The Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents the
World Premiere of OUR LABYRINTH


A collaboration between Lee Mingwei and Bill T. Jones,
with performances live-streamed from the Museum’s galleries


The Met‘s performance series, MetLiveArts, in partnership with New York Live Arts, will present the world premiere of the site-specific iteration of Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei’s durational performance work OUR LABYRINTH: “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it” Rabbi Tarfon (Pirkei Avot 2:16) on three days this month—September 16, 23, and 30, from noon to 4:30 p.m. The work was originally performed at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2015 and again in 2017 at Centre Pompidou. For this version, created specifically for New York City and The Met as a meditation on this moment of instability and profound change, Lee has invited legendary American dancer and choreographer, and Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, Bill T. Jones as collaborator.
OUR LABYRINTH will be the first live performance to take place at The Met Fifth Avenue since reopening on August 29 after a temporary closure that began in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be a live performance for an online audience only and streamed from The Met‘s galleries on three Wednesdays, when the Museum is regularly closed to the public. OUR LABYRINTH can be streamed on The Met‘s YouTube channel. These performances are free. No login is required for the live stream, and the videos will remain online indefinitely.
Limor Tomer, Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang General Manager of Live Arts, said: “As the Museum reopens to visitors, we are so excited to welcome artists to return as well. Over three weeks, a group of extraordinary artists will inhabit the empty galleries, and we invite visitors from anywhere in theworld to experience this collaboration between two visionary artists. They have created a piece that is at once timeless and also highly relevant to the current moment.”

Each performance features a different cast member, a single dancer who uses a stylized broom to sweep a mound of rice along a labyrinthine path of their choosing. While performing this profoundly spiritual task, the dancer may encounter obstacles along the way but continues to navigate silently and mindfully. Lee conceives of this project as a gift from the performers to the viewers—a “pure” space both physically and spiritually. Jones’s influence on the work is expressed as a respectful conversation with Lee across time and space, realized through the diverse cast of performers representing the spectrum of New York’s dance and performance-art world and the sonic landscape provided by three experimental vocalists and musicians that echoes through the galleries.


“I conceived OUR LABYRINTH as an embrace of creation and destruction,” said Lee.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 TheMetropolitan Museum of Art, Spirit House of Mannahatta.”

Bill T. Jones commented: “I am honored to be invited to collaborate with Mingwei on this deeply focused and ecstatic work in the venerable halls of The Met. 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 Schedule

Wednesday, September 16, noon to 4:30 p.m.
The Great Hall


I-Ling Liu
Raggamuffin (Jesse White)
David Thomson

with Holland Andrews

Wednesday, September 23, noon to 4:30 p.m.

Gallery 206, The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Asian Art


Nayaa Opong
Brian “HallowDreamz” Henry
Huiwang Zhang

with Justin Hicks

Wednesday, September 30, noon to 4:30 p.m.

Gallery 700, The Charles Engelhard Court, The American Wing
Sara Mearns
Linda LaBeija
DeAngelo Blanchard

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, and Jody and John Arnhold.

Additional support is provided by the Adrienne Arsht Fund for Resilience through Art.

Fifth Avenue




The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028



AAQ / Resource: Space(s) Landscape Architecture