My very first post was about the Starn Twins, a pair of artists who left my native South Jersey and their family’s Shop Rite franchise, and took the New York art world by storm.
Yes, they could have been selling Hot Pockets in Absecon, but instead they chose the world of art instead. (Along the way, they took their college campus by storm up in Boston, a local gallery owner tells me.)
Now Doug and Mike Starn are behind an ongoing roof garden sculpture at the New York Metropolitan Museum. They completed a bamboo sculpture, very naturalistic and designed to contrast with the urban landscape. It was unveiled in April, and artists and rock climbers will be building on it through October.
You have to love the title of the installation: “Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop.” At 100 feet long by 50 feet wide by 50 feet high, the piece is “created in the form of a cresting wave that will bridge realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance.”
Big Bambú is a continually growing and changing sculpture that will be constructed during the run of the installation from thousands of fresh-cut bamboo poles—a complex network of 5,000 interlocking 30- and 40-foot-long bamboo poles, which will be lashed together with 50 miles of nylon rope. Doug Starn states: “The reason we had to make it so big is to make all of us feel small—or at least to awaken us to the fact that individually we are not so big. Once we’re aware of our true stature we can feel a part of something much more vast than we could ever have dreamed of before.”
The brothers have been prominent in the New York art scene since the 1980s and they have a large studio, in what used to be a factory, in Beacon — where the Dia also resides — in the lower Hudson Valley.
The first public commission was last year when a New York subway station, the 1 line at South Ferry, was allowed to permanently display their work.