Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud City on the Roof Garden at the Met

Cloud City Poster at Met

Every year from May through October, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has their roof garden open with a new exhibit. This summer’s sweet delight is called Cloud City by Tomás Saraceno, an Argentinian artist.

Today, I visited the exhibit and took a few photos. This year, as it was year before last with the exhibit called Big Bambú by Doug and Mike Starn, It’s an interactive structure. This one instead of bamboo-made is all mirrors, glass and steel (however, visitors couldn’t go up into Big Bambú unless they were a VIP).

Visitors can look at it externally, and/or can get a free ticket and climb the steps up to the top of it on the inside, which I did. The tickets are for the reason to limit the number of people at the same time in the delicate structure that can only hold only so much weight. The Met issues tickets for every 15 minutes, which is about how long the walk from the bottom to the top and back to the base takes, including pauses to take in the views. I went to get my ticket around 1:30 p.m. and couldn’t get a ticket until the 3:00 p.m. climb.

Cloud City makes for a good photo op.

One isn’t allowed to take photos from the inside, only from the outside. If you bring a camera with you, the Met provides a locker for you to lock your camera and belongings up before you go climb the stair up into Cloud City.

looking in from outside. Cloud City has empty spaces as well as mirrors and glass.

Being in the glass, mirror and steel structure feels somewhat like being in a room of mirrors in an amusement park, except you are in a much smaller space in the fresh air and get to see nice views of the City of New York around Central Park.

This shows how some of the window panes are cut in half.  You get a view of the entire city from up there at the top.  A nice place to have a discussion.

Perhaps it’s called Cloud City because one is supposed to feel as thought they are in a cloud, but I couldn’t equate it to that. I imagine a cloud as being peaceful, like when one is flying through clouds on an airplane. Being inside this structure isn’t peaceful. It’s disconcerting.  The purpose of the small panes of glass is to break up the view to the outside and to give one a different perspective of their space.

Cloud City on the Roof Garden at the Met

The entire point of the structure is to give a person a different experience as far as their relationship to space is concerned.

The Met has a bar on the roof near the sculpture where you can buy one of their over-priced alcoholic beverages ($8.00 for a bottled beer, $12.00 for a cocktail–however, the money goes to help support the museum).  I guess that’s for people who feel they need some fortification for looking at Cloud City.  Or else, after you see it, if you feel you need a drink, there’s a bar right there to serve you at $12.00 a shot.  The museum is probably cleaning up.  You are allowed to drink while looking at Cloud City from the outside, but you aren’t allowed to drink while inside. Cloud City could make you feel tipsy without any outside help.

When I paused on my walk to the top, a guide asked me if I were okay.  She said that when people paused on their climb to the top,  it was often because they felt dizzy or nauseous.  I told her I was fine.

This is the entrance to walk the steps up inside. the sign indicates that people who have tickets for 2:00 p.m. can now go up. The module is delicate and not very many people are allowed on it at one time, something like around 10, I think.  The hostess there takes the tickets.
This is one view of 5th Avenue from the Roof Garden. It was a very warm, sunny day today, June 15, 2012

Even if you aren’t interested in Cloud City, just being on the roof of the Met in the summer and looking at Manhattan and the park around you is a wonderful New York City experience.  As for myself, I like these interactive art projects.

You might like to check out my post on last summer’s (2011) roof garden exhibit by Anthony Caro. Or, the 2010 Roof Garden Exhibit called Big Bambú.

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