Atop The Met: Cocktails, City View…And a Spooky Red Barn

Art Scene

Atop The Met: Cocktails, City View…And a Spooky Red Barn

On a hot summer day, it’s likely that Metropolitan Museum of Art visitors will wander to the museum’s rooftop for a glimpse of the New York City skyline over a glass of chilled white wine. They might even indulge in a light bite while they discuss their favorite sights of the day.

Would they expect to see a 30-foot-tall, Victorian era red barn perched over the backdrop of the towering metal and glass that is the city skyline? Probably not.

And yet, despite its haunting quality and the paint chipping from its shingles, artist Cornelia Parker’s life-sized barn sculpture isn’t “shabby” for an intentionally dilapidated structure. Formally dubbed Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired work and fourth installment in The Met’s seasonal rooftop exhibit is blatant yet largely undiscovered.

Parker drew inspiration for her large-scale sculpture from the house in Hitchcock’s Psycho, which is actually based on a 20th century painting by Edward Hopper. (The painting, if you’re curious, is conveniently on display at the Museum of Modern Art.) Having grown up in a “rural poor” part of Cheshire, England, Parker explained to The New York Times that Hopper’s House by the Railroad carried special meaning for her.

Transitional Object BARN

Transitional Object  Barn Atop Roof [IMAGE1]-BARN

“The Dutch red barn is part of the iconography of America,” she said. “That was part of my initial idea, to raise a barn on the roof.”

Well, that and apparently add a healthy dose of culture shock to the patrons whom she pictured savoring cocktails while overlooking Manhattan.

“I like the idea that you take things that perhaps sound clichéd. But they are clichéd for a reason,” Parker said. “They resonate with a huge amount of people and that’s why they are the most visited spots. And I somehow think the inverse of the cliché is the most unknown place.”

Transitional Object Barn Atop met

And so her exhibit goes: with the urban view comes a strikingly rustic work of art constructed with material melded from real-life Upstate New York barns that were set to be deconstructed. Her creative use of recycled materials is the foundation for which she has famously constructed her career, which also includes dangling wires from a garden shed destroyed by war to form a “suspended moment” in her sculpture, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View.

In PsychoBarn, Parker explains that one can interpret the “transitional” element to be based on the psychological term associated with objects of comfort that serve as anchors when people forge through new territory. For now, though, she hopes her sculpture can intrigue all Metgoers–tourists and locals alike.

Transitional Object Skyline [IMAGE4]-BARN

“It’s not a fine-art audience — people are coming for the view,” she said. “I wanted to add another ingredient to the view.”

Will you venture to the Met rooftop to view Cornelia Parker’s surprising work of art? If you do, take a photo and share it with Duggal on social media via the buttons below!