The Met unveiled today four new sculptures by Nairy Baghramian (German citizen, born Iran 1971) for the Museum’s facade. This is the first public installation by the artist in New York City. Baghramian’s cast aluminum polychrome sculptures feature components that seem to have washed up like flotsam and jetsam in the voids of their respective niches. These abstract forms at the threshold of the Museum present a metaphor of the institution as a filter of historical fragments deemed representative or exemplary. The project’s title Scratching the Back—a distortion of the idiom “scratch the surface”—alludes to the need to move beyond superficially constructed cultural narratives. The Facade Commission: Nairy Baghramian, Scratching the Backwill be on view through May 28, 2024.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that American artist Lauren Halsey has been commissioned to create a site-specific installation for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden for Spring, 2023. Halsey created a full-scale architectural structure imbued with the collective energy and imagination of the South Central Los Angeles Community where she was born and continues to work. Titled the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I), the installation is designed to be inhabited by The Met’s visitors, who are able to explore its connections to sources as varied as ancient Egyptian symbolism, 1960s utopian architecture, and contemporary visual expressions like tagging that reflect the ways in which people aspire to make public places their own.
If the artists hope was to have her New York viewers feel the connection intuitively, she nailed it. Viewers, young and old, were slowly walking in, out and around this exceptional installation ~ reading and relating her words to their own neighborhoods. This installation was well worth the wait. Lauren Halsey: the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I) will be on view to October 22, 2023.