The Met Welcomes Halilaj, Lee Bul, and Tong Yang-Tze

Petrit Halilaj, Palacio de Cristal (installation view) at Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (2020). Source: Kamel Mennour

The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils its 2024 commissions for the rooftop, facade, and Great Hall, featuring Petrit Halilaj’s poignant Balkan odyssey, Lee Bul’s cybernetic marvels, and the venerable Tong Yang-Tze’s calligraphic symphony.

Kosovo-born artist Petrit Halilaj leads the prestigious trio, bringing forth a sculptural narrative that delves into the harrowing experiences of the Balkans’ 1990s conflict. His poignant installation is poised to illuminate the Rooftop Garden, captivating the audience with a visceral exploration of his tumultuous youth.

South Korean sculptor Lee Bul emerges onto the stage with four striking sculptures slated for the museum’s Fifth Avenue facade in September. Known for her avant-garde creations, Lee’s wearable monster sculptures and utopian architectural installations seamlessly blend classical aesthetics with cybernetic elements, promising a visual feast for onlookers.

Taiwanese artist Tong Yang-Tze, at the age of 81, steps into the limelight with two grand-scale calligraphy works gracing the Great Hall from November. Tong’s mastery of classical Chinese literature will manifest in monumental canvases, akin to a rhythmic ocean wave breaking across cultural boundaries.

In a statement resonating with anticipation, Met Director Max Hollein expressed the institution’s eagerness to showcase the boundary-pushing endeavors of Halilaj, Lee, and Tong. The trio’s diverse backgrounds and artistic approaches promise to captivate The Met’s global audience, injecting fresh perspectives into the museum’s narrative.

This contemporary commission series marks a pivotal moment for The Met, reinforcing its commitment to expanding the canon in thought-provoking ways. The art world eagerly awaits the opportunity to see the works in one of the world’s most revered cultural institutions.


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