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The Roof Garden Commission: Lauren Halsey

Thomas, Abraham, and Douglas Kearney
64 pages
40 illustrations
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Lauren Halsey is known for her sculptures, mixed media works, and site-specific installations that remix (or, as Halsey says, “funkify”) history by combining signs, symbols, and architecture from the past, present, and future. In her new installation for The Met’s Roof Garden Commission series, she brings together ancient Egyptian–inspired iconography and sculpture with signage and texts drawn from the artist’s local community in South Central Los Angeles. Accompanied by new photography and unpublished sketches from Halsey’s studio, this compact volume contains an insightful essay by curator Abraham Thomas that examines Halsey’s artistic process and considers this installation in the context of her past work. In a revealing interview with poet Douglas Kearney, the artist discusses her diverse influences—which include ancient Egyptian relief carving, funk music, Afrofuturism, and the architecture of L.A.—and elaborates on the importance of community building and engagement in the spaces she creates.

False Door of the Royal Sealer Neferiu, Limestone, paint
ca. 2150–2010 B.C.
Model of a house, Pottery
ca. 1750–1700 B.C.
FreedomEx, Lauren Halsey  American, Gypsum on wood
Column with Hathor-emblem capital and names of Nectanebo I on the shaft, Limestone, paint
380–362 B.C.
The Temple of Dendur, Aeolian sandstone
completed by 10 B.C.
Lintel of Amenemhat I and Deities, Limestone, paint
ca. 1981–1952 B.C.
Incised furniture plaque with a frieze of lotus blossoms and buds, Ivory, paint traces, Assyrian
ca. 9th–8th century BCE
Funeral Ritual in a Garden, Tomb of Minnakht, Charles K. Wilkinson, Tempera on paper
A.D. 1921; original ca. 1479–1425 B.C.
East Wall, South Side of Nakht's Offering Chapel, Norman de Garis Davies, Tempera on paper
1908–1910; original ca. 1410–1370 B.C.
Relief block from a building of Amenemhat I, Limestone, paint
ca. 1981–1952 B.C.

View Citations

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), Lauren Halsey, Abraham Thomas, Douglas Kearney, and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden (New York, N.Y.), eds. 2023. Lauren Halsey. Roof Garden Commission. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.