The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Roof Garden is getting a little spooky this summer, thanks to a 25-foot-high red house installation, affectionately dubbed PsychoBarn. It's the statement piece of this year's site-specific rooftop commission at the Met, and blends ideas of New York's colonial past, Edward Hopper, urban-rural difference, psychology and Hitchcock's own Psycho.
The installation's full name is "Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)." Conceived by British artist Cornelia Parker, the piece is made of wooden siding, beams, and rafters sourced from a farm in Schoharie, New York. In an homage to Psycho and its iconic Bates Mansion, the installation is actually a two-thirds scale of the real house and has been left unfinished on its two rear sides. Parker borrowed the idea from Hitchcock, who designed and build his film set the same way.
"I've always loved Edward Hopper's paintings of red barns," Parker said Monday morning, facing PsychoBarn on the Met rooftop. Inspiration for the piece was also found in New York City's earliest days as New Amsterdam: Parker has said that the European settlers who dismantled their barns and brought them across the Atlantic Ocean were on her mind throughout the process. "Hopper, Hitchcock, and the red barns. It's really a combination of all three," she said.
And what about the "Transitional Object"? Parker borrowed the term from psychologists, who use it to describe the blankets and teddy bears that wean children off emotional dependence of their mothers. The barn itself is also in transition, half-finished and out of place among Manhattan's angular skyline of steel and glass.
"Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)" is on view from April 19 through October 31.