image courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Exhibition Resources