Friday, May 17, 2013
Imran Qureshi at the MET, Roof Garden
For anyone who is in town, I highly recommend it. Hey....you may run into Bono again!
This year visitors will discover something strikingly different: the 8,000-square-foot terrace is splattered with paint the color of dried blood. At first glance it looks like a crime scene or the site of a ritual slaughter.
But upon closer inspection the viewer finds the spillage has been delicately altered. With deft white and red brush strokes, the Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi has worked into the messy, raw paint a pattern suggestive of leafy shrubbery, bird feathers and angels’ wings — pictorial and ornamental motifs used in Indian and Persian miniature painting.
It’s an obvious metaphor. From death grows life; from horror comes transcendence; hope emerges from despair. But for me and, I imagine, others, that inspirational symbolism will be overlaid by the sobering, still-fresh memories of the blood-splattered street where bombs exploded at the finish line of last month’s marathon in Boston. Thoughts of war and other terrorist acts naturally come to mind, too. Mr. Qureshi’s title, “And How Many Rains Must Fall Before the Stains Are Washed Clean,” from a poem by the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984), underlines the deeply plaintive mood animating his piece.
“The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi” runs through Nov. 3 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; (212) 535-7710, metmuseum.org.