he sculptor and installation artist was nominated by Louisa Buck for continuing to innovate and surprise after more than three decades
Art has no boundaries for Cornelia Parker, OBE. Over the past three decades, the Cheshire-born Turner-nominated artist has stretched bullets into lengths of wire, made drawings from rattlesnake venom, squashed a silver dinner service with a steam roller, sent a meteorite back into space and enlisted the army’s ammunition corps to blow up a garden shed. Now she’s the first British artist to be commissioned to make a site-specific outdoor work for the Roof Garden of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unveiled this April (19), it will remain in situ until October 31.
We say: Being invited to make her mark on top of the Met is further confirmation of Parker’s reputation as one of the most adventurous and innovative artists working today. The project is a closely guarded secret but, as she’s previously stretched a silver dollar to a wire that was the height of the Statue of Liberty, be prepared for something spectacular and utterly unexpected. As the Met’s Sheena Wagstaff says, "Cornelia’s insatiable curiosity often leads her into difficult cultural territories, but the results are never less than provocative and surprising."
She says: "I always think of New York as Europe on steroids, so I’m celebrating American culture, but through European eyes. I’ll make something that adds to the view."
Look out for: Parker’s 13m-long embroidery of the Wikipedia page for the Magna Carta. Stitched by over 200 individuals, including Jarvis Cocker and Edward Snowden, it’s currently touring the UK, while a work made from the bricks of a row of houses that fell off the White Cliffs of Dover is showing at the Centre Pompidou-Metz until September. Parker has also been working with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Kostya Novoselov to make graphene – the thinnest and strongest known material in existence – using graphite from drawings by Blake, Constable and Turner. Now she’s been made an honorary professor at Manchester University, you can expect more trans-disciplinary extravaganzas.