Cloud City Above New York

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Perched on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a constellation of pods which both reflect and transcend their environment. The installation, called Cloud City, is the work of artist Tomás Saraceno. Located in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, it is the latest in a series of yearly summertime commissions tailor-made for the roof space.

Tomás Saraceno was born in 1973 in the small town of San Miguel de Tucuman, in northern Argentina. Saraceno began his career as an architect, receiving formal training at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires. In 2001 he moved to Germany for postgraduate studies in the hybrid Art & Architecture program at the Academy of Fine Arts in Frankfurt. Saraceno received early acclaim for his innovative installations, including winning the Calder Prize and being named artist-in-residence at the International Space Studies Program of NASA. Below, Saraceno’s concept sketch for Cloud City.

Saraceno’s works set out to establish a dialogue between people, objects and spaces. “Art is a space to imagine a possible future…it is a necessity to think about how we want to live. That’s something that we should try to pose, this question, much more often, because people are kind of lazy, right? It’s easy to let someone else think the future. It’s important to engage in the possibility of thinking [yourself]…”

Previous works such as Air-Port-City have expressed the artist’s fascination with futuristic living arrangements of cloud-like units which would float above cities. Cloud City is part of this ongoing conceptual fascination; it is a constellation of interconnected, reflective modules. The highly reflective surfaces of the units show the surrounding Manhattan skyline and Central Park below, creating an almost camouflage-like effect. Viewed from across the garden, it almost looks as if the installation really is floating above New York.

Cloud City will be on view from now until November 4 on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For a hands-on experience of the installation, head to the museum early to snag one of the first-come first-served tickets which give you access to climb the structure. The museum is located at 1000 5th Avenue; for more information visit

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