Photo via Gothamist
Any Seinfeld fan knows that you can’t have the muffin top without its accompanying “stump.” For full, crusty, top-of-the-muffin satisfaction, baking just tops won’t work. What about building just the roofs of houses? Spotted right smack in midtown Manhattan is a fenced off site of houseless rooftops under construction.
The homeless rooftops were identified as the work of artist David Brooks. “Desert Rooftops” is a sculpture currently occupying the 5,000 sq ft space of The Last Lot project on 46th Street and 8th Avenue. With a big nod to artist Gordon Matta-Clark’s building cuts, the piece uses site-specific sculptural form to examine “issues of the natural and built landscape by comparing the monoculture that arises from unchecked suburban and urban sprawl.”
These jarringly displaced suburban canopies appear like geometric sand dunes sprouting from within the Manhattan grid. Brooks’ sculpture criticizes the accepted forms of housing development with a “picturesque, familiar, and simultaneously foreboding” landscape of featureless, shingled rooftops. The construction of “Desert Rooftops” is an absurd sight, reading as both humorous and troubling as workers in hard hats toil away to build unequivocally functionless architecture. The piece echoes the dominant forms of our urbanization process, hitting eerily close to home in describing the dreary desertification of our environment.