Guido van der Werve Will Stage Third Annual 30-Mile ‘Run to Rachmaninoff’

Van der Werve placing flowers at the grave of Rachmaninoff last year. (Photo by Andrew Russeth)

Last November, during Performa, Dutch artist Guido van der Werve led a small group on a run from his Chelsea gallery, Luhring Augustine, north to the grave of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, in Valhalla, N.Y. That roughly 30-mile trek was the second edition of his annual Run to Rachmaninoff piece, which he had initiated the year before from MoMA PS1. Now the third iteration is almost here. This time he will depart from the gallery’s new Bushwick location with fellow runners on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9 a.m. You can sign up to run via Luhring Augustine’s website.

Here are the details from the site:

During the run, water and sport drinks and a ride home upon completion are supplied; you must bring your own bars and gels. Participation is free but limited. We will pace ourselves to the slowest participants, but participants should be in shape to jog 30 miles. If you complete the run you will receive a medal designed by the artist.

For the first edition, Mr. van der Werve alone made the run to the grave. Last year, nine people started it, though only one person, writer Reid Singer, successfully covered the entire distance. (I dropped out, completely exhausted, at the 20-mile mark, at which point the two gentlemen seemed perfectly comfortable—the artist once ran 60 miles for another artwork, and Mr. Singer had completed the New York City marathon a week earlier.)

Since Rachmaninoff died in Beverly Hills, Calif., during World War II, in 1943, it was not possible for his body to be returned to his homeland, so he ended up in the Kensico Cemetery. “He seemed kind of lonely there,” Mr. van der Werve told me last year. “No one knows he is there.” Hence the run.

Mr. van der Werve is going to be very busy the weekend of the journey. He’s debuting two new works at Luhring Augustine’s Chelsea branch on Sept. 7, the day before the run, and on Sept. 9 the gallery’s Bushwick venue will open a survey of eight of his films, dating from 2003 to 2009. They’re poetic, sometimes playfully absurd pieces, and they’re some of the most beautiful film works produced by any contemporary artist in recent memory. Take a look at clips and trailers on his website.

If you’re planning to undertake the 30-mile run, you have 15 more days to train. Guido van der Werve Will Stage Third Annual 30-Mile ‘Run to Rachmaninoff’