At Brooklyn Museum, Heather Hart Encourages Everyone to Climb onto the Roof

Brooklyn, NEW YORK–There is a place to sit and reflect in the Brooklyn Museum. Heather Hart has installed a pitched rooftop with dormer windows in the museum’s fifth floor rotunda and encourages visitors to interact with it, climb to the roof’s peak and have a seat. Built on-site, “The Eastern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother,” references Dutch-American architecture and symbolizes “home, stability or shelter”—basic tenets of the American dream which for some remains elusive.

Visitors had to sign a release to explore the exhibit. There were also age restrictions and specific shoe requirements.

The rooftop sans house concept is at once jarring, thrilling and inviting. Hart intends for the site-specific work to be empowering. If granting access to childhood dreams of climbing up onto the roof qualifies, it’s a success. She installed a similar piece called “The Northern Oracle” in the Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota in 2010. An exhibit that derives its name from a Parliament Funkadelic song and requires visitors to sign a release? Definitely worth exploring.

“The Eastern Oracle” is the fourth installment in the museum’s Raw/Cooked series showcasing Brooklyn-based artists and is on view from April 13 to June 24, 2012.

All photos by Arts Observer

“The Eastern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother,” 2012 (wood, shingles, metal, gold leaf, cardboard and viewer interaction) by Heather Hart. Watch a video of Hart explaining the exhibit and how it relates to other work in the museum’s collection.

Above and below, The installation also has a fantastical quality: Inside visitors are encouraged to take a piece of gold leaf and make a wish or prayer by pressing it onto the “oracle,” a spiritual shrine with a colorful psychedelic painting and a replica of a mirror from the museum’s Egyptian gallery.

View photos of Hart and her team constructing “The Eastern Oracle” on site.

There is one comment

  1. janine

    I’ve seen similar pieces to this, but it was associated with the flooding in New Orleans after hurricane katrina. i like the interactive aspects of this tho.

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