The cooler, more inclement weather that comes with Fall is slowly encroaching, which means that the annual Roof Garden exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is about to close. So, if you’ve not yet made a visit to see Adrián Villar Rojas’ fantastic installation, The Theater of Disappearance, you have until October 29th, 2017 to check out (weather permitting of course) this unique exhibit that strongly resembles the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a very fancy dinner party.
For this site specific-installation, Argentian artist Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980) used the Museum itself as his subject material; drawing on objects in the collection and the history of collecting practices. To realize the extensive work, the artist immersed himself in The Met, and with its staff over many months, held conversations with the curators, conservators, managers, and technicians — 3-D scanning and imaging experts — across every department, who all contributed to the realization of this installation. Conceived as a holistic environment, The Theater of Disappearance transfers the space of the Roof Garden into a performative diorama.
Sixteen black and white sculptures incorporate nearly one hundred detailed replicas of objects from The Met’s collection – selected from a wide variety of time periods and cultures, and reconfigured as amalgamations, The Theater of Disappearance encompasses thousands of years of artistic production over several continents and cultures, and fuses them with facsimiles of contemporary human figures as well as furniture, animals, cutlery, and food. Each object — whether a 1,000-year-old decorative plate or a human hand — is rendered in the same black or white material and coated in a thin layer of dust.
Architecture is folded into the fabric of the work. Villar Rojas’s intervention includes two radical new flooring systems – one checkerboard and the other a reflective metallic surface – as well as a redesigned bar, benches, new plantings, and an extended pergola overhead, creating dramatic setting that transforms the panoramic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline into theatrical backdrops for the installation.
The total effect of sculptures and environment is a dazzling, disorienting scene where all senses of the interpretive history associated with Museum objects has vanished, making way for and alternative history for art.
This project is dedicated to the memory of Ronald Street, The Met’s first head of digital imaging. Please enjoy more photos, which I shot during two separate visits this past summer!