Tethered to the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is a cloud waiting to take off! The rooftop sculpture — a modular mass of clear plexiglass, polished steel and tension cables — was created by Argentinean sculptor Tomás Saraceno. Measuring 54 feet long and 29 feet high, the “Cloud City” installation is part of the Met’s rooftop sculpture program, which is now in its fifteenth year. It is also the artist’s first major commissioned, site-specific installation in the United States.
A Dizzying Experience
“Cloud City” consists of 16 interconnected 12- and 14-sided polyhedrons the size of small rooms. Each module is comprised of plexiglass segments cut in non-identical geometric shapes and held in place by steel joints, reinforcements and steel cables.
Visitors are invited to explore the inside of the sculpture by climbing up and down transparent interior staircases and in and out of the sometimes reflective, sometimes see-through rooms. It’s often a dizzying experience compounded by the array of reflections one sees, with images of the sky, the Met, the nearby buildings, your own feet, and the treetops of Central Park all colliding and changing places!
“What inspired me was the geometry of soap bubbles or foam, of how they connect one sphere to the other,” says Saraceno. Anne Strauss, the Met’s Modern and Contemporary Art curator, says the rooftop program offers visitors the widest variety of artistic styles. “Our sculpture program up on the roof has increasingly been one to work with living artists who come here and they respond to this remarkable setting,” says Strauss.
Like Floating in Space
Saraceno says his work acts as a prism through which to see New York City. Children’s entertainment website Mommy Poppins says that the clear plexiglass panels give you the sense of floating in space with nothing below to support you, while the mirrored panels create a fun-house effect. “It’s a bit disorienting,” writes editor Anna Fader, “a bit scary, but also lots of fun!” The “Cloud City” exhibit opened in April and runs until November 4, 2012.
Tell Us about Your Visit
Sculptors and artists interested in learning more about working with plexiglass or other plastic materials are encouraged to call one of the experts at E&T Plastics for information and samples. If any of our readers has the opportunity to visit the “Cloud City” exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, please tell us about your experience by writing in the box below.