I look forward to The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden’s Roof Garden Commission every year. This year marks the 30th anniversary of this special temporary exhibit. Not every year is a winner but even if you don’t love the artwork displayed, the roof is a spectacular way to see the city after a lovely stroll through the Met Museum.
Yesterday, I avoided the New York Times article with backstory about how Adrián Villar Rojas created "The Theater of Disappearance" exhibit (Art and Bacchanalia on the Met Roof) and went during press day to see myself.
I walked around each piece multiple times; they need to be seen from all angles.
I couldn't help but think of the Terry Gilliam movie Time Bandits, a British film from 2918, that looking back upon it now, is a bizarre film that we all liked it at the time. The badie in that film that was the character of "Evil", played by David Warner and he and his henchmen looked like a mash up of plastic skull and spines parts, catheter tubes, clear trash bags and horns, which, given the low budget of the film, I’m sure that’s exactly what it was.
There was an element of that feeling in this show for me: a mashup of historical periods, art genres and art pieces that don’t belong and are on the edge of scary but also funny. There is almost a flippant apocalyptic vision of what would happen if the city was under siege by super trendy 20s somethings and the art was taken out of its mint-in-box-condition-behind-the-glass-reverent-spot and played with, irreverently. There’s an edge of play, but also an edge of something darker, sadder, more ominous.
Upshot: I don’t know if I liked it; I don’t know that it’s there to be liked. I liked the concept of the art taken out of the glass and also re-imagined. The pieces definitely engendered thought and forced interaction, which is positive and can be the role of art. It left me feeling a little disturbed and also smiling.
The New York Times thought the artist, Adrián Villar Rojas, didn’t go far enough for this exhibit: A Mini-Met Mashup on the Museum’s Roof, With Summer Views
See for yourself starting April 14, 2017.
April 14–October 29, 2017 (weather permitting)
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, Gallery 926
Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has created a site-specific installation for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. The Roof Garden Commission: Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance will be on view from April 14 through October 29, 2017 (weather permitting). Villar Rojas—known for his large-scale installations—has transformed the Cantor Roof. Sixteen sculptures that fuse human figures with replicas of nearly 100 objects from the Museum’s collection, occupying a new black, white, and gray tiled floor, the installation also encompasses an environmental transformation of the space, including an extension of the existing pergola and new plantings, public furniture, and a newly designed bar.