The Met’s New Facade Commission will Feature Carol Bove, on view March 1, 2021




Image: Portrait of Carol Bove by Jason Schmidt, 2019. Image courtesy of The Met
Four new sculptures created by American artist Carol Bove for The Met Fifth Avenue’s facade niches will be on view beginning March 1, 2021. The Facade Commission: Carol Bove: The Séances Aren’t Helping is the second commission to be featured on the facade of The Met.

The artist, Carol Bove ~ live on Instagram for the unveiling at The Met
Originally scheduled to go on view in September 2020, the commission was delayed due to the global pandemic. The séances aren’t helping will be on view through the fall of 2021.

Max Hollein, Met Director at the unveiling of new facade by Carol Bove – Instagram Live

Bove works improvisationally and sculpts at scale and in the round, without preparatory drawings. For this commission, she used a one-to-one mock-up of the Museum’s empty niches that was created in her studio. Bove chose a series of nonrepresentational forms that resonate with modernist styles such as Art Deco and abstraction-a stark contrast to the traditional figurative sculptures that the architect Richard Morris Hunt envisioned for The Met’s facade, which was completed in 1902, but was never fully realized. Bove based the size of the aluminum disks on the diameter of the columns that flank the Museum’s niches and the medallion portraits that adorn the spandrels of the arches. The differing orientations result in a playful, rhythmic pattern, yielding a frisson of delight that might throw viewers slightly off-balance. By astutely engaging the Museum’s facade, reimagining its history, and retooling some of its architectural and design elements, the artist subtly calls for us to reevaluate and reckon with the legacies of tradition.

Image via The Met on Instagram, March 1, 2021

Max Hollein, the Marina Kellen French Director of The Met, said, “Carol Bove has transformed The Met’s historic exterior with four commanding yet playful sculptures. These colossal figures and abstract entities engage powerfully with their surroundings, beckoning to visitors and reflecting the changing light throughout the day. We look forward to sharing these works with New York.”

Image via The Met on Instagram, March 1, 2021

Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, added, “The Met’s Beaux-Art architecture is 119 years old but—like the niches that were left empty—the Museum itself is an ongoing, unfinished project, always changing. Old certainties wither in this new era: Bove’s sculptures speak directly to this, upending tradition but upholding the power of culture to question. They are dynamic provocateurs.”

Live on Instagram, Shanay Jhaveri, Met Curator, at the unveiling of the new facade by Carol Bove
Born in 1971 in Geneva, Carol Bove was raised in Berkeley, California, and studied at New York University. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Known for works that incorporate found and constructed elements with a unique formal, technical, and conceptual inventiveness, Bove consistently challenges and expands the possibilities of formal abstraction. For The Met commission, Bove will offer a striking series of commanding nonrepresentational forms that resonate with modernist styles such as Art Deco and abstraction.

Image via The Met on Instagram, March 1, 2021
The Facade Commission is part of a new series of contemporary commissions at The Met in which the Museum invites artists to create new works of art, establishing a dialogue between the artist’s practice, The Met collection, the physical Museum, and The Met’s audiences. The Facade Commission was inaugurated in September 2019 with Wangechi Mutu’s The NewOnes, will free Us (September 9, 2019–November 1, 2020).