Socrates Sculpture Park Turns 30!
By Ilija Sekulovski
This year, Socrates Sculpture Park is having its 30th Anniversary. And for that momentous accolade, the institution will present Landmark – consisting of a series of artist commissions and projects which will transform the park physically and symbolically.
The park once took on another massive transformation, when it transformed itself from a landfill and illegal dumping ground to one of New York City's most preeminent sculpture parks and social spaces for public art.
The new Landmark series, will address the ideas of place, tying the concept to both social and ecological structures, and from maintenance and stewardship to evolution over time.
The series features eight artist projects. The evolution of the park itself, beginning in 1986 has – like the surrounding area of Queens – rapidly changed over time. This is why the eight artists will try and encompass that change, whether it is cultural or economical, throughout the parks history.
One of the major attractions in the park will be a 70-feet in diameter living sculptural installation by Meg Webster called Concave Room for Bees. The circular earth bowl which comprises of more than 300 cubic yards of fertile soil will evolve over time, eventually sprouting from it's base; flowers, herbs and shrubs, each attracting pollinating creatures.
Some of the other attractions, according to socratessculpturepark.org, will include :
• A new work by Abigail DeVille utilizes found materials and simultaneously bears witness to and transforms public neglect, decay and marginalization. Resonating with the site’s historic role as ferry slip and landfill, as well as its new position in a post-industrial neighborhood, the sculpture will address issues of migration and immigration.
• Jessica Segall’s Fugue in B♭ is a salvaged piano harp turned into an observational musical beehive. As the active bee colony interacts with the piano chords, the piece becomes a sound installation, as well as an homage to nineteenth-century Astoria which was once a major industrial port and hub of piano manufacturing.
• Casey Tang’s Urban Forest Lab has grown into a self-sustaining entity over the years. Through successive plantings of different flora, the forest garden becomes a living repository of perennial vegetables, where visitors can explore various concepts of sustainability, as well as human relationships with nature, ecology, agriculture, and food.
• Housed in a shipping container is an anthology of the video series Cool Stories for When The Planet Gets Hot, presented by ARTPORT_making waves. Compiled from the organization’s biennial competitions of art videos that address climate change, these stories link the park’s local plot of land to the global dialog surrounding climate change, stewardship and sustainability.
There are also many smaller installations that were made by the artists in order to question the parks role in the community, and the role of the community in general. Things that make an individual think about everything from the cultural background of their neighborhood to the borders which surround it.
Lastly, as stated in socratessculpturepark.org, Socrates’ Exhibition Program is funded, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Socrates Sculpture Park is a public/private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
So we hope you and your family or friends will come down to Socrates Sculpture Park, and celebrate 30 years of innovative and inspirational art by some of the most talented people in New York.
When: MAY 8, 2016 – AUGUST 28, 2016
Opening: MAY 8, 2016 (1:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
Artits: ARTPORT_MAKING WAVES , ABIGAIL DEVILLE, JONATHAN ODOM, JESSICA SEGALL, CASEY TANG,HANK WILLIS THOMAS, MEG WEBSTER