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Micah Lexier

A work of art in the form of a quantity of coins equal to the number of months of the statistical life expectancy of a child born January 6, 1995

Ongoing display

Micah Lexier

Micah Lexier (Canadian, 1960-)
"A work of art in the form of a quantity of coins equal to the number of months of the statistical life expectancy of a child born January 6, 1995", 1995
metal, wood, enamel, paint 2 shelves each, 2 glass coves each; 2 metal boxes each, 906 copper coins 3.2 cm diameter and 2mm thick
Purchased with financial suppport of the Canada Council for the Arts, Acquisition Assistance Program, 1997

In November of 1999, the AGO installed for an indefinite period of time, a recent acquisition by Toronto artist Micah Lexier: A work of art in the form of a quantity of coins equal to the number of months of the statistical life expectancy of a child born January 6, 1995. You can see it elegantly situated in a recessed case along the wheelchair ramp at the top of the Grand Staircase. For many years, the work of Micah Lexier has focused on systems of measurement to create portraits that examine, in a seemingly impartial manner, issues of life span and aging. This piece is such a portrait, its limits defined by the average life expectancy of a person born on January 6, 1995. There is one coin for each month of 75.5 years - altogether 906 coins - one of which is to be transferred from one box to the other on the sixth day of each month until July 6, 2070. In the first box the coins are neatly ordered in the manner of a firmly rational system. In the second, they fall where they may, to reflect the random nature of so many of life's events. The monthly transfer of coins is a public ritual so individuals who witness it as children may eventually return as adults with families of their own. With this in mind, the dispassionate appearance of the work yields a more subjective intent, avowing notions of tradition and familial legacies as intimate parts of the passage of time.

Anyone who would like to participate on the sixth of each month is invited to call the contemporary department at (416) 979-6660 ext. 306. Arrangements will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

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