The Metropolitan Museum of Art has tapped three artists for its 2024 facade, rooftop, and Great Hall commissions, which are among the most prestigious—and visible—stages for art in New York.
On Wednesday, the Met announced that Kosovo-born artist Petrit Halilaj will transform the Rooftop Garden with a sculptural installation based on the war that ravaged the Balkans during his youth in the 1990s; the work will debut in April.
South Korean sculptor Lee Bul will unveil four sculptures for the museum’s Fifth Avenue facade niches in September, and Taiwanese artist Tong Yang-Tze will create two large-scale calligraphy works incorporating classical Chinese literature for the Great Hall, on view beginning in November.
Met director Max Hollein said in a statement, “It is with great excitement that we announce the artists for the 2024 contemporary commissions. All boundary-pushing in their own right, Petrit Halilaj, Lee Bul, and Tong Yang-Tze will light up the three most prominent locations across the Museum, engaging The Met’s global audience. We look forward to unveiling their commissions in the year ahead.”
The commission series is part of push by the encyclopedic museum to center contemporary art, sometimes in canon-expanding ways. Past participants have produced genre-bending artworks that riff on—or outright challenge—its hallowed holdings.
Lauren Halsey’s lauded rooftop garden project, which closed this past October, repurposed ancient Egypt iconography into a monument to her neighborhood of Los Angeles, and a multimedia installation by Jacolby Satterwhite, comprised of many shifting sounds, animations, and performances, is currently flitting across the cavernous Great Hall. The Satterwhite piece is on view through January 7.
Lee will take over the facade niches rom Iranian sculptor Nairy Baghramian, who won acclaim for her commission: large, abstract forms that resemble igneous rocks, painted in garish colors that poke fun at the grandeur of their neoclassical backdrop. Lee has exhibited widely in Asia and Europe, but the four sculptures she’s set to make for the facade mark her first major presentation in the United States since a 2002 solo exhibition at the New Museum. For that show, she made sleek, cyborgian sculptures that invited interaction, to unsettling effect.
Tong, 81, is among the oldest artists to receive a commissioned from the museum. This will be her first institutional commission outside Asia, where her calligraphy appears widely, including on Taiwan’s passport stamp. Like a budding ocean wave, her script rises and breaks across monumental canvases, displaying her mastery of the ancient art form.
Meanwhile, the Met is still at work on its new $500 million modern and contemporary art wing designed by the Mexican architect Frida Escobedo. The project was announced in March 2022, and is set to be completed in 2029.