Although deploying four months later than normal (due to an obvious, unforeseen roadblock), the Metropolitan Museum of Art has revealed its 2020 Roof Garden commission, tapping Mexican artist Héctor Zamora to drop a timely intervention across the New York City institution’s outdoor terrace.
The 11-foot-tall Lattice Detour runs for over 100 feet and slices the length of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, a not-so-subtle reference to the rising wall currently bisecting the U.S.-Mexico border. However, while the real thing is impermeable and designed to intimidate, Zamora’s sculpture is permeable and airy. By turning the wall’s terra-cotta bricks on their side, Lattice Detour instead becomes something to a latticed celosia, providing airflow and shading for the otherwise unprotected visitors from the harsh sun; it also, like 2019’s ParaPivot I and ParaPivot II from artist Alicja Kwade, frames views of the Manhattan skyline. The enclosure in a semi-structure made from a raw, earthy material also helps viewers link the work more closely to the nearby Central Park than the towers of steel and glass surrounding the Met.
Although Lattice Detour is more inviting than an actual border wall, it still obstructs and guides movement across the roof for any (socially distanced) patrons.
“Using modest material, Hector Zamora’s Lattice Detour interrupts and refocuses how visitors interact with this beloved space, situated atop The Met and surrounded by the Manhattan skyline, creating a meditation on movement, transparency, and interference,” said Met director Max Hollein in a press release from the museum. “Manifesting itself as a protective wall, curved artwork, and permeable screen, Lattice Detour is a transformative, charged, and timely intervention.”
Lattice Detour opened to the public on August 29, when the Met’s main building on 5th Avenue reopened for the first time since the institution’s shut its doors in March. The piece will remain up through December 7, 2020, potentially giving viewers the unprecedented chance to enjoy a so-called summer sculpture in the snow.
This article was originally published on The Architect's Newspaper.