The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that David Chipperfield has been selected to "develop a new design for the Southwest Wing for modern and contemporary art, and potentially for adjacent galleries for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, as well as additional operational spaces." In a statement, Thomas P. Campbell, the director and CEO of The Met, said Chipperfield's firm was selected after a year-long process because of its global experience and sense of collaboration. Campbell also noted the firm's extensive museum work, calling it "brilliantly coherent, elegant, and accessible." Chipperfield's team is now tasked with increasing gallery space, enhancing visitor circulation, doubling the Roof Garden, and creating accessible on-site storage. “We are delighted to have been selected for this extraordinary commission," David Chipperfield said in a statement. "During the competition we developed an understanding and fondness for this amazing institution and we look forward to working with Tom Campbell and his colleagues on the development of the design.” While the design process is just beginning, the Met said the renovation will support "a more open dialogue between the Museum and Central Park." The potential impact of this renovation on the park itself could be the most controversial aspect of this project and will surely be closely watched. While construction is underway, the Met's collection will be temporarily moved to the Breuer Building, the former home of the Whitney, which is moving into a new Renzo Piano–designed space near the High Line. The old Whitney building will open to the public next spring as a satellite campus of the Met.
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The artist’s first major U.S. commission lands at the MetOn Monday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a preview of the latest installation to take root in its Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Designed by Tomás Saraceno, the installation is the largest of the artist’s Cloud Cities/Airport Cities series, and his first major commission in the United States. Under overcast skies and a sprinkling of rain, the installation’s first visitors—or at least those wearing rubber-soled shoes—clamored through its 16 interconnected modules. Some paused to sit or lie in the structure’s uppermost areas, while others were content to view the constellation of mirrored acrylic forms and nylon webs from the ground. The experience of boarding the structure is disorienting, and the piece gives visitors the impression that it would float away from the rooftop and over Central Park if not tethered to the Met by steel cables. Saraceno, who participated in the Space Studies Program of the International Space University at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, draws heavily from scientific inspiration in his work. He writes: "Cloud City’s composition is based on a complex three-dimensional geometry from Weaire-Phelan, which is an idealized foam structure resembling the perfect packaging of spheres with a minimal surface and maximum volume. This could be the best possible geometry for connecting solar flying city atmospheres. From solid to liquid or gaseous—Cloud City’s composition—a latent molecular foam structure with its infinite variations. It is not one precise arrangement (or explanation or size that matters) but rather their potential to be endlessly recombined and reconfigured, depending on the context of its use, and the interaction of their users yet to be discovered." Cloud City has been two years in the making. Fabrication of the 20-ton piece, which measures 54 feet long by 29 feet wide by 28 feet high, began in December, with installation starting in mid-April. Brooklyn Office Architecture and Design and structural engineer Arup consulted on the design, taking into account both wind loads and the weight of visitors. The polygonal steel modules consist of straight steel members that were assembled off site into individual globes, then hoisted by crane to the roof and bolted to each other and to internal stairs and platforms. Both transparent and acrylic mirrored surfaces are fastened with pop rivets to the structure. The installation's most organic forms—polyester spider webs that are a hallmark of the artist's work—were installed last, their placement and shape determined largely by Saraceno on site. The piece will be on exhibit through November 4, 2012, weather permitting. Because a limited number of visitors may enter the structure (each set of steep stairs accommodates only two people at a time), lines are sure to be long and guests are urged to wear pants and sunglasses because acrylic components are both transparent and reflective. But the payoff is a new view of the city and the experience of feeling the modules shift and react to the weight of those inside them. As Anne Strauss, the Met's modern and contemporary art curator, commented at the opening, “There’s nothing that is more rewarding and interesting than working with living artists.”
Closing Time. Seventy historic state parks across California are slated for closure this year due to budget cuts. The Los Angeles Conservancy has more information on the parks, five of which are in the Los Angeles area, including Los Encinos State Park and the Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park. Scary Design. The art, literary, and film magazine Zeotrope: All-Story, founded by Francis Ford Coppola, has invited Rodarte fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy to design the Fall 2011 issue. The theme is "Horror," where artists, designers, writers, and other contributors explore the scary, the Gothic, and the sublime. More info at Zeotrope. Broad-casting. Can't get enough Diller Scofidio + Renfro? Now you can watch the construction of DS+R's Broad Museum in Los Angeles 24 hours a day on a live camera feed that allows viewers to track construction progress and view high resolution photography taken every 15 minutes. The museum is expected to be completed in 2013. Via the LA Times. Tourism and The Met. The Met Press Room shared that their summer 2011 exhibition season, including the enormously popular "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" show, brought in $90.8 million for New York City. “Using the industry standard for calculating tax revenue impact, the study found that the direct tax benefit to the City and State from out-of-town visitors to the Museum totaled some $90.8 million,” according to the Met. Sixty-eight percent of museum visitors were not from New York City and stayed for an average of five days.
Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, like many of their starchitect brethren, have not had an easy time of late in New York, from the stalling of 56 Leonard to the continuing reconfiguration of the Parrish Art Museum. (Yes, we know everybody's having a hard time of late, but that's a different story.) Well, the Basel-based architects just got their big break, as they say in the theater: a debut at the Met. No, they are not the latest hot shot firm to proffer an addition to the ever-transforming complex. Better yet, they've designed the set for a new production of Verdi's Atilla, which premiers tonight. We're not exactly sure what to make of the ghostly scenery that somehow floats above the chorus, from a forest picnic of sorts to post-apocalyptic-looking ruins (hopefully not the remnants of some failed project). Yet even in this unusual setting, the designer's unusual forms shine. Fashion doing about as well as architecture these days, does it come as a surprise that Miuccia Prada has lent her talents to the costumes? With any luck, Herzog & de Meuron will take over the Oscars next year.