Alex Fradkin

The latest installation on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's rooftop combines two architectural styles, the iconic red barn and a Victorian house, into one structure. Constructed of salvaged materials from a disassembled red barn, this Victorian is no Painted Lady. This house was inspired by the one from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, which was inspired by Edward Hopper's 1925 painting House by the Railroad.

"Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)," which opened on Tuesday, is the fourth in an series of annual site-specific installations that the New York museum has commissioned for its Fifth Avenue flagship's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Artist Cornelia Parker explains her concept in a MoMA video: "So I quite like the idea of the barn being this quite wholesome thing, this, you know, lovely thing about the landscape and the countryside and, politicians like standing in front of red barns, because it typifies wholesomeness. And then the Psycho house is the opposite. It’s just all the dark psychological stuff you don’t really want to look at."

The PsychoBarn, like the Psycho house, is actually fake, held up by scaffolding and ballast. Although the installation is only about 30 feet tall, the rooftop site produces a simultaneous view of small-scale domestic architecture and massive urban structures.

"It can startle, whether you see it on the Met’s roof or spy it from a Central Park walkway," writes Roberta Smith in The New York Times. "The park view may be the more disturbing. Instead of simple Surrealist displacement, the structure seems more truly like an apparition, a ghostly reminder of 19th-century America’s once-thriving towns and small cities."

Hyla Skopitz
Hyla Skopitz
Alex Fradkin

"Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)" will be on display at The Met Fifth Avenue's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden through Oct. 31.