Bee Plus Art

Eight new installations at Socrates Sculpture Park interrogate a rapidly changing Queens

Art City Terrain East
(Meg Webster, Concave Room for Bees, 2016. Installation view, 70' in diameter. Image courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)
(Meg Webster, Concave Room for Bees, 2016. Installation view, 70' in diameter. Image courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)

To honor its 30th birthday, Socrates Sculpture Park, the former dump-turned-art park on the banks of the East River, is presenting LANDMARK, a summer series of land art installations by eight artists, including a new earthwork, Concave Room for Bees, by New York–based Meg Webster.

The series is a reflection on the changing neighborhood surrounding Socrates; the works engage gentrified Long Island City‘s cultural shifts and interrogate its economic transition.

(Meg Webster, Concave Room for Bees, 2016. Installation view, 70' in diameter. Image courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)

(Meg Webster, Concave Room for Bees, 2016. Installation view, 70′ in diameter. Image courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)

Webster’s 70-foot-wide earthwork, which incorporates 300 cubic yards of dirt, attracts the flora and fauna of New York with a sculptural display of various soil compositions, and native flowering vegetation that attract pollinators. Nature-starved visitors can walk through the Concave Room for Bees on loamy paths to get a closer look at ecology in action.

Since the 1970s, Webster has created indoor and outdoor work that features elements like water, salt, or moss, all arranged into geometric forms. When this piece is dismantled, the earth will be distributed across the park to give the topsoil a jolt of nutrients.

(Abigail DeVille, Half Moon, 2016. Installation view. Courtesy Nate Dorr)

(Abigail DeVille, Half Moon, 2016. Installation view. Courtesy Nate Dorr)

Other works include a new piece, Half Moon, by artist Abigail DeVille, that uses found materials to explore the site’s former role as a ferry slip and landfill. DeVille’s scraggly shipwreck is a meditation on decay, public neglect, and contemporary issues of migration in Long Island City.

( Jonathan Odom, Open Seating, 2016. Installation view. Courtesy Nate Dorr)

(Jonathan Odom, Open Seating, 2016. Installation view. Courtesy Nate Dorr)

Jonathan Odom’s Open Seating is a series of 50 open-source chairs crafted from CNC-cut plywood and held together by ratchet straps (Odom created the designs and has released them online for others to replicate, gratis). The chairs, painted in languid pastels by volunteers, give visitors an opportunity to socialize, relax, and enjoy giant installations framed by the Manhattan skyline.

LANDMARK is on view through August 28.

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