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A Year in a Cage: A Life Shrunk to Expand Art

Performance 1: Tehching Hsieh, at the Museum of Modern Art, displays a wooden cage like one in which the artist spent a year, doing nothing.
Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

His fourth piece was a year devoid of privacy or solitude, spent tied by an eight-foot rope to another person whom he never touched (the performance artist Linda Montano). Finally Mr. Hsieh spent a fifth year without making, looking at, talking or reading about art. This piece seems most abstract and hardest to detect or document. Tellingly, he found that the easiest way to execute it was to leave New York.

In the One Year Performances, especially the first four, Mr. Hsieh did not make his life his art. Instead, with Classical precision and unquestionable monstrousness, he expanded his art until it fully occupied, consumed and suspended his life.

"Performance 1: Tehching Hsieh" is at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, (212) 708-9400,, through May 18.