Cornelia Parker Constructs “PsychoBarn” on the Met’s Rooftop


“Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)” Photography by Alex Fradkin, Courtesy of the Artist

Juxtaposing the styles of two architectural emblems­—a late Victorian house with a mansard roof and a classic red barn—British artist Cornelia Parker has conceived the latest installation of site-specific works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden, on view now through October 31.


Photography by Alex Fradkin, Courtesy of the Artist

Rising to 30 feet high, “Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)” features a scaled-down architectural folly fabricated from a deconstructed red barn, which draws inspiration from the haunted mansion of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, as it recalls the early twentieth century paintings of Edward Hopper. Propped up by scaffolding from behind, the structure incorporates two facades comprised of red siding, whitewashed posts, and corrugated steel roofing, all acquired from a century-old barn in upstate New York.


Photography by Alex Fradkin, Courtesy of the Artist

“PsychoBarn’s” rooftop site produces coinciding views of small-scale rural architecture against the sprawling metropolitan backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline and the surrounding Central Park. This unique post procures a manifestation of America’s transition from prosperous small-towns to big cities.


Photography by Alex Fradkin, Courtesy of the Artist

“Instead of simple Surrealist displacement, the structure seems more truly like an apparition, a ghostly reminder of 19th-century America’s once-thriving towns and small cities,” writes Roberta Smith in the New York Times. “Seeing the piece from the museum’s roof against Manhattan’s stone and steel skyline, I first thought of a larger horror: the quantity of great or at least good architecture heedlessly razed to make way for mostly awful, soul-killing buildings.”


Image by Hyla Skopitz, The Metropolitan Museum of Art © 2016

“Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)” will be on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Fifth Avenue’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden until October 31.

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