At Large  December 4, 2023  Rebecca Schiffman

Discover the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2024 Commissions

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum's Roof Garden featuring Alicja Kwade’s Parapivot, The 2019 Roof Garden Commission. 

For the past few years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced yearly contemporary art commissions that bring contemporary artists to the forefront of the museum — quite literally — with commissions for The Great Hall, the Cantor Roof Garden, and the niches along the museum’s Fifth Avenue facade. The Met has announced the artists who received the 2024 commissions: Petrit Halilaj, Lee Bul, and Tong Yang-Tze. These projects coincide with the Met’s growing focus on contemporary art. Since 2012, the Museum has worked to greatly expand and diversify its collection of contemporary art. From 2016 to 2020, the museum opened The Met Breuer, a space dedicated to modern and contemporary art in the building that was the former long-time home of hte Whitney Museum (and is now the Frick Madison). In 2021, the museum received a $125 million gift from Oscar L. Tang and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang, to open a modern wing. 

Photo: Tate Photography (Matt Greenwood). Courtesy of Tate

Petrit Halilaj: Very volcanic over this green feather, installation view at Tate St Ives, 2021. 

For its tenth contemporary commission, Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj will transform the museum’s Cantor Roof Garden with a sprawling sculptural installation. Halilaj’s practice is rooted in his personal experience and history. Born in SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo), he left the country at 13 during the Yugoslav Wars of 1991 - 2001. He learned to draw in a refugee camp in Albania when a team of psychologists gave children art supplies to help them process the traumas of the war. The Met has said that Halilaj’s rooftop commission will similarly engage with questions of displacement and belonging.

“Art has to be a form of communication," said David Breslin, the Met's Leonard A. Lauder Curator in Charge of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, about Halilaj’s work to the New York Times. "It has to embed within itself a form of critique, but it is also a form of optimism for how we can relate to each other.”

Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin Gallery

Lee Bul, Willing To Be Vulnerable - Metalized Balloon V3, 2015/2019, Nylon taffeta cloth, polyester with aluminum foil, fan, electronic wiring, 90.55 x 393.7 x 90.55 inches

Lee Bul is a prominent sculptor from South Korea who is known for her sophisticated techniques and working across a wide range of media. She works with materials from fabric, to metal, plastic, silicone, porcelain, and glass exploring themes of beauty, corruption, desire, and decay. She represented her country at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. Her facade commission will consist of four sculptures that will blend abstract and figurative elements. 

In the Great Hall, Taipei-based artist and calligrapher Tong Yang-Tze is set to create two new works, for her first public commission outside Asia. Tong’s practice, which connects Chinese calligraphy to modern art, will focus on implementing her text-based artwork on a monumental scale.

“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," said Max Hollein, the Museum’s Director and CEO in a statement. "We look forward to unveiling their commissions in the year ahead.”

These new commissions follow in the footsteps of major contemporary artists including Wangechi Mutu, Carol Bove, Jacolby Satterwhite, Lauren Halsey, and Pierre Huyghe. Building on this exciting tradition, these 2024 commissions not only celebrate diversity in artistic voices but also contribute to the museum’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and vibrant cultural space for both creators and audiences.

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