MET, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

The Roof Garden Commission

Client: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Partner title: Exhibition
Partner: In collaboration with Dan Graham, Artist, New York
Period: 2014
Project-Pdf

For this installation, a wavy steel and glass pavillon Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout commissioned by Dan Graham is situated amid trained ivy hedgerows, moveable chairs and manufactured turf. Typical garden climbers are planted against the pergola to enhance the character of a garden. It is the restraint of this formal composition that facilitates the surreal cognitive and sensual pleasures of the space : a simultaneous blurring of the public and the personal, of content and context. It is a space that is activated by the implicit participation of its proximate public. Indeed its extraordinary physical location as well as the ad hoc congregations of museum visitors laying on the grass, animating the mirrored surfaces, both watching and being watched, both looking out and looking in, are critical materials to the work itself. The work occupies a threshold between introversion and extroversion, both projecting and reflecting ambient atmospheres, generating a condition both more intimate and more panoramic than its actual footprint. On a fine local scale, the composition juxtaposes the tacticalities of artificial turf, ivy, glass and steel. On a broad historical scale, these serialized, generic components were at the time of their introduction heralded as model democratic materials for the new post-war private backyards of American suburban homes. This pre-fabricated and insulated attitude towards the outdoors immediately enters into a dialogue with the biodiverse elysium of Central Park. The park is an equally artificial landscape and was equally conceived of as a democratic right of the public, but with a vastly different spatial expression. This tension is enhanced by the visual continuity of the two adjacent spaces: hovering just above the treeline of Central Park East, the roof garden seems to unfold onto the park itself.