Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: outdoor sculpture

Art Review | “Roof Garden Installation” by Pierre Huyghe | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Summer 2015

… only there’s no “garden”…

Paving stones are uprooted and water is tricking in and around — is the maintenance crew working on a leak?  No. This is the new art installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum.

Huyghe roof garden installation, schist boulder

Huyghe’ roof garden installation, schist boulder

The site is magnificent, nestled in Central Park and among magnificent New York skyline views, but this installation, which has no title, is dull.

In the midst of it all, there’s a large, unworked boulder of Manhattan schist, the stone that forms the familiar outcroppings in Central Park, and supports Manhattan’s skyscrapers.   Some stone dust scattered around the boulder is said to have shaken off during the stone’s transport to the museum, and the artist chose to leave where it settles.

Huyghe roof garden installation, the aquarium element

Huyghe ‘sroof garden installation, the aquarium element

The other major element is a large rectangular aquarium:  inside it is a floating boulder of lava about the size of the schist boulder.  Below that is a mound of sand with small swimming fish — lampreys, and tadpole shrimp we’re told in the written information accompanying the installation.

One can think about contrasts:  the unworked boulder contrasts with the worked paving stones.  Schist is more dense than lava.  The yearly change of roof installation contrasts with the relatively unchanging genetics of the fish.  The inclusion of the accidental grit near the boulder to the roof recalls Marcel Duchamp’s incorporation of of accident — the glass cracked in transport — into his work of art, The Bridge Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) about a century ag0 (click on live link to see it).  He even incorporated the accumulated dust.  What a wonderfully challenging work it is!

Conceptual art focuses on thought.  But there’s nothing in this roof top installation that enlarges thought.  Nothing is shared with particular insight, let alone wit or irony.

We might well have had something to enjoy in a more immediate, sensuous and inspiring sense.  The Metropolitan Museum’s gorgeous roof installation of Cloud City by Tomas Saraceno three summers ago springs to mind — and other summer projects as well.

What a disappointing way to treat a summer oasis!

Better go downstairs and see Van Gogh:  Irises and Roses.

Pierre Huyghe’s roof garden installation will be on exhibit through November 1, 2015, weather permitting.  For information on visiting the exhibition and on current exhibitions, click right here.

Art Review | Cloud City by Tomas Saraceno — on the Roof … and above it – | Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden, through November 12, 2012 (weather permitting)

Tomas Saraceno | Cloud City

Tomas Saraceno | Cloud City | Roof of the Metropolitan Museum Summer 2012

Cloud City is a shimmering, spacious delight that plays with space and gravity and takes you to a new place.  What an adventure!

What do you see when you arrive at the roof? A very large structure with Tomas Saraceno | Cloud City lots of angles mirroring the sky and everything around it  —  webs and frames recall a geodesic dome only all the geometries here are irregular.  It defies any simple equations and seems freely morphing — like a kind of globular life.  From some angles it rests calmly;  from others it reaches out into space.  There’s a paradox:  it seems floating and immaterial even as you see with your eyes that it’s weighty and built and cabled to the roof and with a mighty base.  It’s not just something to look at:  those climbing in, around and above animate it with the vitality of life itself — sure-footed life that is (those who aren’t sure-footed are counseled to skip the climb).

Reflection | Tomas Saraceno | Cloud City But whether you climb or not, your reflection reaches its angled heights.  Take a picture from below of your reflection up there, as in the photo on the left. Everyone who visits makes it to the clouds in one way or another.  Everyone  there becomes a citizen of Cloud City

Some facts:  Cloud City was commissioned and made specifically for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden.  It consists of 16 interconnected modules made of transparent and reflecting materials and – to give you a sense of scale — it’s 54 feet long, 29 feet wide and 28 feet high.  While this Cloud Cities is site specific it’s part of a series of works by this Argentinian artist that suggest an ecological continuum between our world and space.  It brings with it a sense of habitation, suggesting a sketchy vision of new and creative human environments, on earth and in space.

Buoyant ands gleaming, Cloud City lifts the heart and shines in the imagination.

Art on the roof – among the great treasures of Summer in NYC.

This is the 15th year the Metropolitan Museum has presented art on the roof.  Last year it was Anthony Caro on the roof, the year before that Doug and Mike Starm’s site-specific Big Bambu.

Fun to know:  Refreshments – sandwiches, snacks, desert, beverages including espresso, cappuccino, iced tea, soft drinks, wine and beer – are available at the little café on the Roof Garden daily from 10 am to closing (weather permitting).  An “ARTini” bar is open on the Roof Garden  Friday and Saturday evenings 5:39 – 8 pm.

Museum hours generally Fridays and Saturdays 9:30 am – 9 pm;  Sundays, Tuesdays-Thursdays 9:30 am – 5:30 am.

For more information on visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cloud City, on the Metropolitan Museum’s suggested admissions prices (what you pay is actually your option), and, if you wish, for requesting tickets for climbing in the structure, click on www.metmuseum.org/saraceno .  Tickets for climbing up into the structure are timed and limited so if you think you want to do that, check the site and make your plans.

Cloud City is fascinating but that other city — NYC — seems even more fascinating … !

Cloud City is fascinating but that other city — NYC — seems even more fascinating … !

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