The current Roof Garden Commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The fourth annual, site-specific, roof garden installation, commissioned for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is now on view, and it’s the creepy haunted house from the movie Psycho. This summer’s roof garden commission is titled Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), by the acclaimed British artist Cornelia Parker.
At yesterday’s press preview, Ms. Parker was on hand to give us her thoughts on her current project. From the moment Ms. Parker saw the New York Cit skyline from the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knew her piece would be architectural in nature. In conceiving a work for the United States, she was drawn to the thought of the iconic red barn, but at the same time interested in the work of Edward Hopper, and in particular, his painting House by the Railroad.
She learned that Alfred Hitchcock based the house in his 1960 film Psycho on the painting, and from there, her installation Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) began to take shape. Edward Hopper + Hitchcock’s film Psycho held onerous psychological underpinnings that she hoped to create. Good vs. Evil, Fiction vs. Reality, the Wholesome vs. the Dark.
Artist Cornelia Park on the steps of PsychoBarn on the roof of The MET
The entire installation is a recreation of the house from Psycho, with materials used from three barns. It was assembled by the scenic design company, Showman Fabricators in Long Island City. The scale of the house is actually two-thirds the size of an actual house, as is the case with the house in Psycho that was used on the set of the film. The installation was placed on the roof of The Metropolitan Museumm of Art in such a way as to give the viewer a feeling of the roof garden hedges being part of the garden for the house, and the skyscrapers of Manhattan its neighbors.
Close-up of the front porch of the PsychoBarn
Side view of the installation, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)
Every part of this installation came from a barn, including the rusty chain
Wood from milking stools were used as window frames
It isn’t until you walk around the back of the thirty-foot tall house that you realize it is just a facade, placed at the same angle as the Psycho House in the film. Scaffolding must be able to withstand 100 mile per hour winds, and the black tanks are filled with water to act as ballast. You can even see PsychoBarn from Central Park. When you are looking up toward the roof garden, The Metropolitan Museum of Art becomes the hill on which the Psycho house sat in the film.
In many ways, Cornelia Parker hoped to make her installation a celebration of American culture with the use of red barn materials. Most of the wood, and the corrugated roof, are over 100 years old. Here we explore what she hopes to be special qualities, and sometimes darker significance, of what we consider to be familiar. Ms. Parker was born in Cheshire, England – a rural girl, who grew up milking cows. She now lives and works in London.
The installation Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) will be on view from April 19 through October 31, 2016 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The installation will be accompanied by the fourth in a series of books, already available on pre-order, on the Roof Garden projects, to be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
Artist Cornelia Parker speaker on the roof of The MET about her commission, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)