I’ve been fortunate to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art probably half a dozen times since it reopened last July, post-Covid lockdown, but the building’s roof garden only just reopened in April, for the debut of its latest site-specific commission. As Long As The Sun Lasts, by Philadelphia-based artist Alex Da Corte, is a whimsical mash up of Sesame Street and the works of Alexander Calder that could light up the rooftop even on the cloudiest day.
On Father’s Day — which thank goodness could not have been a more gorgeous day weather-wise — I was finally able to see this fantastic sculpture in person and, even better, get a few photos with no other people in them! Please enjoy too many photos as you learn more about this fun work of public art.
As Long As The Sun Lasts is comprised of a base with three interlocking pieces and a mobile component that sways and rotates gently with passing air currents.
With his design, Da Corte evokes the liveliness and unpredictability of Calder’s practice, while also emphasizing a do-it-yourself inventiveness by fashioning the base of the work in the modular language of an outdoor activity set by Little Tikes, which requires no tools for assembly and can be easily reconfigured.
Suspended from near the top of the sculpture, covered in roughly 7,000 individually placed laser-cut aluminum feathers, Big Bird is found perched on a crescent moon with a ladder in hand — suggesting the possibility of passage back to Earth or to other galaxies.
Sitting alone, gazing out at the New York skyline, Big Bird has an introspective, melancholic disposition that is amplified by Da Corte’s decision to render the character in blue instead of yellow. This choice of color also gestures to the artist’s personal associations with Big Bird: growing up partially in Venezuela, he watched the Brazilian version of Sesame Street, in which Big Bird’s counterpart, Garibaldo, was blue.
The color also alludes to the 1985 film Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, in which the character, while out on a road trip, is captured and painted blue by two carnival operators.
The title for the commission comes from a collection of whimsical short stories by the Italian author Italo Calvino about the potential of new explorations. Read the full official press release at This Link.
Alex Da Corte’s As Long as the Sun Lasts will be on Exhibit through October 31st, 2021 in The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Located at 81st Street and 5th Avenue in NYC.