Photo Essays

Folly on the Roof of the Met

by Michael Groth on May 6, 2014

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Detail of Dan Graham & Gunter Vögt, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’ (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently opened the second in a series of commissions for its rooftop garden overlooking Central Park. The new installation, “Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout,” is a collaboration between artist Dan Graham and landscape architect Gunther Vögt. It consists of a large S-curve metal and reflective glass wall flanked by two vine-covered trellises. The kempt lawn surrounding the structure slopes gradually upwards to meet its marble foundation.

Graham refers to this structure as a pavilion, the historical precedent of small, decorative architectural structures frequently used in traditional European garden design. It is perhaps more accurate to place this piece in the vein of the architectural folly, as this captures its spontaneous and playful character.

The use of such banal elements as residential hedges and semi-reflective glass — which could have been plucked out of any number of modern high-rises — lends a familiarity and invites exploration. The interplays of reflection and opacity, organic matter and modernist grid, human scale and the ever-present New York skyline create a multifaceted and personal experience for the viewer.

Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout, Installation View

‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout,’ installation view facing North

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Graham discusses the work.

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‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout,’ installation view facing South

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Detail, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Detail, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Detail, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Detail, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Detail

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Detail, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Detail, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Installation view, ‘Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout’

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Model for “Double Exposure” proposal (1995)

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“Triangular Solid with Circular Cut-Outs, Variation K” (2011–14)

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“Triangular Solid with Circular Cut-Outs, Variation K” (2011–14)

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Gunther Vögt continues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through November 2.

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