April 23, 2016

Cornelia Parker Installs Illusory Architecture on Met Rooftop

An irrefutable symbol of American architecture just broke ground, er, roof at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park. British artist Cornelia Parker has installed a site-specific structure, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), at the museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the fourth in a series of commissions created specifically for the renowned rooftop.

PsychoBarn mimics the mid-nineteenth century American residential vernacular, complete with blood-red wood panels and a weathered corrugated roof sourced from a restoration group that dismantles aged buildings. The artist cites influences such as our conception of the domestic red barn and Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, House by the Railroad—which (fun fact) inspired the menacing mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho. The result? A structural folly guaranteed to evoke both wholesome comfort and spine-tingling eeriness.

While the 30-foot structure appears authentically architectural, Parker streamlined its construction—scaffolding supports two facades propped up from behind. PsychoBarn intentionally contrasts New York’s iron-and-glass cityscape of soaring skyscrapers, which has constantly served as a calm yet chaotic backdrop to the rooftop’s installations. “Combining a deliciously subversive mix of inferences, ranging from innocent domesticity to horror, from the authenticity of landscape to the artifice of a film set,” remarked Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, “Cornelia’s installation expresses perfectly her ability to transform clichés to beguile both eye and mind.”

Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) will be on view from April 19 throughout the summer until–fittingly–October 31. 

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