why is the house from ‘psycho’ on the roof of the met museum?

British artist Cornelia Parker recreated the decrepit mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic thriller, and it’s now sitting atop the country’s largest art institution.

by Emily Manning
26 April 2016, 4:20pm

In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho, a twisted and provocative psychological thriller that's widely considered the godfather of slasher films. In the film's black and white trailer, the master himself shows us around the grounds of the Bates Motel, a "perfectly harmless looking" lodge turned violent crime scene, before leading us through its owner's house, "which is, if I may say so, a little more sinister looking — less innocent than the motel itself. And in this house, the most dire, horrible event took place."

Now, it's sitting on top of America's most visited institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For its annual Roof Garden Commission, the museum enlisted British conceptual artist Cornelia Parker, who chose to recreate the eerie symbol as Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), a 30-foot-tall artwork consisting of two facades propped up by scaffolding. The installation was constructed using original materials salvaged from a centuries old barn in upstate New York. "Cornelia has developed an astonishing architectural folly," said Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum's Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, "that intertwines a Hitchcock-inspired iconic structure with the materiality of the rural vernacular. Combining a deliciously subversive mix of inferences, ranging from innocent domesticity to horror, from the authenticity of landscape to the artifice of a film set, Cornelia's installation expresses perfectly her ability to transform clichés to beguile both eye and mind."

Weather permitting (or if ravenous birds don't rain down upon visitors) the installation will remain on top of the Met until — rather fittingly — October 31, when we're really hoping the museum throws a very Hitchcock Halloween party.


Text Emily Manning
Image via @jareddouglasmartin

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