Urban jungle: Roxy Paine at the Met.

Roxy Paine’s Maelstrom. (Photo by C-M.)

Kick ass! Of the installations I’ve seen on the roof of the Met in recent summers, Roxy Paine’s post-apocalyptic naturescape has got to be the most mind-blowing: a writhing mass of stainless steel roots and branches that emerge from the drainpipes, ready to take its revenge on humanity — kinda like a Robo-Everglades. I’d seen Paine’s lovely heavy metal trees before, in an installation two years ago at Madison Square Park. But Maelstrom, which occupies the entire roof of the museum — and which requires the visitor to duck and climb around its branches — channels a Mother Earth that is ready to rip our guts out. 

I couldn’t get enough of it. And apparently neither can the neighborhood wildlife: the guards told us that the installation is visited every morning by a local hawk, who was perched on one of the sculpture’s uppermost branches when we arrived. (See a photo after the jump.) Get there first thing in the morning, and you might see the bird yourself. But, what ever you do, don’t miss this exhibit.

Maelstrom is up through October 25.

Click on images to supersize.

The sculpture emerges out of these pipes.

This is gonna make for some interesting summer cocktail hours.

Rogue branches reach towards mid-town.

Looks like a red-tailed hawk to me. Could it be one of Pale Male’s crew getting a little culture?

Dropping roots into the roof, like a metallurgical mangrove.

The installation’s reflection in the windows.

Tendrils creep forward, looking for fresh prey.


  1. Ruby

    Nice. I just saw his “Conjoined” (I think the same piece that was at Madison Square Garden?) on the grounds of The Modern in Fort Worth this weekend. This seems much more compelling. Thanks for the photos.

  2. sharonA

    This is absolutely mindblowing! I love the branch going into the pipes. Absolutely brilliant; a nice departure from the single trees.

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