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New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has selected three contemporary artists for upcoming commissions in 2024—the Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj, the South Korean sculptor Lee Bul and the Taiwanese artist Tong Yang-Tze. Halilaj will present a site-specific installation for the museum’s roof garden (29 April-27 October 2024), Lee will create four sculptures to decorate the Met’s Fifth Avenue façade (12 September-27 May 2024) and Tong will contribute two monumental examples of Chinese calligraphy for its Great Hall (21 November 2024-8 April 2025). Lee’s commission will be her first in the US in more than 20 years; Halilaj’s and Tong’s will be their first major projects in the country.
In a statement, Met director Max Hollein said: “All boundary-pushing in their own right, Petrit Halilaj, Lee Bul and Tong Yang-Tze will light up the three most prominent locations across the museum, engaging the Met’s global audience.”
Halilaj, best known for works recalling his experience as a child refugee in the 1990s, plans to explore themes of displacement and personal history. “Petrit is a true scenographer of collective memories linked to his homeland,” the Met curator Iria Candela told The New York Times. “He is a master at bridging that gap, and at juggling memories and imagination as equally fragile.”
Lee, a leading artist in South Korea, minted her fame in the 1980s with performances protesting patriarchal legislation. Her visually seductive, dystopian installations are known in institutional spaces throughout Europe and Asia, but this will mark her first big undertaking in the US since her solo show at the New Museum in 2002.
Tong, at 81, is one of the oldest artist the Met has commissioned. She will make her public-art debut in the US after minting a career in Asia that includes her signature calligraphy, which appears on Taiwan’s official passport stamp. “We usually understand calligraphy as something scholars and elites enjoyed in their leisure time,” Lesley Ma, the Met curator behind Tong’s project, told The New York Times. “But she enlarged characters in the scale and compositional strategy almost akin to abstract painting.”