Exhibitions in New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art commissions sculptures by artist Adrián Villar Rojas
The Met’s new rooftop exhibition sees a fusion of museum artefacts with human figures—some of which are modelled after the museum staff
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has unveiled its new site-specific rooftop commission. The exhibition, titled “The Theatre of Disappearance” by Argentinean artist Adrián Villar Rojas features 16 sculptures, fusing human figures with replicas of nearly 100 objects from the museum’s collection. White tables and black sculptures are coated in a layer of custom-created paint ‘dust’ for the installation. Three-dimensional scanning and advanced imaging techniques were used to scan and replicate objects from the collections as well as human figures based on models’ bodies. The three-dimensional models were then spliced with the artifacts to create “sculptural amalgamations.”
Villar Rojas immersed himself in the Met’s history and collections for this project, also taking into account the Roof Garden’s many functions—as a gallery, a bar, and a popular spot to view the Manhattan skyline. His interventions include two new floors—one a checkerboard, the other a reflective metallic surface—as well as a redesigned bar, benches, plantings and an extended overhead pergola. The artist is the youngest sculptor to ever receive the annual commission.
In a statement, the Villar Rojas notes that the Met opened in 1870 with a arge collection of plaster casts of sculptural masterpieces; by the mid-20th century, the copies had been replaced with originals. The museum’s cultural endowment was then divided into departments, “turning a space-time labyrinth into a welcoming, light-filled house for visitors.”
“What if we discovered that we are in a labyrinth, not a house?” he asks. “What if every classification and hierarchy created to stabilize the world was erased to produce a deeper insight: that there are no facts but only interpretations, and that the distance between interpretations and facts might be power—the power of an institution or a nation to sanction truth?”
Sheena Wagstaff, the Met’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, said that Villar Rojas’ work “holds a mirror up to what we do at the Museum, questioning how we elect to present cultural history over time.”
“The Theater of Disappearance” opened to the public on Friday, April 14, and will remain open through October 29. The installation is the fifth in a series of commissions for the outdoor space.
For more information, visit The Met