Argentinian transforms NY's Met rooftop into banquet

A sculpture installation by Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas on display on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

An Argentinian sculptor has transformed the roof garden at New York's famed Metropolitan Museum of Art into a fantasy banquet scene overlooking the glittering Manhattan skyline for the summer season.

The installation, which opened Friday, is centered around nine white tables set for dinner with sculptures replicating objects from the museum's vast collections, including ancient Egypt, African and medieval art.

Added to the mix are white human figures -- real-life models scanned, enlarged or reduced, then formatted by 3-D printer -- the same technique used to produce replicas from the museum's collection.

Created by Adrian Villar Rojas and called "The Theater of Disappearance," the installation fuses different eras, civilizations, the animate and inanimate to reflect on what the purpose of a museum means today and what an artifact means behind a glass case.

At one table is the figure of a knight -- lying as if a statue on his tomb -- being embraced by a young modern girl wearing sneakers, watched over by an otter.

"The human figures are activating figures that had not been activated in sometimes thousands of years. The activation idea is one of the things that the artist was really excited about," said curator Beatrice Galilee.

The installation appeared so real and inviting that visitors Friday often tried to sit on the white chairs -- not allowed. "Please don't touch," said Galilee. "It's a tension for sure that you're not invited to the dinner."

The Met's rooftop bar has also been redesigned to merge into the installation, down to the menu, which includes cocktails chosen by the artist.

Born in 1980, Villar Rojas has said he is inspired by comic books and grunge music. He has had recent solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Highline in New York in 2013, and in Paris in 2011.

For the Met project he immersed himself in the museum's history and its collections, talking to curators, researchers, conservators and imaging specialists.

The installation is scheduled to remain open until October 29, weather permitting.