Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

After many museum visits, the ultimate museum of New York City could be a mere perfunctory stop, particularly that after years of visiting world class museum in Rome, Florence, Paris, London, Den Haag, Amsterdam, Bruges, etc. Met seemed small to me.  But Met surprised me with both its special exhibit and permanent collections and I was convinced once and for all that Met was world renown art museum indeed!

One of the highlight of this trip to New York was viewing the special exhibit at the Met: Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú:
Invited by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a site-specific installation for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn (born in New Jersey in 1961) present their new work, Big Bambú: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop. The monumental bamboo structure, ultimately measuring 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 50 feet high, takes the form of a cresting wave that bridges realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance. Visitors witness the continuing creation and evolving incarnations of Big Bambú as it is constructed throughout the spring, summer, and fall by the artists and a team of rock climbers. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, Big Bambú suggests the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism. It is the thirteenth-consecutive single-artist installation on the Roof Garden.  (Metropolitan Museum)

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8157

We arrived at the museum on time to claim free timed tickets for a guided walk in the pathways amongst the installation, if weather permit.  It was a cloudy day and the forecast predicted rain in the afternoon.  In order not to miss the chance to view the installation, we went up to the rooftop before our tour time at noon.

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8146

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8171

The rooftop had a fantastic view of central park and the west side of Manhattan.  Particularly gratifying was the sighting of a beautiful hawk. In the middle of the roof top, there was a perhaps two to three floor tall installation of bamboo branches. The installation resembled a thatched house or a huge bird nest.  From the distant, it looked quite dense and overwhelming.

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8133

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8148

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8144

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8169

However,once I moved closer, it became more transparent and intimate, even inviting. I shifted positions constantly, trying to capture the ever-changing feature of this mass.

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8132

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8151

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8129

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8128

It started to drizzle and the entrance to the path was closed, but one could see the pathway meandered up and up, as if it would continue forever, till it reached heaven.

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8136

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8130

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8139

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8138

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8143

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8131

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8149

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8155

Doug + Mike Starn, MET _ 8135

This installation was very exciting to behold and even though we could not go on the pathway that day, I still view this experience an absolute highlight of my last New York trip.

Met Museum also pointed out Doug + Mike Starn's pictures of this installation on Flickr, which included the fascinating process of installing this exhibit:

I didn't know these artists before so I'm glad to be able to visit their website for more information, which includes their bios and other amazing artworks:
Doug and Mike Starn were born in New Jersey in 1961. Identical twins, they work collaboratively with photography and continue defying categorization, effectively combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, photography, painting, video, and installation.
>> New York City Report, September 2010, Part X: Art from Ancient Worlds at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
<< New York City Report, September 2010, Part VIII: The Cloisters - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

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