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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Documentation of memorial for Manuel Felguérez Barra in A Crack in the Hourglass

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born Mexico City, 1967). Documentation of memorial for Manuel Felguérez Barra in A Crack in the Hourglass, 2020–ongoing. Sand, glass, robotic platform, cameras, computers, OpenFrameworks software, lights, anodized aluminum base, 3-D–printed polymer head, electronic circuit, tubes, funnels, plastic valves, website. Courtesy of Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo. © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: A Crack in the Hourglass, An Ongoing COVID-19 Memorial

October 29, 2021–August 7, 2022

Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia Gallery of Contemporary Art, 4th Floor

Use the Participate button to learn more and submit a photograph and dedication for your loved one via the project website.

Note: This exhibition is available in four languages. View the exhibition description in Spanish, Russian, or Simplified Chinese.

How can we memorialize and visualize the extraordinary loss of life caused by COVID-19, even as it continues to rage throughout the world? Media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born Mexico City, 1967) responds with A Crack in the Hourglass, a transitory “anti-monument” for the time of the pandemic and the ways it has halted public rituals of mourning. In this participatory artwork, a modified robotic plotter deposits grains of hourglass sand onto a black surface to recreate the images of those lost due to COVID-19. After each portrait is completed, the surface tilts and the same sand is recycled into the next portrait, echoing the collective and ongoing nature of the pandemic.

Those seeking a way to mourn loved ones lost during the pandemic are invited to participate in this ongoing project. Submit a photograph of the deceased at, accompanied by a personalized dedication. The resulting memorials will be available, via livestream and in archive form, on the project's website. In our galleries, the robotic plotter and physical representations of the memorials serve as a space to collectively mourn, reflect, and connect, and to honor victims of COVID-19 in New York City—an area with one of the highest number of pandemic-related deaths in the United States—and worldwide.

For questions about the project, email us at

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: A Crack in the Hourglass, An Ongoing COVID-19 Memorial is organized by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator, Photography, Brooklyn Museum.

The project was originally produced by Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in collaboration with El Aleph: Festival de Arte y Ciencia from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s (UNAM) Coordinación de Difusión Cultural. It has been presented in a remote, participatory fashion since November 7, 2020.

Leadership support for this exhibition is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust. Generous support is provided by the FUNd.