Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of the great New York City signifiers of Spring is the re-opening of the Metropolitan’s glorious Roof Garden, with its fabulous views of Central Park, readily available snacks and cocktails, and, of course, spectacular pieces of art. In past years this coveted space has been given to such luminaries as Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Andy Goldsworthy, Sol LeWitt, and Frank Stella. This year the honor goes to Roxy Paine, and the sculptor delivers in style with a raging, witty, gleaming colossus called Maelstrom.  

This is Paine’s largest work to date, an awesome arboreal spectacle covering some 130- by 45-feet of Met rooftop, and his first in New York City since his Madison Square Park trio in 2007. Made of welded stainless steel–some 10,000 pieces of pipe and rolled plating went into ordered chaos–Maelstrom fills almost the entire terraced space, and is designed to walk under and through and around. outdoor artwork Spend some time here on a sunny afternoon and you’ll notice how the Dendroid’s spindly shadows seem to double the piece’s volume, and heighten the drama. Residents of Upper East Side Manhattan real estate come here on a Friday or Saturday evening, have a drink at the bar, and, as the sun does down, watch the interplay between the weathered glass, steel and stone of the city’s buildings, the hundred shades of green canopying Central Park, and the shiny, sprawling tendrils of Paine’s masterpiece. And if you look closely, you’ll see one of our favorite touches, a sly reference to the sculpture’s origin as piles of piping: the two spots where the “tree” seems to feeding itself directly from the rooftop’s water valves. outdoor artwork

Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom

Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom will be on view until October 25, 2009, weather permitting. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:23 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The museum is located on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street.

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