Roof Garden Installation by Dan Graham to Open at Metropolitan Museum April 29
Installation Dates: April 29–November 2, 2014
Installation Location: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
American artist Dan Graham (born 1942, Urbana, Illinois) will create a site-specific installation atop The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden—the second in a new series of commissions for the outdoor site. The installation will comprise one of Graham’s unique steel and glass pavilions—structures for which he has been renowned since the early 1980s—set within a specially engineered landscape designed in collaboration with Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt (born 1957, Balzers, Liechtenstein). Constructed of hedge rows and curves of two-way mirrored glass, the pavilion will be both transparent and reflective, creating a changing and visually complex environment for visitors. The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham will be on view from April 29 through November 2, 2014 (weather permitting).
The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg. Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
“We are thrilled to present this extraordinary new commission,” stated Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum. “For decades, Dan Graham has created work that challenges viewers to think in new and thought-provoking ways about the streets and cities they traverse every day. In his reimagining of the Met’s roof, visitors will discover a picturesque landscape that is at once unexpected and familiar.”
“What Dan creates is a new form of quixotic landscape architecture that combines maker and community within a city environment,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art. “It is work that draws paradoxically on formal 18th-century Northern European gardens, while also referencing the glossy sleekness of corporate skyscrapers and the American suburban vernacular.”
Since the publication of his landmark photo-essay “Homes for America” in 1966, Graham’s work has engaged with issues of urbanity, public space, and the viewer’s own experience within it through a multidisciplinary practice that includes writing, photography, video, performance, and the creation of sculptural environments of mirrored glass and metal. His 1976 entry for the Venice Biennale, Public Space/Two Audiences, disrupted the gallery space with a room split in two by a wall of mirrored glass. This transformed observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, made them acutely aware of their own viewership. Graham’s site-specific pavilions of the years that followed built on the artist’s interest in engaging the public with the space and structures that surround them. With its spectacular views of the city skyline and Central Park, the Museum’s Roof Garden presents a unique environment for Graham to further engage with notions of the city, its landscape and manufacture, and the role of the public within its spaces.
About the Artist
Born in Urbana, Illinois, and raised in Winfield Township, New Jersey, Dan Graham lives and works in New York City. Graham has been investigating the relationship between architectural environments and those who inhabit them since the late 1960s. His multifarious practice, which encompasses writing, photography, video, performance, and the creation of sculptural environments, has influenced generations of artists. Graham’s glass pavilions have been realized in sites worldwide, particularly in Europe. The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham is the artist’s first major site-specific commission in New York City since his 1991 installation, Dan Graham: Rooftop Urban Park Project at Dia Center for the Arts. Graham has had retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Walker Art Center (2009–10); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2006); Museu Serralves, Porto (2001); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1997); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1993); Kunsthalle Berne (1983); and the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (1981). He has participated in Documenta 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992, and 1997). Among the numerous awards he has received are the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award, Zurich (1992), and the French Vermeil Medal, Paris (2001). He also was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2010.
In conjunction with the installation, the second in a new series of books that consider the annual Roof Garden projects has been published. The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham features an essay by Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator, and an interview with the artist by Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. It will be published in paperback by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham and its publication were conceived by Sheena Wagstaff and curated by Ian Alteveer, in consultation with the artist.