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Press release

The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe

May 12–November 1, 2015 (weather permitting) 

Exhibition Location: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, Gallery 926

French artist Pierre Huyghe will install the third in a new series of site-specific commissions for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Huyghe has spent the past 25 years working across media to create ritualistic situations and immersive encounters. At the Met, his project will explore the transformation of cultural and natural resources through an evolving process and a complex network of elements taken from the surrounding environment. The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe will be on view from May 12 through November 1, 2015 (weather permitting).

The exhibition is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

“We are proud to present this unusual new commission,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art. “For years, Pierre has created thought-provoking encounters with art and exhibitions that explore the surprising mutability between human, animal, plant, mineral or machine. In his project at the Met, Pierre has approached the Museum as if it were a mine by excavating the site and incorporating objects that are sourced within the Museum’s collection, its architectural layers, and the geological history of Central Park. The resulting matrix of mutating organisms rewards close attention as they shift and manifest themselves over the course of the summer, providing a unique experience each time the Roof Garden is visited.” 

“Pierre choreographs events that explore the complex and often contradictory ways in which we relate to the world and its intelligent and varied rhythms,” said Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “For this commission, the Roof Garden becomes a mineral landscape, an emerging network of unfolding events bound together by trickles of water, which run through the site like a circulatory system.” 

Huyghe has created an evolving organism continuously generating itself, a dynamic mesh of interconnected parts, objects and living entities, that emerge, transmute or disappear, perpetually in a transitional state, changing at their own rhythms and intensities It is a process spread all over the roof, from the behavior of living fossils hosted in a pulsating glass tank to a leak that crosses thresholds–all unfolding in an uncertain navigation that travels through different states of matter and life.

Inside the Museum, Pierre Huyghe Human Mask presents the New York premiere of Huyghe's new 19-minute film, Untitled (Human Mask), which portrays a creature's resilience in the aftermath of natural and man-made disaster. It is on view through August 9, 2015 in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, The Gioconda and Joseph King Gallery, south mezzanine, Gallery 916.

About the Artist
Pierre Huyghe (born 1962, Paris) was educated at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. He has had numerous international solo exhibitions at such venues as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2014); the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2013); the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2010); Tate Modern, London, England (2006); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2005); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2003); the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2001); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (1998). He has also participated in major international art shows, including Documenta XI (2002) and XIII (2012); Istanbul Biennial (1999); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1999); Manifesta 2, Luxembourg (1998); 2nd Johannesburg Biennial (1997); and Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon (1995). He was the recipient of the Kurt Schwitters Preis (2015), Roswitha Haftmann Preis Award (2013), Smithsonian American Museum’s Contemporary Artist Award (2010), Hugo Boss Prize (2002), and DAAD Artist in Residence grant in Berlin (1999-2000).  

Publication and Credits
In conjunction with the exhibition, the third in a new series of books considering the annual Roof Garden projects has been published. The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe features an essay by Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator, and an interview with the artist by Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, both of the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. The 64-page paperback is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press ($9.95).

The catalogue is made possible by the Mary and Louis S. Myers Foundation Endowment Fund.

The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe and its publication were conceived by Sheena Wagstaff and curated by Ian Alteveer, in consultation with the artist.

Education Programs
A variety of education programs will take place in conjunction with the exhibition.

The work of the artist will be featured on the Metropolitan Museum’s website, as well as on FacebookInstagram and Twitter via the hashtag #MetRoof.


Sandwiches, snacks, dessert, and beverage service—including espresso, cappuccino, iced tea, soft drinks, wine, and beer—will be available at the Roof Garden Café daily from 10:00 a.m. until closing, as weather permits. A martini bar will also be open on the Roof Garden on Friday and Saturday evenings (5:30–8:00 p.m.).


May 11, 2015

Installation view of The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. 
Photography by Hyla Skopitz, The Photograph Studio, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Copyright 2015.

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