Every summer art meets the Manhattan’s skyline across the green vista of Central Park thanks to the installations annually commissioned for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop garden. This year’s edition comes courtesy of Pierre Huyghe, the internationally renowned French artist know for poetic projects that encompass video, sculpture and landscaping. Each could be described as an enigmatic, even unsettling—a kind of archaeological excavation of that metaphorical place where the interaction between culture and nature makes the natural world seem unnatural. For the piece at the Met, segments of the roof’s paving stones have been pried off, stacked to the side like lids from freshly exhumed sarcophagi. The centerpiece is a large aquarium in which a large rock can be seen inexplicably floating above a mound suggesting a volcano sculpted from mud lining the bottom of the tank; it’s also filled with small lampreys wriggling through the water. Most noticeably, the sides of the talk periodically assume a milky opacity, as if someone suddenly flipped a switch to hide the view. The piece goes back and forth like that, alternately obscuring and revealing the contents within. Mystical, head-scratching and undeniably beautiful, Huyghe’s installation is a reminder that all is not what it seems.
“The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe” is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden May 12–Nov 1 (weather permitting).
RECOMMENDED: The full guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY