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Storify of My Top-to-Bottom Wander Through the Metropolitan Museum: Graham’s Rooftop Funhouse

Tom Campbell, the Metropolitan Museum's director, enjoying the sunny debut of Dan Graham's Roof Garden commission Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Tom Campbell, Metropolitan Museum’s director, enjoying the sunny debut of Dan Graham’s Roof Garden commission
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

One of the unexpected joys of having an 11-month-old grandson is seeing everything afresh through his unjaded eyes. I can’t wait to see how he responds to the Metropolitan Museum’s new rooftop installation, which I experienced with the scribe tribe on a cooperatively sunny Monday morning.

My art critic’s reaction to Dan Graham’s Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout (enhanced by landscape architect Günther Vogt with trellised ivy) was that the pleasantly disorienting time-space warp inside its curvy walls reminded me of navigating through one of Richard Serra‘s torqued elipses, but without the uneasy sensation of confinement. Whereas Serra’s mazes are opaque and hermetic, Graham’s light-filled pavilion is reflective and transparent.

These musings were quickly supplanted by my Grandma response: How will my curious little explorer react to what I and the NY TimesKaren Rosenberg described as the “funhouse” effect of the semi-mirrored glass walls that make you fat where they’re convex and skinny where they’re concave—all while reflecting the surrounding cityscape and allowing views in from the outside? Assuming that the guards allow this, my guy will also have great fun crawling around on the artificial grass that now covers the entire Roof Garden, outside the pavilion’s perimeter.

In a film shown elsewhere at the Met of a pavilion that Graham created for a private collector, the artist mentions that it had actually been designed with a little boy in mind. So my eccentric grandson-centric reaction wasn’t all that far off. Since he will probably try to kiss his own image, I fingered the glass and noted approvingly that it seemed to be smudge-resistant (unlike the much-Windexed glass of my living room).

Feeling refreshed by this sojourn on the roof, I wandered semi-aimlessly through the museum—a luxury which, strangely, I rarely allow myself on mission-driven visits. After leaving the Met, I attended a panel discussion at the Museum of Modern Art and had (as you will see, below) a close encounter with the still intact bronze panels on the façade of the former American Folk Art Museum building. Those panels, which I photographed, will soon be removed (if they haven’t been already) as part of MoMA’s destruction project that precedes its planned construction project.

Here’s my eclectic day, in tweets:

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