Hew Locke will create artwork for the facade of the Met Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has selected Guyanese-British artist Hew Locke to create new works for its Fifth Avenue facade niches, the third in a new series of site-specific commissions for the museum’s exterior.
The project, “Gilt”, will be visible from September 16 of this year until May 22, 2023.
“Hew Locke uses a delirious aesthetic of abundance and excess to reflect themes of deep urgency in the past and present, including wealth, imperial power and prestige,” said Sheena Wagstaff, president of the modern and contemporary art at the Met. statement. “Locke’s work deftly weaves the fine lines between theatricality, visual beauty and critical insight.”
The artist, whose major commission “The Procession” recently opened at Tate Britain, will create four sculptures for the Met, fashioned into whole and fragmented trophies referencing historical works from the museum’s collection.
Locke is known for assembling ready-made materials from disparate places and times – such as coats of arms and warships – that deal with issues such as power, migration and conquest.
Born in Edinburgh in 1959 and raised in Guyana, Locke returned to the UK in 1980, earning his BFA at Falmouth University in 1988 and an MFA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1994. Since then, he lives in London.
The Facade Commission began in 2019 with “The NewOnes, will free Us” by Wangechi Mutu, followed in 2021 by “The sessions are not help” by Carol Bove.
The commission “will be informed by Locke’s extensive knowledge of the Met’s collection and will refer to the institution in both direct and indirect ways,” museum director Max Hollein said in a statement, “retrieving and linking stories across continents, oceans and time periods.