London Psycho: PsychoBarn II

February 13, 2019 — I think I’m being haunted by a spooky house, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Two and a half years ago, I was in New York, standing atop the roof of the MET. And even though I was surrounded by panoramic views of the city, I only had eyes for a weathered, blood-red Victorian sitting incongruously up there on the roof with me.

Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is an art installation by Cornelia Parker that is inspired by the home of Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. It’s a down-scaled model of the old Victorian assembled from the reclaimed wood of a red barn. I wrote about the piece and my visit to its debut here, so I’ll skip any more backstory and go straight to the frontstory.

I recently found myself in London. At one point, I was looking for the alley where the photo for the album cover for the 1972 David Bowie album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was taken. As I wandered around, I happened to glance through a stone arch across the street. It was a sizable stone arch, big enough for a car to enter, and I could see that it opened onto a little cobblestone courtyard.

And right in the middle of that cobblestoned courtyard was…PsychoBarn. It knew I would be here. It was following me.

Turns out, the courtyard belonged to the Royal Academy of Arts, which brought PsychoBarn to London. Behind the art installation, the statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the academy, loomed like Mother.

It was fascinating to see this take on such a classic American artifact surrounded by the carved stone facades of Old Smoke. Although, that’s the thing. The artifact is based on a house in an American movie, but that movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who was a Londoner. On top of that, the artist herself, Cornelia Parker, is also English.

Anyway, I just wanted to show you some photos of it in its current (and temporary) location, in the home country of the artist and the birth city of the director who made its namesake famous. I look forward to it haunting me in the next city I visit.

In London...

...and in New York.