The Socrates Sculpture Park, located in Long Island City and overlooking the East River, has drawn a steady stream of visitors since being founded by Mark di Suvero in 1986. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the park is hosting ‘LANDMARK’, a show devoted to eight artist commissions.
Front and centre is sculptor and installation artist Meg Webster’s earthwork Concave Room for Bees. A sloping wall made up of rectangular blocks of soil, bound by strips of steel and laid out in a circular form, is close to six feet high. The viewer enters though an opening in the wall and encounters lavender, wild geraniums, golden rods and other flowers planted in the interior wall. Webster says she intended the piece to attract bees and thus raise an important environmental issue centred on endangered cross-pollination.
'My Concave Room for Bees addresses the desperate condition of flora threatened by the use of pesticides,’ says Webster. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the soil will be dispersed throughtout the park.
Nearby, Jessica Segall’s Fugue in B ♭ is certain to cause bewilderment, as the artist inserted a colony of bees in a salvaged baby grand piano. Meanwhile, Casey Tang’s Urban Forest Lab is an actual garden of newly planted turnips and other vegetables. ‘All of these commissions focus on our natural environment,’ says Jessica Wilcox, Socrates Sculpture Park's exhibitions director.
With the Socrates jazz festival slated for this summer and the Noguchi Museum but a block away, this area of Long Island City is bound to score a host of visitors.