Big Bambu

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I recently visited Mike Doug's installation "Big Bambu" on the roof garden at the Metropolitan museum in New York. Last summer Mike Starn invited to view the sculpture's earlier incarnation at the former Tallix Foundry in Beacon New York.
Big Bambu is a must visit for anyone interested in art who visits New York. How often do we see a work of art in progress, much less get to clamber around it, all atop the roof of the Museum with spectacular views all around. The experience is magical, a veritable adult playground. The sculpture is a continual work in progress. Mike and Doug are there working high above with their team of professional mountaineers adding new elements to the work as you watch.

The museum's own description of the work is included below. Please remember to bring rubber shoes

Invited by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a site-specific installation for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn (born in New Jersey in 1961) present their new work, Big Bambú: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop. The monumental bamboo structure, ultimately measuring 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 50 feet high, takes the form of a cresting wave that bridges realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance. Visitors witness the continuing creation and evolving incarnations of Big Bambú as it is constructed throughout the spring, summer, and fall by the artists and a team of rock climbers. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, Big Bambú suggests the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism. It is the thirteenth-consecutive single-artist installation on the Roof Garden

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Doug and Mike Starn



Big Bambú is a growing and changing sculpture--a vast network of 5,000 interlocking 30- and 40-foot-long fresh-cut bamboo poles, lashed together with 50 miles of nylon rope. It will continue to be constructed throughout the duration of the exhibition. The first phase of the structure--measuring about 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 30 feet high--was completed by opening day, April 27. The artists and rock climbers are continuing to build up the eastern portion of the sculpture to an elevation of 50 feet. By summer, the western portion of the sculpture will be about 40 feet high. An internal footpath artery system grows along with the structure, facilitating its progress. The evolving state of the work is being documented by the artists in photographs and videos.

Visiting the Exhibition

Visitors are able to experience Big Bambú from the Roof Garden level, open to everyone during regular Museum hours, weather permitting, and to walk among a forest of bamboo poles that serves as the base of the sculpture. Alternatively, visitors are able to explore the artwork on brief tours led by Museum-trained guides. On the guided tours, held during regular Museum hours, weather permitting, small groups of visitors are able to walk along the elevated interior network of pathways roughly 20 to 40 feet above the Roof Garden. Tickets are required for the guided tours, and specific guidelines apply to those interested in participating. Please read them for details and requirements. Tickets for guided tours may only be obtained in person and are available on a first-come, first-served basis with Museum admission at the Big Bambú Registration Desk, in the Uris Center for Education, located at the 81st Street ground-level entrance. Tickets are available twice a day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays, and Holiday Mondays, when the Museum is open to the public, and three times a day on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets for morning tours are released at 9:30 a.m. Tickets for afternoon tours are released at noon. On Fridays and Saturdays, tickets for evening tours are released at 3:30 p.m. There is a limit of one ticket per person, and tickets are nontransferable. All tour participants (other than children without identification) are required to present photo identification to obtain a ticket. About the Artists

Born in New Jersey in 1961, the identical twins Doug and Mike Starn work collaboratively and defy categorization, combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, photography, painting, video, and installation. In spring 2009, the Arts for Transit program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York City unveiled See it split, see it change , the Starns' first public commission. The work, which is installed permanently at the South Ferry subway station, won the Brendan Gill Prize. Their work has been exhibited internationally and is included in public and private collections worldwide. Their solo exhibitions include Gravity of Light (2004, 2008), Absorption + Transmission, Behind Your Eye, Sphere of Influence (1994),Mike and Doug Starn: Selected Works 1985-87 (1988), and The Christ Series (1988). The artists live and work in the New York area.

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William Haseltine is a former professor at Harvard Medical School, where he researched cancer and HIV/AIDS. He is the founder of Human Genome Sciences, where he served as chairman and CEO, and the president of the William A Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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