Psychodrama: Cornelia Parker’s New Work Rules the Rooftop of the Met

The artist drew inspiration from “Psycho.”

Calendar: Cornelia Parker

The British artist Cornelia Parker makes sculptures that appear to be magically caught in flux or just barely unstable. In Anti-Mass, chunks of charred timber from a Southern Baptist church destroyed by arson are suspended from the ceiling with wire; and The Maybe, a collaboration with Tilda Swinton, presented the actress sleeping in a glass vitrine. When commissioned to make a work for the rooftop of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Parker struck on a characteristically sinister idea: transforming an old red barn (“synonymous with wholesome America,” in her words) into Norman Bates’s house from Psycho. (Transitional Object [Psycho Barn] is on view through October 30.) “It’s an innocent object that’s been corrupted,” she says. “I’m trying to put good and evil together, I suppose—the poison and the antidote.” As Hitchcock did for the film, Parker is building only two sides of the structure; hers will stand 26 feet. “People are always complaining about there being no shade,” she says of the Met’s popular lookout location. “I quite like the idea of visitors being in the shade of the Psycho house.”

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