Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BIG BAMBOO

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. I ran through the amazing hallways of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and up the last flight of stairs to savor in solitude the new exhibit created by twin brothers Doug and Mike Starn. Of course there were three guards, one guide and the security chief, but I was almost alone for about ten minutes. The construction is made of some 5000 bamboo poles secured by miles of nylon rock climbing ropes in varying colors and thicknesses. Three different species of bamboo grown in Georgia and South Carolina are part of the form. A team of rock climbers installed the first section rising 30 feet off the roof, overlooking the greenery of Central Park and the skyline of Central Park South. They lashed the culms together in a seemingly haphazard way, though I'm told that there is a grand plan with drawings and everything. Visitors will witness the evolving incarnations of Big BambĂș as it is augmented throughout the spring, summer, ultimately reaching 50 feet high and wide. (above, more poles for the next phase)
After agreeing to a long
list of conditions and
registering in advance,
visitors can stride with
a guide up through the
heights of the structure.
The guide's talk drifted
down to the terrace
below as I admired one
of my favorite parts of
the roof garden, the
old wisteria vines,
now in full bloom amidst
the bamboo stanchions.









The Met web site says that the exhibition shows the "cresting wave that bridges realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, Big BambĂș will suggest the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism".

My fascination stems from the plant itself, this quickly renewable resource now used in flooring, table ware, and even fabrics. In China, scaffolding is made of bamboo because it's strong, cheap and readily available.
Bamboo is also colorful and beautiful and excellent as a living screen. I'm growing black bamboo in containers on my rooftop. Some clematis dropped in (apparently from seed blown from a neighboring container, and are now climbing up the culms. But more about that another day.

2 comments:

Georgia said...

Fascinating exhibit and gorgeous photographs. Reminds me of bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong.

PortlandGardenGeek said...

Sometimes I wonder why anyone would choose to live in NYC but your blog and fantastic pictures really show off the finer points of the city-be interested to hear more about this black bamboo...

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