2. Earth Room
Amidst the art galleries of Soho lies a studio filled with dirt that is worth approximately one million dollars. The New York Earth Room, on 141 Wooster Street, is a gallery dedicated to the 250 cubic yards of earth that make up Walter De Maria’s unique exhibit. Although he passed away in 2013, his memory lives on through this work and its allusion to similar exhibitions he created during his life. His other works also dealt with unique scales of material, for example his Broken Kilometer exhibit during 1979, a collection of brass rods that, if welded together, would have amounted to exactly a kilometer.
Walk up the stairs to this curious art installation, and you’ll find that the scent of dirt and silence of the space is calming and reminiscent of a field after rain. On exhibition since 1980, it traces its roots to the first such installation in Munich in 1968 and remains a curious place of quiet contemplation today.