Events

A New Generation of Artists Confronts Environmental and Colonial Issues

Socrates Sculpture Park presents its annual exhibition of artist fellows in an effort to nurture emerging talent.

“Access Grove, Soft Stand” by Gabriela Salazar (image courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)

Despite the unseasonably balmy temperature, autumn is officially here. The art world is already diving into pumpkin spice season with its regular onslaught of fairs, exhibitions, and events. Thankfully, a few organizations in the mix have devoted a portion of their fall programming to supporting young artists.

Look no further than the 2019 Socrates Annual, which begins October 5 at the Socrates Sculpture Park. (The opening is that night from 4 to 6 pm.) A gem of Long Island City, the Queens institution has a long history of producing dynamic, thought-provoking exhibitions. Their upcoming show continues that tradition by nurturing the talents of early-career artists, including Hyperallergic favorites like Rachelle Dang, Jes Fan, and the Workers Arts Coalition (WAC).

A culminating show for the Socrates Annual Fellowship, the exhibition intends to represent a diversity of approaches to visual culture and exceed the expectations of art in the public realm. This year, the show promises to investigate questions between botany and colonialism, bodies and shelters, memories and underrepresented histories.

“For many participants, this is their first opportunity to create and exhibit large-scale public artwork — which has a career catalyzing effect,” said John Hatfield, executive director of the park, in a statement. “It is a privilege to be able to support artists in this way.”

For the exhibition, artists like Gabriela Salazar are looking to the environment for inspiration. She weaves a red rope through the park’s central grove of trees. Looking like a VIP separator, the rope both divides and guides visitors through the space. Meanwhile, Martin Roth will present a soundscape at various locations throughout the park composed of insect chirps, bird songs, and frog croaks.

On the more political side of things, Jesus Benavente will present “I Still Remember You Mijo (Votive Vela),” which is a response to the ongoing targeting of Latinx communities in the United States. Tecumseh Ceaser (NativeTec) will showcase “Honoring the People of Sewanhaky,” an homage to the original inhabitants of the territory that today encompasses Long Island and the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

When: Saturday, October 5, 4:00–6:00pm — free to the public. The exhibition continues through March 8, 2020.
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens)

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