The Unbearable Banishment: It’s a jungle up here

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It’s a jungle up here

Every summer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounts a sculpture exhibit on its roof. Aside from the sweeping views of Central Park and the mansions along 5th Avenue, it's a chance to see some big-idea installations. I don’t know who curates these things but it’s been one home run after another. Last year’s Maelstrom by Roxy Paine was a hoot.

This year, Doug + Mike Starn have mounted Big Bambú. The project consists of fresh cut bamboo poles lashed together with nylon rope. The construction of the sculpture is ongoing and will continue throughout the summer. It closes October 31st, which is pretty late in the year for this sort of thing.

The cool interactive aspect of this project is that the sculpture contains a series of steps and ramps that allow you to actually walk up into it. During the day, workers continue to assemble the sculpture around you. Unfortunately, you have to be at least 10 years old in order to walk into the sculpture, so when I was with 8-Year Old Daughter, I couldn’t go up. But the exhibit is there for a while so I’ll make my way up at some point and post photos. At its completion, it’ll be 50 feet high!

You have to get a (free) timed ticket in order to go in the sculpture and my understanding is that you’re better off going on a Wednesday or Thursday because on the weekends, tickets for the entire day are taken fairly early in the morning. For me, the exhibit doesn’t have the “wow” factor that Maelstrom did, but it’s worth a visit simply because of the grandeur.

What’s a trip to the Met without visiting some old friends? Take a look at this photo and compare it to the one in my banner. She grows! The background on van Gogh's irises was originally painted a pale rose, but over the years the pigment has faded out of the paint and now it's a chalky white. The original color can still be seen along some of the edges if you get close enough.

This shot of Damien Hirst's shark in formaldehyde was taken surreptitiously. You can take photos of pretty much anything you want in the Met as long as you don't use a flash. But a security guard is always on hand to prevent people from taking pics of this piece. I wonder why? I quickly snapped this while the guard was yelling at someone for taking a picture. Yes, the shark is (was) real.

Daughter made a special request to visit Degas’s little dancer. She walks around the Met like she owns the joint.



Anonymous Sid said...

Hmmm. I've noticed that your daughter doesn't seem to go anywhere without her bag.

Wonder what the bamboo sculpter will look like when it's done.

June 30, 2010 at 7:36 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

i LOVE the Met, sugar! (yes, yes, i am incredibly jealous, but i secretly love y'all, so i'll get over it.) anyway, living in the hurricane corridor as i do, i can't help but wonder how that installation would/will hold up in a storm! (have y'all noticed how i have to think of some calamity to curb my jealousy?) xoxoxox

June 30, 2010 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

IMO little girls should always appreciate Degas - its as important to their DNA as skipping - that delightful thing they do in the middle of a walk.

June 30, 2010 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sid: Do you know what's funny? I always ask her if she wants me to carry her bag but she never lets go. It's a security blanket.

Savannah: I gave the sculpture a pretty hard shake and it seems solid. But we'll never get the kind of storms you guys enjoy down there!

Pat: I never thought about it until this moment but I suppose Degas is a very female/centric artist. All those dancers and such.

June 30, 2010 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

One day pal!

Those pesky daughters have a habit of growing. Our two teens are now towering over their Mom, and the youngest looks like she's gonna get a growth spurt any day now! :¬)

June 30, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: Do you know what's funny? I have NO MEMORY of either daughter as a little baby. None! It's a good thing I have photographic evidence or I'd begin to doubt that it ever happened.

June 30, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

I remember seeing bamboo scaffolding being used to build houses when I was in Africa. Strange to see it converted into art in New York

June 30, 2010 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Hedgie just went to a scavenger hunt birthday at the Met, and came back talking all about the Hirst shark, which prompted an interesting debate with her dad about the question what is art...

your little one has most definitely grown! I love that new pic of you dear.

June 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Degas sculptures of dancers have always been my favourites! I think the first one I saw was in Boston. Ever since I get excited when I chance across them!

Did Franklin send her bamboo up to NYC?

June 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

PG: There's a lot of it up here. I keep wondering what'll happen to it all after the exhibit closes in October.

Leah: I don't know if the shark it art but it's friggin' creepy. Did you know that Hirst had the shark gutted and then stretched the skin over a mold? Gross.

Ellie: In addition to the sculpture, there's a whole room filled with those pastel drawings of dancers. There is no TN state stamp on the bamboo (that I saw)!

June 30, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

Husband thinned our bamboo Saturday and we took it to the Nashville zoo for the elephants.

June 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I'm taking notes. Are the galleries and museums free to get into or does it depend on the place?

July 1, 2010 at 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love the fact that the two of you still do this together. Just about the time 8 year old will have "more important" things to do, her little sister will be anxoius to see what she has missed.

July 1, 2010 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

love the shark! and to think i wasted all that time and money getting scuba certs so i could get to their neighborhood to visit...

July 1, 2010 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

HIF: I'm sure they have a similar scheme all lined up for this exhibit. At least, I hope they do.

Jo: The Met is pay-what-you-can but the others will cost you.

MT: And by the time 3-year old stops caring, 8-year old will be old enough to come back to it.

Daisy: This is quite close enough for me, thanks. I only want a shark when it's on my plate an properly grilled.

July 1, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

I was trying to be clever and ask if you meant Damien Hir$t...blogger kept canning it.

July 1, 2010 at 11:24 PM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I love it when you post photos of NYC exhibitions

July 3, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

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