Well, I must say it’s very good I no longer live in Manhattan because I fear I would abandon all my clients just to blog about exhibitions, buildings, and random design events ALL THE TIME! There is far too much going on here, and I must say I am almost looking forward to the slower pace of Utah, where there are, of course, always things to blog about, but maybe just one or two things per week instead of seventy. ALMOST.

Anyway, since there are so many things going on, and the memory stick in my pathetic little point-and-click camera is totally full, I decided to pick two things I most enjoyed over the past few days and am hoping you might enjoy as well. But don’t worry, the other stuff will be on view later when I run out of Utah things to discuss.

So here we go….


OK. So at first one must just bask in the glory of the view. Don’t worry about reading the text on the artist, don’t even look at the really cool installation. Walk directly out to the edge of the garden and behold – Manhattan in all its glory….


And some more….


And just a bit more….
(And yes, I know there is some green in here too, but I can handle nature as long as its highly manicured and framed by the glories of man.)  OK, now we can get on to the exhibition. Yes there is art, if you can pull yourself away from this view. Utah, you’ve got it good in the red rock department, but you just can’t beat this for my taste. Sorry.
Every summer the Met’s rooftop garden hosts a new art installation unique to this glorious spot. It is always a treat to visit, especially since they serve wine up here.  In the past the roof garden has seen the great works of:
Roxy Paine (2009) :



Jeff Koons (2008) :

Frank Stella (2007) :
And this year I was lucky enough to make it to a most interesting installation by Doug and Mike Starn entitled Big Bambu. Now, I think it might not be my absolute favorite I have seen in this locale, but it is certainly towards the top of the list. (I would say Ms. Paine pulled her Maelstrom installation off beautifully, however Mr. Koons, I was somewhat uninspired).
Instead of regurgitating everything I read there about the artist’s intent, I will merely quote the museum:

“The monumental bamboo structure, ultimately measuring 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 50 feet high, takes the form of a cresting wave that bridges realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance. Visitors witness the continuing creation and evolving incarnations of Big Bambú as it is constructed throughout the spring, summer, and fall by the artists and a team of rock climbers. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, Big Bambú suggests the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism.”

Here you can see the still-developing cresting wave outline:

Big Bambu towers above the roof garden…not the most settling thing to look at when you are already on top of quite a high building. At least for me. I can only think of its ongoing construction and this amazing image from the Met website:

Although according to one insider, it is quite an amazing experiece to ascend up the walkways into the heart of the installation:
However, the uneasy feeling looking through the mess of reeds and out across the nothingness that hangs above Central Park, is countered by the density felt when walking under the stalks…it is almost as if you are in a forest and reminds me of Hawaii. It is quite peaceful looking up through the bamboo.
I would love to see it at night with these lights on and all the cast shadows.
Have you seen any of the above?  What do you consider the most successful…this is such a great space, it warrants someone really taking the location into consideration and accentuating…
So I thought after so much high art, we would just quickly stroll down the streets close to the Met (my absolute favorite area of NYC- the blocks between 60th and 90th between 5th Ave and Lex) and look at a few townhouses of my dreams.  This would not be the only place I would purchase property if I was a billionaire along Bill Gates’ lines, but probably one of the first.
1. #15, somewhere in the 60’s (I have real thing for lion heads outside a residence…we will discuss that later….but this is just a beauty…refined and elegant, what more could you ask for?  Well, maybe the car out front too?!)
2. # 7 somewhere in the 70’s (what a neoclassical beauty!  Very regal with beautifully proportioned  columns)
3. # 8 in the 80’s (A much more subtle, Federal-styled townhouse)
4. The twins in the 90’s (I would have trouble choosing between these neighboring houses…it would probably come down to the balcony on number 2…but then there is all that lovely ivy on number 1!)
Which one would you purchase with your Gates-style money and then have me decorate for you?  See you next week in the Land of the Midnight Sun!
Christa Pirl

6 comment(s)

Wow – I like how Big Bambu looks. If it's still up the next time I'm in New York, I'll have to check that out.

Great to see you last weekend. Enjoy your visit!

I am no stranger to the Met roof top garden – I agree is a most enjoyable place. You slag off the Jeff Koons exhibit with little explanation. I agree that his sculpture seems a bit frivolous at times, but I think he is highly amusing in general. Do you not like Koons in general, or did you find the 2008 exhibit specifically subpar?

Thanks for the comment, Son of Zion…I did not explain why I did not enjoy Koons- good point. As for Koons, I think 'a bit frivolous' and 'highly amusing' is a pretty good description! I do enjoy Koons quite a bit, but I felt with the Met roof, the artist really should be adressing the very unique site. There was, in my opinion, nothing site specific about Koons…he simply dropped his typical sculpture onto the roof. Both Roxy Paine and the Starn bros. used the space to much greater effect. You walk into another space, the works both integrated well with the site and surrounding Central Park.

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