New York Art Scene

Socrates Sculpture Park

Wow! Just WOW! I can’t even begin to tell you how magical Socrates Sculpture Park is. It is hands down one of my favorite parks in Queens. It could be due to my childhood infatuation with the park. My dad would always drive past it on our way to Costco. I would ask if we could take a peak inside, but my parents were always on a mission to get the groceries and get home. I would see these huge steel sculptures peaking out from behind the parks bushes. Sometimes I would even stick my head out the window, hoping to get a better look at the sheer magnitude of these pieces. They were MASSIVE! I was also barely a teenager, and still a tiny human being who felt this city was this scary and larger-than-life place.

However, Socrates never ceases to amaze me, and that’s hard to do for a strict critic like myself. They really BROUGHT-IT with their current exhibitions. From artist Amy Brener’s “Fort-dress” (a translucent hot-pink partial shelter that encompasses the female body and form) to Nathaniel Cummings-Lambert’s “Corral,” (a labyrinth made up of wood fencing and gating, inspired by animal pens found in rural areas) there is art for every taste. I actually got lost for a bit and almost lost my sanity while attempting to get through Corral. It’s hard to admit, but I’m really not the brightest when it comes to paying attention to directions, very much like my driving. Although it was both fun and annoying to lose myself in a labyrinth, nothing beats Sherwin Banfield’s “A Cypher in Queens.” For a girl from Queens there is literally nothing cooler than seeing your childhood hero’s propped up like gods in gold. Sherwin has created three statues, one for each of Queen’s fallen hip-hop soldiers (Jam Master Jay, Phife Dawg, and Prodigy) and he was somehow able to incorporate speakers, so as you’re looking up at your hip-hop gods you’re also listen to their greatest hits. How sick is that?!

I suggest that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE go and check out Socrates Sculpture Park in the next fews days. Rumor has it we’re in for some warm weather, so what better excuse to take in the sun while enjoying some awesome art. Also, if any of these pieces caught your attention, I suggest you pay the park a visit on or BEFORE March 24th, as this will be the last day they will be exhibited thanks to a recent extension by park administration. Admission to the park is completely FREE!

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite flicks from my visit.

The Noguchi Museum

Enter a world of zen. That is honestly the best way I can put my experience at The Noguchi Museum. This Queens museum, located in Long Island City near another local staple, Socrates Park, is filled with concrete sculptures and innovative light installations, among other pieces highly influenced by Asian culture. I was lucky enough to have chosen one of the warmer winter days to tour the location because the museum also holds one of the most beautiful gardens. Although there is a small $10 fee to enter this enclave, the garden is well worth it and they even have a small cafe in case you want to sit back and relax after hauling up all three floors. The museum is expansive, so give yourself some time to really be able to enjoy each floor and take a nice amount of photos. I can definitely see myself returning during the spring and summer months, just to be able to enjoy their garden. It really is such a beautiful place to get away from city commotion.

The Noguchi Museum exhibits the work of Isamu Noguchi, the famous Japanese-American sculptor, along with other visiting artists. The museum is currently exhibiting “Akari: Sculpture by Other Means,” a maze of collapsable paper cyclinders and “Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA,” an art collaboration of six designers. Both exhibitions run through April 14th on the second floor of the museum. You really don’t want to miss it.

Here are some of my favorite pieces, as well as a few photos from the garden. For more photographs, please visit my Gallery.

“A Continuous Stream Of Occurrence” @ THE KNOCK DOWN CENTER

Artists William Lamson and Luba Drozd have come together under the same roof to exhibit their works at The Knock Down Center. Yesterday was the grand opening of their exhibition, “A Continuous Stream of Occurrence.” Lamson’s exhibit, “Bad Water,” was a combination of blown glass, aluminum piping, glass pipes wrapped in a foam-like substance and fluorescent lights, among other materials. The combination of all of these substances and materials organically formed the illusion of a frozen river. You could even say the structures resembled a water fall, as they were stacked up on a metal shelving unit about 5 shelves high, and as you worked your way to the bottom shelves the pieces stretched out onto the gallery floor. Although a bit cryptic, the flow of the art caught my attention. The placement of these pieces gave the exhibit a natural flow that captivated each and every person who entered this particular room. We all found ourselves squatting down and rising up in search of new discoveries. I walked around the structure at-least twice, checking to see if maybe any details or elements were missed on my last go-around. But I have to be transparent. The artist that really captured me was Luba Drozd and her “Franconia Notch” exhibit. I was instantly captured by the projections on the walls. As soon as you walked into the room you saw shadows, glass hanging from copper wires, large rocks wrapped in wiring while hanging from the ceiling, and copper pipes shooting out of drywall. The most exceptional part of the exhibit for me were the tactical projections. The shadows on the wall were not all formed by the beautifully placed hanging-glass structures, some were actually being projected and mimicked the movement of a few of the objects within this room. My eyes were being tricked, and this fascinated me. I recommend everyone take at least 5 to 10 minutes to really let the structures on the walls sink in, and then slowly let the projections come to play. I found this both fun and interactive.

“A Continuous Stream of Occurrence” will be on display at The Knock Down Center until April 28th of this year. Entry is completely free. Doors are open to all: Thursday through Friday from 5PM to 9PM and Saturday to Sunday from 2PM to 8PM.

On a side note… They have a cute bar inside KDC called “The Ready Room.” So make it a date and get drinks after your walk-through!

Check out my Gallery for more photos on this event.

Homage to “Gluteus Maximus”

The title is accurate. No mistakes here! Yesterday I was finally able to take a trip over to Mrs., a gallery located in Maspeth, Queens with a whole lot of personality. I had been wanting to visit this Queens staple for some time, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint. Mrs. is currently exhibiting the work of Omari Douglin, a Brooklyn-based artist who has dedicated his pieces to the female body. “Gluteus Maximus” is Douglin’s second solo exhibition at Mrs., and his third overall. He has also participated in group exhibitions all around the country, from Miami, Florida to Los Angeles California. The artist has done an amazing job at paying tribute to the female form. His exhibition shows different female derrière’s, ranging from different sizes to different colors. The industrial colored caulks he uses to create these shapes give the pieces depth, making the pieces appear almost three dimensional. And yes! You heard correctly. He uses industrial caulk, or in other words, the material used when piping tiles in bathrooms or even in kitchens. How incredible is that?! I recommend that everyone take a trip over to Mrs. before Douglin’s “Gluteus Maximus” exhibit comes to an end on March 30th. Also, it is completely free. So if you’re penny pinching, add this to your list of affordable weekend “must-see” galleries.