Dan Graham Delights Visitors in Site-Specific Rooftop Exhibition

Dan Graham at the Met Museum

One of the most exciting museum exhibitions to visit in New York City this summer isn’t actually in a museum at all, rather, it’s on the roof of one. As soon as the weather is permitting, the Metropolitan Museum of Art curates a special exhibition for its rooftop garden. The Roof Garden Commission has hosted some remarkable artists in the past; Imran Qureshi left his mark on the 8,000 square foot rooftop last summer, and now Dan Graham is bringing his steel and glass “pavilions” to the unique outdoor exhibition space this season.

“The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt” is the second in a new series of site-specific commissions for the Met’s rooftop garden. Explains the museum, “Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass set between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze, part modernist skyscraper façade. Viewers who enter the work are transformed into performers; in glimpsing their own reflections, they are also made acutely aware of the act of looking,” of what visitors can expect from Graham’s installation, titled “Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout.”

Dan Graham at the Met Museum

As Karen Rosenberg of The New York Times points out, “The idea of a Dan Graham pavilion in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden is so obvious, so perfect, that it really should have happened years ago,” of the harmonious venue for Graham’s “Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout.” Aside from being an open rooftop space ideal for a project of this size, Rosenberg notes that Graham’s installation is particularly relevant to what she calls “a pivotal moment for both the museum and the Manhattan skyline.” Indeed, the museum has recently developed programs that center more on contemporary artworks in addition to site-specific works, much like Graham’s “Walkabout.” Juxtaposing this kind of new artistic focus with the ever-changing NYC skyline demonstrates a poignant moment of change within the museum itself and the city that surrounds it.

“Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout” is a collaboration between Dan Graham and the Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt, and beautifully responds to the landscape that it resides in. In this case, it sits upon the breathtaking rooftop garden of the Met, which offers layered views of Central Park and the sprawling concrete jungle that borders it. As the museum explains, “the Roof Garden, where the idyllic expanse of Central Park confronts the tall buildings of midtown Manhattan, is both of the city and at a certain remove from it.” Visiting Dan Graham’s installation here will be a memorable experience because of the work itself and especially the space in which it resides.

Learn more by visiting the Met’s ongoing exhibitions page.

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt

April 29 through November 2, 2014, weather permitting 

Images: metmuseum via Instagram.

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