The 1960 Hitchcock thriller Psycho featured one of the creepiest houses in film history, not to mention the most terrifying shower scene. So when British artist Cornelia Parker decided to rebuild the Bates’ residence out of the remnants of an old, red barn, the stakes were high. Seriously high.
Parker built a scaled version of the Psycho house for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s brand new rooftop display. In order to bring the creation to life, she collaborated with a restoration company that takes down old barns across America. She transformed the corrugated roof and the chipped sides of a gigantic red barn from upstate New York into a haunting version of the Bates’ residence.
Her original inspiration was Edward Hopper’s painting “House By the Railroad” which, in turn, inspired Hitchcock’s movie set. Now, Parker has nodded to both of these artists in this smaller, yet looming, structure.
For those of you out there hoping you can stay inside the “PsychoBarn,” as it has been affectionately nicknamed, it isn’t actually a solid structure.
Parker copied the film set of Psycho and only built two sides of the house. This strategy creates the effect of the Bates’ residence peering over you on the top of the Met, but the backside is actually just scaffolding and emptiness. Talk about an eerie sense of perspective.
Parker said she was inspired by “the idea of the barn being this quite wholesome thing, this lovely thing about the landscape and the countryside… and the “Psycho” house is the opposite. All the dark psychological stuff you don’t want to look at.”
Needless to say, the “PsychoBarn” will probably bring in plenty of curious New York City spectators.