The Met reveals new commissions for summer roof garden and facade niches

Posted On Wed, February 26, 2020 By

Posted On Wed, February 26, 2020 By In Art, Events, Museums

Photo (cropped) by Alex Proimos via Wikimedia Commons

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced two new sculpture commissions to be installed in the museum’s facade niches and the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden later this year. Mexican artist Héctor Zamora will create a site-specific intervention on the roof titled Lattice Detour that’s set to open on April 21. On September 9, American artist Carol Bove will unveil new sculptures in the building’s Fifth Avenue facade niches, becoming only the second artist to activate the building’s exterior in this way. The works are still in progress but Sheena Wagstaff, the Met’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, hinted that Zamora’s piece will “invite us to reconsider the panoramic view of the city skyline” and Bove’s installation will feature “colorful stylized abstractions.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC museumsPhoto by Brian Lauer via Flickr 

By choosing these artists, the Met reminds us that even though it’s turning 150 this year, the institution has never been more willing to question itself. Many of the changes have stemmed from new director Max Hollein, who took the helm in 2018 with the goal of expanding the museum’s non-Western perspectives. “If you have one of the greatest collections you almost have an obligation to recontextualize it in regard to the narratives it provides,” Hollein said in an interview with the New York Times just over a year after he stepped into his role. “I want to make sure it’s not only one voice but multiple voices.”

The museum’s latest commissions have lived up to that mission by placing more women and artists of color in prominent spaces. Last December, Cree painter Kent Monkman was invited to install two monumental works in the Great Hall. Still on view, Monkman’s canvases reimagine paintings from the museum’s collection—the iconic “Washington Crossing the Delaware” among them—with Indigenous and African-American figures (including Monkman’s gender-fluid alter-ego) leading the narratives. A few months before that, Kenyan-born Wangechi Mutu became the first artist to install work in the museum’s Fifth Avenue facade niches.

“Both the Cantor Roof Garden and the Museum’s facade offer prominent platforms for new ideas and creative expression,” Hollein said in a press statement. “Zamora’s ability to transform public spaces and the built environment in ways that are often infused with tension related to current events is sure to make for a striking intervention on the Roof Garden and Bove’s keen attunement to art history and the legacies of modernist and minimalist sculpture will make for a fascinating contrast with the facade.”

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Neighborhoods : Upper East Side

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