The British artist Cornelia Parker—whose bronze sculpture Black Path (Bunhill Fields), 2013, dominates Frith Street Gallery’s stand (FL A1) at Frieze London —will create a site-specific installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The high-profile commission, which is expected to run from May until October 2016, is Parker’s first major solo presentation at a US museum.
Parker, who was shortlisted for the 1997 Turner Prize, has previously wrapped Rodin’s The Kiss in string and worked with the British Army to create an exploding garden shed seemingly frozen in time and space. She is the fourth artist, and first woman, commissioned by the Met to create a site-specific installation for the 10,000-sq.-ft garden overlooking Central Park. This year, Pierre Huyghe installed a fish tank and dug up the roof’s floor tiles (until 1 November).
“I’ve noticed that visitors to the roof are there for a couple of things: to have a drink and take pictures,” Parker tells us. “It’s very hard to compete with the view of New York. I’m trying to make something that will complement the view.” To make matters more difficult, “I’ve got vertigo,” she says.
Parker’s work is hard to miss in London this week. At St Pancras International Station, she has suspended a full-size, functioning replica of the station’s giant clock 16 metres in front of the original. (One More Time, 2015, is the first in a series of commissions from Royal Academicians.)
Her linen work Near, Far (verso), 2015, hand embroidered by prisoners in HM jails, sold at Frith Street within the first hour of Frieze’s VIP preview on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, new prints she created using a group of found glass photographic negatives are on show at Alan Cristea Gallery (One Day This Glass Will Break, until 14 November). Parker will discuss the series with Iwona Blazwick, the director of Whitechapel Gallery, at the Multiplied fair on 16 October. She is also preparing to organise an exhibition about found objects at the Foundling Museum in London next year. Parker will bring together new and existing work by around 60 artists including Anthony Gormley, Jeremy Deller, Martin Creed and Ron Arad.
Although Parker is better known in London than New York, the city has a special place in her heart: in 1998, she got married on the Brooklyn Bridge. In 2013, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) re-staged her collaborative installation The Maybe—in which the actress Tilda Swinton lay sleeping in a glass case—without her involvement. (For the original, which drew thousands to Serpentine Gallery in 1995, Parker filled other vitrines with objects associated with historical figures, like Queen Victoria’s stocking.)
“A lot has happened and we lost touch,” Parker says of Swinton. “The first I heard about her doing it at MoMA—which she is of course entitled to do—was I got an email from her the day before saying it was happening. She said in the future—I didn’t realize it would be the next day.”