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Big Bambú at the Met

Starting tomorrow, visitors at the Met can head up to the roof (weather permitting) to witness identical twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn as they build a 50 foot high bamboo structure that, over the course of the spring, summer and fall, will take on the shape of a “cresting wave.” The first phase, measuring 100 feet long, 50 feet wide and 30 feet tall has already completed with the help of a team of rock climbers who will continue to assist the artists over the duration of the exhibition.

I have a feeling that watching the group of builders scale an open structure made of only bamboo and nylon rope 50 feet above roof-level on the Met will be more compelling stuff than the finished work itself. It’s very possible I’ll be wrong, and I truly hope I am, but one can’t help but be skeptical of an exhibition that references Beastie Boys lyrics in its title, “Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Won’t, and You Don’t Stop.” The Met doesn’t mention the connection anywhere in its press release, but it’s a direct lift from “Sure Shot” from the 1994 album Ill Communication, followed immediately by the catchy line “I’ve got the brand new doo-doo, guaranteed like Yoo-Hoo.” I wonder if that has anything to do with the juxtaposition of the natural bamboo set against the urban backdrop of the New York skyline the artists’ were going for? It reminds me a lot of the roof’s previous inhabitant, a sculpture by Roxy Paine that also sought to evoke the disparity between urban NY and the artist’s natural forms. Hey Met, I’m starting to get it.