overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden

for the met’s 2021 roof garden commission, philadelphia-based artist alex da corte has created a 26-foot-tall (8 meters) kinetic sculpture titled ‘as long as the sun lasts’. the work — which will remain on view until october 31, 2021 — features the modern aesthetic of alexander calder’s standing mobiles, while incorporating the beloved sesame street character, big bird. ‘alex da corte’s bold work for the cantor roof garden oscillates between joy and melancholy, and brings a playful message of optimism and reflection,’ explains max hollein, marina kellen french director of the met. ‘the installation, which the artist initiated just as the pandemic was taking hold, invites us to look through a familiar, popular, modern lens at our own condition in a transformed emotional landscape.’

alex da corte
all installation views: the roof garden commission, alex da corte, as long as the sun lasts, 2021
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art (also main image)

 

 

located on the met’s iris and b. gerald cantor roof garden, the sculpture gently rotates in the wind, encouraging visitors to pause and reflect. ‘we are reminded that stability is an illusion, but ultimately what we see is a statement of belief in the potential of transformation,’ hollein continues. titled ‘as long as the sun lasts’, a name derived from a collection of whimsical short stories by the italian author italo calvino about the potential of new explorations, the work comprises a base with three interlocking pieces and a mobile component that sways and rotates gently with the wind.

alex da corte
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

 

 

suspended from near the top of the sculpture, covered in roughly 7,000 individually placed laser-cut aluminum feathers, big bird is found perched on a crescent moon with a ladder in hand — suggesting the possibility of passage back to earth or afar. sitting alone, gazing out at the new york skyline, big bird has an introspective, melancholic disposition emphasized by da corte’s decision to render the character in blue instead of yellow. this color references the brazilian version of sesame street, watched by alex da corte while growing up partially in venezuela, in which big bird’s counterpart, garibaldo, was blue.

alex da corte
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

 

 

the work simultaneously evokes the liveliness and unpredictability of calder’s practice, while also emphasizing a DIY inventiveness by fashioning the base of the piece in the modular language of a ‘little tikes’ activity set. the piece was conceived by the artist in consultation with sheena wagstaff, leonard a. lauder chairman of modern and contemporary art, and shanay jhaveri, assistant curator of international modern and contemporary art, both of the met’s department of modern and contemporary art.

alex da corte
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

 

 

‘by tapping icons of art and popular culture from our collective consciousness, alex da corte has created a new type of monument with this commission,’ says sheena wagstaff. ‘played out between earth and sky via the benign intercessor of a big, anthropomorphic bird, we are offered the divine possibility of innocence and play as a redemptive power that is spirited, absurd, and deadly serious.’

 

the piece is the ninth in a series of site-specific commissions for the outdoor space, following work by, among others, pierre huyghe, and cornelia parker.

alex da corte
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

alex da corte
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

met-museum-alex-da-corte-roof-garden-designboom-08X

image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by anna-marie kellen, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

overlooking new york city, big bird rests on the moon in alex da corte's whimsical kinetic work on the met's roof garden
image by hyla skopitz, courtesy the metropolitan museum of art

 

 

project info:

 

the roof garden commission 2021
artist: alex da corte
title: as long as the sun lasts 
exhibition dates: april 16 – october 31, 2021
exhibition location: the iris and b. gerald cantor roof garden, gallery 926

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