Tuesday, April 26, 2016

PsychoBarn on the Roof of Metropolitan Museum of Art

There is a place in the Metropolitan Museum of art that works only on warm  months. The Rooftop Garden  on the 5th floor in the museum   is like a secret escape-  there is only one elevator to the  fifth floor ,  located  in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries.  The Rooftop Garden provides a spectacular view of the city landscape. There are  benches  where  you  can  relax and enjoy  the open view and a bar stocked with cocktails, wine and sandwiches.

Every summer since 1998 the Rooftop Garden hosted a single-artist exhibition.  On April 19, museum   inaugurates the 2016 Roof Garden commission, a large-scale work by celebrated British artists Cornelia Parker. Parker is best known for her large-scale installations such as Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991), first exhibited at the Chisenhale Gallery in East London.



Nearly 30 feet high,  
Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is fabricated from a deconstructed red barn and seems at first to be a genuine house, but is in fact a scaled-down structure consisting of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. Simultaneously authentic and illusory, the sculpture evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces. Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is set atop The Met, high above Central Park—providing an unusual contrast to the Manhattan skyline. It will be on view to the public from April 19 through October 31, 2016.

Norman Bates' mansion from the movie 

The artist  combines two iconic aspects of American architecture — the image of a classic red barn, and the gloomy   Norman Bates' mansion from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film "Psycho".  The film "Psycho"    is based on Robert Bloch's novel, which was inspired by Ed Gein, the 1950s Wisconsin serial killer.
Psycho is   considered one of Hitchcock's best films . After Hitchcock's death in 1980, Universal Studios began producing follow-ups: three sequels, a remake, a television film spin-off, and a TV series.


The house on Colonial Street

Film was financed by Hitchcock himself, and filmed at Universal Studios on a tight budget.  Bates house was partly constructed from studio "stock units" and  a tower and front wall portion were borrowed from an existing house set on the backlot's Colonial Street.   "Psycho House"   was built as a two-walled exterior façade, as it would be filmed only from a vantage point within a 90 degree span.
(...)

The Psycho house in Universal Studios
Since 1959, the Bates Mansion, better known as “the Psycho house,” has stood on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot.
Hitchcock, a great art lover, was influenced by the pieces he saw and the artists who created them.  There is a picture  House by the Railroad (1925)by   the great American realist painter, Edward Hopper.  You can see this picture here,  in New York, in the Museum of Modern Art.  Look at the picture- doesn't it look familiar?  Hitchcock openly acknowledged the influence of the painting on his design of the house.   Both are    Victorians with a tall main tower and small porch out front. There are differences, yes, but in the most basic sense, they are very similar.

House  by the rail road


 Both houses are lonely, eerily lonely. No one sits in the window of the Hopper house, no one sits on the porch: modern times have left the house alone and abandoned. In a similar way, the Bates House, located high on a hill, far away from everything, is also incredibly lonely.



I have the same feeling when I look at the house on the roof of the Metropolitan museum.  The house on  the roof is real and not real at the same time.
 Yet the project didn’t start out as an homage to the eerie building. Entranced by the city views from the rooftop, the Parker  wanted to put an architectural structure atop the museum, particularly an incongruous one. “My first idea was to have a real barn, take it down, and have a barn raising on the Met,”
said Parker at the preview. “But then I realized how big they are.” When Parker subsequently visited at the Museum of Modern Art, she discovered that Hopper’s House by the Railroad served as Hitchcock’s inspiration for the Bates home.

 ‘I was very excited to find the original set from psycho was only two flats, all propped up from behind, like a stage set would be, and it was filmed from a particular angle so you only saw the house, side on,’ Parker says. ‘I’ve built the house in the same angle. I’ve tipped it into the corner, and then if you go around the back, you can see it’s all propped up and you realize it’s a façade. But I wanted it to be believable from this angle. So the roof garden becomes the garden of this house. So I like the idea of the private hedge around the met roof. And then hunkering in the corner is this sinister house.’