I've been watching the growth of this mysterious thatch on top of the Met for a while--it is dizzying and deranged and absolutely dazzling. The 48-year old identical twins, Doug and Mike Starn, have been building their labyrinth of bamboo over the last seven months, and they--and their visitors--have only a few weeks left to enjoy the results together. Indeed, it is often the case that while you are enjoying their work, they are working away, suspended fifty feet above your head, like spiders weaving their webs before your eyes.
The sculpture is made of bamboo from Georgia and a century-old plantation in South Carolina; the poles are tied together, using nautical and climbing knots, with nylon cords in various widths and many colors. Its official title is: "Big Bambu: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop." And that, indeed, captures the spirit of this entire I can, I do--Just Watch Me--and I'll Stop When I Want To enterprise. It is willful and oppositional, exactly the kind of thing that can only happen in a city like New York, where the atmosphere reverberates to an "I'll Do It My Way" madness and majesty.
It reminds me of that game of Pick-Up Stix we used to play--as though the bamboo had been thrown down randomly and one wrong move would send every pole scattering. By this weekend, one edge of the piece seemed to be finished, jutting out over the precipice of the building as if it were a stylized wave from a Japanese woodblock, curling up out of a cerulean sky.