Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof
Big Bambú:
"You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop

Slideshow phases 2 and 3

Slideshow phase 1


New York Times, April 23, 2010 (video)

Metropolitan Museum of Art 3rd week

Big Bambú in the press
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News Release The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Communications Department
1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028-0198
tel (212) 570-3951 fax (212) 472-2764
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 27, 2010

For Immediate Release

Elyse Topalian
Naomi Takafuchi

Doug and Mike Starn Create Monumental Sculpture
for Metropolitan Museum’s 2010 Roof Garden Installation

Big Bambú to Open April 27

Installation dates: April 27– October 31, 2010 (weather permitting)
Location: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
Press preview: Monday, April 26, 10 a.m.–noon

American artists Mike and Doug Starn (born 1961) have been invited by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a site-specific installation for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, opening to the public on April 27. The identical twin brothers will present their new work, Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop, a monumental bamboo structure ultimately measuring 100 feet long by 50 feet wide by 50 feet high in the form of a cresting wave that will bridge realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance. Visitors are meant to witness the creation and evolving incarnations of Big Bambú as it is constructed throughout the spring, summer, and fall by the artists and a team of rock climbers. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, the installation Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú will suggest the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism. It will comprise the 13th consecutive single-artist installation for the Cantor Roof Garden.

The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg.
Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
The exhibition is also made possible in part by the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund.
Rope provided by Mammut Sports Group, Inc.

Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Chairman of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, stated: “Although the Starn brothers are best known for their photographs, in fact their abiding interest is in organic systems and structures, as seen in their photographs of trees, leaves, and snow flakes, or here, in Big Bambú.  We are intrigued by the possibilities of this ever-evolving structure on our Roof Garden, which, when animated by the team of rock climbers, will become an organic system of its own.”

Big Bambú is a continually growing and changing sculpture that will be constructed during the run of the installation from thousands of fresh-cut bamboo poles—a complex network of 5,000 interlocking 30- and 40-foot-long bamboo poles, which will be lashed together with 50 miles of nylon rope. Doug Starn states: “The reason we had to make it so big is to make all of us feel small—or at least to awaken us to the fact that individually we are not so big. Once we’re aware of our true stature we can feel a part of something much more vast than we could ever have dreamed of before.”

The work will embody a contradictory nature: it is always complete, yet it is always unfinished. Working on the sculpture while the exhibition is open to the public, the artists and teams of rock climbers (six to twenty of whom will be present during different phases of the project) will provide visitors with a rare opportunity to experience their work as it unfolds.

“It is a temporary structure in a sense, but it is a sculpture—not a static sculpture, it’s an organism that we are just a part of—helping it to move along,” said Mike Starn. “We will be constructing a slice of seascape, like our photographs, a cutaway view of a wave constantly in motion—our growth and change remains invariable, it is constant and unchanged.”

This never-resting sculpture will evolve throughout the course of the exhibition: the initial, roughly 30-foot high by 50-foot-wide by 100-foot-long structure will be completed by opening day on April 27; next, the eastern portion of the sculpture will be built up by the artists and rock climbers to an elevation of some 50 feet; and by summer, the western portion of the sculpture will be elevated by the artists and rock climbers to around 40 feet in height. An internal footpath artery system grows within the structure, facilitating the progress of the organism.

The ephemeral state of the work will be documented by the artists in various scale photographs and video.

Born in New Jersey in 1961, the identical twins Doug and Mike Starn work collaboratively and defy categorization, combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, photography, painting, video, and installation. In spring 2009, the Arts for Transit program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York City unveiled See it split, see it change, the Starns’ first public commission. The work, which is installed permanently at the South Ferry subway station, won the Brendan Gill Prize. Their work has been exhibited internationally and is included in public and private collections worldwide. Their solo exhibitions include Gravity of Light (2004, 2008), Absorption + Transmission (2005, 2006), Behind Your Eye (2004), Sphere of Influence (1994), Mike and Doug Starn: Selected Works 1985-87 (1988), and The Christ Series (1988).  The artists live and work in the New York area.

The installation will be featured on the Museum’s website at

Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú is organized by Anne L. Strauss, Associate Curator of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum.
* * *

Special Ticketing to Explore Elevated Pathways
Visitors, in small groups, will have the opportunity to explore the elevated pathway network of Big Bambú during short tours with designated, Museum-trained guides.
Visitors will ascend and walk an internal system throughout the dense structure, roughly 20 to 40 feet above the main level of the Roof Garden. Tickets for the special guided tours of the elevated pathways are free with Museum admission and will be available daily on a first-come, first-served basis during Museum public hours. Information may be found at HYPERLINK ""

Viewing throughout the main level of the Cantor Roof Garden—both around the periphery of Big Bambú and through its base—will remain free for all visitors with Museum admission.

* * *
A conversation between the artists and Anne Strauss about the creation and evolving nature of Big Bambú will be available beginning April 26 as a cell-phone message at 212-457-8727; as a free Met Podcast episode at HYPERLINK ""; and as an Audio Guide message.

The Audio Guide is sponsored by Bloomberg.
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden opened to the public in 1987. Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú is the thirteenth consecutive single-artist installation featured on the Roof Garden. The past 12 annual installations have presented large-scale works by Ellsworth Kelly (1998), Magdalena Abakanowicz (1999), David Smith (2000), Joel Shapiro (2001), Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (2002),
Roy Lichtenstein (2003), Andy Goldsworthy (2004), Sol LeWitt (2005), Cai Guo-Qiang
(2006), Frank Stella (2007), Jeff Koons (2008), and Roxy Paine (2009).

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