The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave,
New York, NY 10028

May 14 – November 3

A large-scale site-specific work of art by Imran Qureshi (b. 1972, Hyderabad, Pakistan)—an artist known for his unique style of combining the motifs, symbolism, and ornamental techniques of Islamic art with modern conceptual approaches—is the 2013 installation on The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, opening May 14.  Entitled The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi, the project represents the artist’s emotional response to violence occurring across the globe in recent decades and his earnest hope for regeneration and lasting peace in the aftermath of man-made disasters.  Using the nearly 8,000-square-foot open-air space as his canvas, Qureshi has worked areas of his spilled and splattered red acrylic paint into patterns of lush ornamental leaves that evoke the luxuriant walled gardens that are ubiquitous in miniatures of the Mughal court; they also echo the spectacular verdant foliage of Central Park surrounding the Roof Garden today. Qureshi is the first artist to create a work that will be painted directly onto the Roof’s surface, and visitors will be encouraged to walk on it as they view it.

The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg.
Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

“We are proud to present this extraordinary new commission,” stated Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum. “For years, Imran Qureshi has created emotionally wrought, thought-provoking installations devoted to themes of tragedy and regeneration, reflecting conditions that prevail almost as a way of life in his home country—and that now, sadly, also resonate in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon tragedy. The installation’s presence on the Roof Garden this summer creates an especially timely and evocative commentary on these devastating events, and encourages us to respond thoughtfully both as individuals and as citizens of a shared community.”

“We are honored that Imran Qureshi has brought his spirit, sensitivity, and remarkable vision to the Metropolitan Museum this summer,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art. “His artistic practice oscillates between the discipline and reinvention of the miniature format, and the expansive scale of architectural spaces. His works are wonderfully complex at the same time as appearing quite simple: they reckon with the unfortunate realities of political ideologies while reveling in the ability of paint and color to depict and actively stimulate regeneration.”

Imran Qureshi said, “The dialogue between life and death is an important element in my work. Leaves and nature, for example, represent the idea of life. And the particular color of red that I have been using in recent years can look so real, like blood. The red reminds me of the situation today in my country, Pakistan, and in the world around us, where violence is almost a daily occurrence. But somehow, people still have hope. The flowers that seem to emerge from the red paint in my work represent the hope that—despite everything—the people sustain somehow, their hope for a better future.”

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