Doug and Mike Starn like to say they’ve been making art together from the very start; as identical twins, they can say stuff like that without sounding creepy. In fact, the Starns are so closely aligned as artists that they enrolled in and graduated from an MFA program as a single student.
As in previous work, their big, messy, chaotic sculpture for the Met’s Roof Garden investigates methodology to emphasize art as a constructed object. How something gets made is as interesting as what something looks like when it’s finished. Big Bambú consists of 5,000 bamboo poles lashed together with more than 50 miles of nylon rope, secured with knots that took, on average, three minutes to make. The brothers, along with a group of rock climbers, are continuing to work on the project; when it’s complete at the end of October (just in time to be dismantled by the Met staff), it will be 50 feet high by 100 feet wide.
After signing a lengthy waiver, visitors may climb up the pathways and platforms—roughly, 10, 20, 30, and 50 feet above the roof. From this perspective, a wave shape starts to emerge (no cameras, or anything that could fall through the cracks, were allowed, alas). “It’s organic,” our guide kept saying. “It’s meant to be like us. At any given moment, we’re complete. Exactly what we need to be. But we’re also changing.” Hokey, maybe, but also true.