Art museums are getting good at presenting fascinating works of PR—sorry, art.
Earlier this year, the Art Institute of Chicago built an amazing livable model of Van Gogh’s “Bedroom” to promote an exhibition of the artist’s work. Now, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has put up a roof installation that has everyone talking—a structure called PsychoBarn, by British artist Cornelia Parker, that recreates the sinister mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, but with a rural, barn-like exterior.
“For this summer’s Roof Garden Commission, Cornelia has developed an astonishing architectural folly that intertwines a Hitchcock-inspired iconic structure with the materiality of the rural vernacular,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the museum’s Leonard A. Lauder chairman of modern and contemporary art.
“Combining a deliciously subversive mix of inferences, ranging from innocent domesticity to horror, from the authenticity of landscape to the artifice of a film set, Cornelia’s installation expresses perfectly her ability to transform clichés to beguile both eye and mind.”
Parker’s structure is a work of art, not an ad, but it functions as the latter—particularly given its placement, which almost makes it a billboard. The museum describes it this way:
The title of Parker’s work alludes to the psychoanalytic theory of transitional objects used by children to help negotiate their self-identity as separate from their parents. The piece flickers between the physical reality of the barn and the cinematic fiction of the house, bringing up their respective ties to comfort and discomfort. Neither entirely real nor completely false, it vacillates unnervingly between its identities.
It will be on view to the public, fittingly enough, through Oct. 31, weather permitting.