Artist inspired by Hitchcock and Hopper for 'PsychoBarn' installation on museum rooftop

by Kim Megson | 18 Apr 2016

Acclaimed artist Cornelia Parker has taken inspiration from the paintings of Edward Hopper and the ominous Bates mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho to create a large-scale roof garden commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

For the fourth year running, the Met has organised a site-specific rooftop exhibit mixing architecture, art and design. The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), which opens to the public tomorrow (19 April), is a 30ft mansion-like structure fabricated from a deconstructed red barn – itself an emblem of American architecture – which provides an unusual contrast to the Manhattan skyline.

On close inspection, the house is revealed to be formed of two facades propped up from behind by scaffolding. Parker’s design is intended to combine the authentic and the illusory, evoking the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces.

The shape of the house is inspired by Hopper’s 1925 painting House by the Railroad and the home of Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s classic 1960 horror. In contrast, the blood-red paint, wooden floors, whitewashed posts and corrugated steel roofing are intended to underline that the materials were once used as a barn on a New York farm.

In a statement, the Met said: “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.

“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.”

Sheena Wagstaff, the museum's chair of modern and contemporary art, added: “Cornelia has developed an astonishing architectural folly. It intertwines a Hitchcock-inspired iconic structure with the materiality of the rural vernacular.

“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."

Funding for the exhibit, which will run until 21 October 2016, has been provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

Parker is known for her fascination with material and popular culture and throughout her career has attempted to transform familiar objects into something new. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010.

Cornelia Parker  Alfred Hitchcock  Edward Hopper  PsychoBarn  Metropolitan Art Museum  New York  rooftop sculpture  Manhattan 
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Acclaimed artist Cornelia Parker has taken inspiration from the paintings of Edward Hopper and the ominous Bates mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho to create a large-scale roof garden commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. For the fourth year running, the Met has organised a site-specific rooftop exhibit mixing architecture, art and design. The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), which opens to the
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The installation, called Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), will be displayed on the Met Museum's rooftop between 19 April-31 October 2016 / The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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