Lee Mingwei & Bill T. Jones: OUR LABYRINTH

Sept 16, 23, & 30, 2020
Streamed on YouTube @ Noon (EST)

“It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.”  Rabbi Tarfon (Pirkei Avot 2:16)
Our Labyrinth, a partnership with the MetLiveArts, September 16, 23, & 30, 2020
Will Be Streamed on YouTube @ Noon (EST)


Join New York Live Arts, in partnership with MetLiveArts, for a unique, site-specific iteration of Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei’s durational performance work OUR LABYRINTH. Originally performed at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Centre Pompidou, Lee has invited legendary American dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones to collaborate on a special version specifically for New York City and The Met as a meditation on this moment of instability and profound change.

OUR LABYRINTH will be performed to an online audience, live-streamed from three Met galleries over three weeks featuring a different cast each time, while the museum is closed. As conceived by Mingwei, the work features a single dancer who uses a stylized broom to sweep a mound of rice through the space, along a labyrinthine path of their choosing.  A profoundly spiritual task, the dancer may encounter obstacles along the way, but will navigate silently and mindfully. This project is conceived by Mingwei as a gift from the performers to the viewers, providing a “pure” space, both physically and spiritually. Bill T. Jones’ inflection on the work, in some way a respectful conversation with Mingwei across time and space, is expressed in the diverse cast of performers representing the spectrum of New York dance and performance, and in the sonic landscape provided by three experimental vocalists/musicians that will echo through the galleries.

From Lee Mingwei: “I conceived OUR LABYRINTH as an embrace between creation and destruction. The current iteration, enriched and empowered by Bill’s gift, is an offering to those who ever lived on this sacred land known as Mannahatta, as well as to every artist who collectively and unknowingly created the Metropolitan Museum, Spirit House of Mannahatta.”

From Bill T. Jones: “I am honored to be invited to collaborate with Lee on this deeply focused and ecstatic work in the venerable halls of the Metropolitan Museum. The work does not really need my intervention. However, there is profound meaning in doing this work at this particular moment in New York, which has experienced tremendous loss and social upheaval, oscillating between devastation and hope for the future. I am trying to understand what makes this series of performances distinctly New York, and what makes it distinctly New York now.”

Performance 1: Wednesday, September 16, 12–4:30 pm
The Great Hall

I-Ling Liu
Ragamuffin (Jesse White)
David Thomson
with Holland Andrews

Performance 2: Wednesday, September 23, 12–4:30 pm
Gallery 206, The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Asian Art

Nayaa Opong
Brian “HallowDreamz” Henry
Huiwang Zhang
with Justin Hicks

Performance 3: Wednesday, September 30, 12–4:30 pm
Gallery 700, The Charles Engelhard Court, The American Wing

DeAngelo Blanchard
Sara Mearns
Linda LaBeija
with Alicia Hall Moran

This program is made possible by the Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. (Taiwan) and Taipei Cultural Center in New York, the Adrienne Arsht Fund for Resilience through Art, and Jody and John Arnhold.