"Up on the roof" Top 5 Page for this destination Metropolitan Museum of Art Tip by toonsarah

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City: 195 reviews and 379 photos

  Rooftop reflected in sculpture
by toonsarah
  • Rooftop reflected in sculpture - New York City
      Rooftop reflected in sculpture
    by toonsarah
  • View of Manhattan from the roof - New York City
      View of Manhattan from the roof
    by toonsarah
  • View of Manhattan from the roof - New York City
      View of Manhattan from the roof
    by toonsarah
  • Balloon Dog (Yellow) - New York City
      Balloon Dog (Yellow)
    by toonsarah

This is a huge museum and if you’re to see its collections in any depth you’ll probably need to devote a whole day to it. The alternative is to be very selective, which is the approach we took. In fact, we came here with the aim of seeing just one small exhibition. I’d heard that in the summer months the museum opens its roof terrace and stages modern art exhibitions there, and we were keen to see this and the excellent view it affords of Central Park and mid-town Manhattan.

This summer’s roof-top offering was “Jeff Koons on the Roof”. This American artist creates large-scale art in a factory-like studio in New York, employing a large staff assigned to different aspects of producing his work – in a similar fashion to Andy Warhol’s Factory or to Renaissance workshops. Three of his works were featured in this exhibition, and I’ve taken this description of them from the museum’s website:

”The three sculptures featured on the Roof Garden are from the Celebration series, which Koons began working on in 1993. Balloon Dog (Yellow) is based on balloons twisted into the shape of a toy dog. Standing more than ten feet tall, its highly reflective and brightly colored surface gives the appearance of an actual balloon in a form that would delight a child but would also fascinate any student of Freud. A page from a Winnie the Pooh coloring book featuring Pooh’s companion Piglet was the genesis of Coloring Book. Koons took a magic marker to the page and colored in various zones; in the fabrication of the sculpture, he removed Piglet from the composition, which resulted in this abstraction rendered in cheerful pastel colors. Sacred Heart (Red/Gold), with its sumptuous surfaces of wrapping and ribbon, may suggest childhood – as well as adult – dreams and fantasies about candy and luxury goods, intermixed with the potent Roman Catholic image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a group, the three colorful Pop sculptures are characteristic of the artist’s work over the years, offering a certain jouissance and jubilant spirit and demonstrating extraordinary technical virtuosity in the rendering of large perfected forms on a huge scale.”

As well as being fascinating in their own right, I found these sculptures made a wonderful subject for photography, especially the dog and the heart, whose metallic curved surfaces reflected a bizarre upside-down version of the exhibition-goers on the roof, the skyscrapers of Manhattan and of course of me, the photographer. The views from the roof also are probably worth the visit alone. In summer the trees in Central Park block any view of park activity but provide an unusually rural-looking foreground to the skyscrapers beyond.

One downside though was the lack of shade on the roof – even the small café offered little respite from what was a very hot sun on the day of our visit. A solution would be to visit late afternoon or early evening on a Friday or Saturday, when the café is transformed into a Martini Bar – something we will definitely bear in mind for future visits to the city.

Apart from our visit to the roof terrace we spent little time here, preferring to save it for that future visit when the weather may be less good. But we did have time to take in a part of the Medieval Gallery where there are some beautiful religious treasures and even a doorway from an Italian church.

The museum doesn’t impose a charge but instead asks for a “suggested donation” of $20 for adults (415 for seniors, $10 for students and free for under 12s). Coming from London where all the main museums are free (except for special exhibitions) and planning to spend only half an hour or so here, we thought that was a bit steep, so we ignored the request to pay the full sum and instead put in a lower amount more appropriate to our visit. I leave it to you and your conscience to decide what you’ll do about this, but obviously if you plan to stay for hours and see a lot of the galleries it starts to seem more reasonable.

The opening hours are:
Monday: Closed (except some holidays)
Tuesday –Thursday, and Sunday: 9.30 AM – 5.30 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9.30 AM – 9.00 PM
(Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day)

Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd) New York 10028
Directions: Several buses (M1, M2, M3, or M4) run north up Madison Avenue (parallel to Fifth) and stop just a block from the museum at 83rd Street, or there’s a subway station at 86th St (corner with Park Ave, lines 4,5,& 6)
Phone: %s3 %cb (212) 535-7710
Website: http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 13, 2008
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Comments (1)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    Great that you saw “Jeff Koons on the Roof” and the New York skyline from up there.


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