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The Bates Motel haunts the Met rooftop sculpture garden this summer

Written by
Howard Halle

Nothing says spooky like a dilapidated Victorian house, which is why visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop this summer may feel a definite gothic-horror vibe. That’s because its latest outdoor sculpture commission carries more than a passing resemblance to the Bates home of Psycho fame.

The creation of British artist and Turner Prize nominee Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)—as the 30-foot high, Second-Empire style structure is called—is indeed based on the famed building from the Hitchcock movie. But according to the artist, the work's DNA also includes references to Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, House by The Railroad (which is MoMA’s collection), and to the classic American red barn. PsychoBarn is in fact built of wood salvaged from a barn in Scoharie, New York, giving the piece a weathered appearance.

True to the work’s Hollywood inspiration, however, PsychoBarn consists of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. This is actually historically accurate since the movie lot original was also constructed as a two-walled facade. Parker’s piece will be up until October 31—which, as it happens, is also Halloween.

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