There are some people who would accuse the Metropolitan Museum of Art of being boring and elitist, the epitome of hoity-toity. A relic of a bygone era, frequented only by snobs and tourists wearing I HEART NY shirts. We all know the museum cliché! So does the Met.
Which is why they have the Met Gala, the New York fashion event of the season, which happened Monday night so everyone and entire Twitter feed is talking about this week.
Not me! I’m above the Met Gala. Like, 5 floors of galleries above the Met Gala. Like, so far above that red carpet, I’m talking about the Met Roof Top!
Did you know the Met Museum has a lovely rooftop garden? That’s open to the public April 14th to October 29th? That not only has fantastic views of Central Park and a full bar, but also features a site-specific art installation?
The Met Rooftop Installation 2017
Every year the world’s greatest living artists vie for this cream-of-the-crop-at-the-top-of-the-heap commission. For 2017, Adrián Villar Rojas is king of the Met mountain. Everyone is pretty excited, he’s the youngest artist ever featured and arguably the most ballsy.
The Met Rooftop 2017 installation is titled “The Theater of the Disappearance” so of course I, a notorious theater nerd, was predisposed to loving it.
“The Theater of the Disappearance” opens a curtain on the Met embracing a critique of itself, of museums in general. I think that is an especially brilliant and brave thing to see.
You step out from the elevator (the only access to the rooftop) and see rows of white tables spread out in front of you. It looks like you scored an invite to one of the city’s exclusive Dîner En Blanc parties. Actually, each table is scattered with renderings of pieces that are part of the Met’s collection, displayed behind glass on the very floors of the museum below.
We look at an ancient artifact in a glass case and forget it was ever used by someone in daily life. That they weren’t always precious objects to be protected and preserved. Villar Rojas injects new life into over a hundred such pieces, allowing the actors of this Theater, statues, to interact with these artifacts in a way that would get a flesh-and-blood person kicked out of any museum.
You can’t look at the installation and not contemplate the awesome scavenger hunt possibilities. What you went around the Met looking for every object Villar Rojas used 3D printer methods to replicate? Hey, Museum Hack, can you get on this tour option, please?
Of course, it is funny that while you’re walking around looking at the art that reminds you every object in the museum had a former life, you may very well get yelled at by a guard. They are in constant alert in this rooftop installation, making sure no one sits in Villar Rojas’s many chairs! There’s some irony there…
The human statues are all over the map. They wear an eclectic variety of clothing- from modern to timeless to culturally specific. The mood and expression of each is more varied than the passengers on an NYC subway.
Some are contemplative, some downtrodden, some empowered, some sexier than the NYC skyline.
There’s plenty of both comical and cutting juxtaposition.
Some look as though they might hurl themselves off the roof is given the chance.
Others want to rock and roll all night…
And one is a cat.
There’s a lot more to be said about this installation, but I’m no art expert. The NY Times has an article I really enjoyed about the artist and his techniques for this installation: Art and Bacchanalia on the Met Roof. They also have a less-than-glowing-review of “The Theater of the Disappearance” in you want the official NYC art world take, check it out here. But most of all, I say go see it for yourself!
The Met is ALWAYS suggested donation, so you can pay as much or as little as you want to get access to this world class rooftop art! (Weather permitting – the Met Rooftop closes when it rains!)