Press release

Roxy Paine Creates Monumental Sculpture for 2009 Installation of Metropolitan Museum's Roof Garden

Installation dates: April 28–November 29, 2009 (weather permitting)
Location: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden

Conceptual artist Roxy Paine (American, b. 1966) has created a site-specific installation for the 2009 season of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the most dramatic outdoor space for sculpture in New York City. Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom features a 130-foot-long by 45-foot-wide stainless-steel sculpture, Maelstrom (2009), that encompasses the nearly 8,000-square-foot Roof Garden, and is the largest sculpture to have been installed on the roof of the Metropolitan. Set against, and in dialogue with, the greensward of Central Park and its architectural backdrop, this swirling entanglement of stainless- steel pipe showcases the work of an artist keenly interested in the interplay between the natural world and the built environment, as well as the human desire for order amid nature's inherently chaotic processes.

The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg.
Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
The exhibition is also made possible in part by Jill and Peter Kraus.

Gary Tinterow, the Museum's Engelhard Chairman of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, stated: "Roxy Paine has created for the Metropolitan Museum his most remarkable work to date, a stunning sculpture that commands the environment through interaction. I feel certain that our visitors will marvel at the complexity of the structure, and delight in its beauty."

A provocateur, Paine builds elaborate and complex constructions to address conceptually complex concerns, providing fertile ground for thought and contemplation. Since the mid-1990s, he has created a diverse body of work that falls into several distinct yet related categories: naturalistic works (startlingly realistic, hand-formed replicas of botanical forms and fungi, rendered with synthetic materials and featuring various stages of growth and decay); machine-based works (intricate, computer-driven machines that mechanically produce abstract paintings, sculptures, and drawings); and a series of large-scale stainless-steel Dendroids, fabricated from industrial components.

In the latter category, Maelstrom is Paine's most complex and ambitious sculpture to date, evoking a Da Vinci-like study of whirling water or a neural network. It is part of a series of work based on dendrites' branching structures such as trees, neurons, industrial pipelines, or vascular networks. The Dendroids, as the series is called, began in 1998 with installations studying the innate logic of trees. Exquisitely crafted and largely handwrought, Maelstrom is composed of thousands of variously sized, cylindrical stainless-steel pipes and rods that have been welded together. More than seven tons of material comprise the sculpture, which was hand-welded in the artist's upstate New York studio. Familiar themes are at play—artificiality and the natural world, sly humor and irony, control and chaos, abstraction and figuration, and the machine-made and the handmade—while conceptually complex concerns are addressed, such as human desire to control nature and nature's indifference to that desire. Visitors are encouraged to move throughout the installation to experience its inherent drama and turbulence.

Born in New York in 1966, Paine grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. He left home at age 15, crisscrossing the United States, and studied art at the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico (1985–86), and Pratt Institute, New York (1986–88). Since 1990, his work has been exhibited internationally and is included in a wide spectrum of public and private collections in the United States and abroad. He lives and works in Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Treadwell, New York.

In conjunction with the installation, some education programs will be offered, including gallery talks on May 28, June 16, July 7, and July 23. The installation will also be featured on the Museum's website at

Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom is organized by Anne L. Strauss, Associate Curator of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with organizational assistance by Taylor Miller, Associate Building Manager for Exhibitions, and graphics by Barbara Weiss, Senior Graphic Designer.

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The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden opened to the public in 1987. Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom is the 12th consecutive single-artist installation for the Roof Garden. The past 11 annual installations have featured large-scale works by contemporary artists: Ellsworth Kelly (1998), Magdalena Abakanowicz (1999), David Smith (2000), Joel Shapiro (2001), Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (2002), Roy Lichtenstein (2003), Andy Goldsworthy (2004), Sol LeWitt (2005), Cai Guo-Qiang (2006), Frank Stella (2007), and Jeff Koons (2008).

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Sandwiches, snacks, desserts, and beverage service—including espresso, cappuccino, iced tea, soft drinks, wine, and beer—will be available at the Roof Garden Café daily from 10 a.m. until closing, as weather permits. A martini bar will also be open on the Roof Garden on Friday and Saturday evenings (5:30–8 p.m.).

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Slide orientation lectures take place in the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall, Uris Center for Education. All talks given by Deborah Howes.

Thursday, May 28, 11:00
Tuesday, June 16, 11:00
Tuesday, July 7, 11:00
Thursday, July 23, 10:00
Tuesday, September 15, 11:00
Friday, September 25, 7:00


Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom
Immersing viewers in what seems to be a cataclysmic force of nature, Maelstrom (2009) is a 130-foot-long by 45-foot-wide stainless-steel sculpture by American artist Roxy Paine (b. 1966), created especially for the Museum's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Discuss the sculpture's invocation of vascular networks, tree roots, industrial piping, and the interplay between the natural world and the built environment. For information and to register, go to, call (212) 570-3985, or email
Instructor: William Crow
Friday, July 31, 4:30–6:00, $20


El Departamento de Educación del Museo les invita a participar en el programa para la familia en español! Vengan con sus hijos (entre cuatro y diez años de edad) a nuestros talleres educativos. En las galerías charlaremos sobre diferentes temas, y los niños tendrán oportunidad de aprender y divertirse haciendo dibujos y actividades didácticas. Nos reuniremos en Carson Family Hall en el Uris Center for Education.

Para más información o reservar plaza, por favor llamen al (212) 650-2833 o envíen un correo electrónico a la dirección: Consulten el programa de actividades en el calendario.

Los árboles en el arte: Roxy Paine
El sábado 8 de agosto de 11:30 de la mañana a 1:00 de la tarde

Programs are free with Museum admission contribution unless otherwise noted.


The Museum is committed to serving all audiences. Please call us about services, including Sign Language–interpreted programs, Verbal Imaging Tours, the Touch Collection, and other programs. Voice: (212) 650-2010; TTY: (212) 570-3828;


Nolen Library has information about the Museum's collection, special exhibitions, and a Teacher Resource Center with a circulating collection for educators. There is also a Children's Reading Room, a specially designed space for families to read together from books in the library's collection. For further information please call (212) 570-3788.


For further information about our programs, visit the Museum's website at

Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom
The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg.
Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
The exhibition is also made possible in part by Jill and Peter Kraus.

We are grateful to the following for their support of educational programs:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's teacher-training programs and accompanying materials are made possible by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Inc., StratREAL Foundation USA, Wachovia Foundation, and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc.

El Primer Contacto con Arte ha sido posible, en parte, gracias al patrocinio de: The Goodman Memorial Foundation, Inc. y The Samuel and Rae Eckman Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Access programs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art are made possible by MetLife Foundation. Access programs are also made possible by the generous support of the Filomen M. D'Agostino Foundation. Additional support has been provided by The Ceil & Michael E. Pulitzer Foundation, Inc., the Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust, the Allene Reuss Memorial Trust, The Murray G. and Beatrice H. Sherman Charitable Trust, the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, Inc., and Jane B. Wachsler.

May 20, 2009

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