New York

Take Your Secrets to the Grave at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery

What to Know

  • Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is giving visitors an opportunity to bury their secrets.
  • Green-Wood Cemetery is located at 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232.

Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is giving visitors an opportunity to bury their secrets.

The Green-Wood Cemetery has collaborated with French conceptual artist Sophie Calle to create an art installation where visitors share a personal secret.

Visitors write a secret down on an index card before sliding it in a slot to be buried. The Secrets obelisk is engraved “Here Lies the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery.”

The public art installation at the cemetery was commissioned by Creative Time, an arts organization in NYC.

The art installation is part of the working cemetery’s dedication to the arts and presence as a cultural institution, according to Harry Weil, the cemetery’s manager of programs.

While Weil buried a secret during the art installation’s inaugural weekend, he did not share it with Calle, who acted as a secret keeper for visitors last Saturday and Sunday.

“I was not brave enough to tell Sophie my secret but I wish I could’ve,” Weil said.

Hundreds of visitors shared their now buried secrets.

“There were great moments where people were touching the stone, some people were crying. You could tell that for others there was this release,” Weil said of the recent visitors.

Calle has vowed to return to the site and burn the secrets left behind. There were so many secrets buried on the inaugural weekend that a glass casket was brought out to store secrets after the bottom of the obelisk filled, according to Regina Finnen, a volunteer at the cemetery.

“I think that's what appeals to people, they can get something off their chest and let it go,” Finnen said.

The project continues the legacy of Green-Wood as a center for arts, they maintain that the cemetery is a place for both the living and the dead.

“It also fits in with what people think of cemeteries too. This idea that you come to bury something and maybe when you’re alive you can bury something of yourself too,” Weil said of the project.

The installation will remain at the cemetery next 25 years.

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