This twisted, sky-high art exhibit has everyone talking
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Just in time for Passover and Easter, the Met has set up a feast for the eyes, right upon its roof.
Laid out along nine white banquet tables or looming along the sidelines are life-size human figures that sit, sleep, glower and kiss. Scattered around them are goblets, cutlery and currency, all of it rendered in ghostly white. Disembodied arms hold aloft dinner plates and, here and there, a head.
Is this the aftermath of some twisted orgy — or the end of the world?
Read what you will into “The Theater of Disappearance,” the site-specific work that opened Friday on the museum’s roof garden. Set five stories above Central Park and bordered by that spectacular skyline, there may be no more Instagrammable landscape than the one Adrián Villar Rojas designed, a mashup of 5,000 years of art history from all over the world, plucked from the Met’s collections.
Well, not plucked, exactly, but selected, laser-scanned, resized and replicated in urethane foam and a coating of automotive paint (the better to weather the weather). To make things even more interesting, the artist scanned people and even a cat.
Together, they make for some jarring and often amusing juxtapositions: a woman, wrapped in a duffle coat, sleeping on the tomb of a medieval knight; a boy dressed as Napoleon, trying to pry apart a naked couple; a baby (cast from a Met staffer’s own child), lying on a table, with a primitive-looking stork by its head.
It’s like an art-lover’s version of “I Spy” or a sophisticated scavenger hunt. Where have I seen that horse’s head before? Ah yes, from the Etruscan Art section. That bowl, with the two feet underneath it? Ancient Egypt! And what about that poor woman, clutching her breast in pain — why, that’s Thomas Crawford’s “Mexican Girl Dying,” from the American Wing.
There’s no text block to guide you, so you’ll have to do your homework. Just don’t try to take a seat: Those white banquet chairs are attached to the tables. Like the statues and everything else, they’ve been created by Villar Rojas, the 37-year-old Argentinian artist who, three years ago, created a series of sculptures for the High Line. Composed of oyster shells, clay, dirt and old sneakers, they were designed to disappear, as did tens of thousands of people under Argentina’s military dictatorship
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