Art, Long Island City
May 11, 2016

LIC Art Bus Starts Up Again and Art You Shouldn’t Miss

Take the LIC Art Bus to exhilarating art exhibits at Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter, and MoMA PS1, all for free.

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Photo credit: Socrates Sculpture Park

The LIC Art Bus is back! Now in its third year, it started up again this past Saturday, May 7 and will run on Saturday and Sunday afternoons until September 11, from 1-6pm; it departs in 45 minute intervals. Seating is first come, first served. It was developed originally “to promote and connect Long Island City’s cultural institutions, while linking the Western Queens waterfront to a major transit hub at Court Square.”

The Art Bus takes you to the entrances of four of the major art spaces in Long Island City—Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter, and MoMA PS1. All museums are open til 6pm, and the LIC Art Bus is compatible with that scheduling. And did we mention it’s FREE?

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Here at WHA, we are all big fans of the cultural offerings from LIC’s visual art world, but in case you need some inspiration, here are some things happening at each of these locations to which the LIC Art Bus travels.

Socrates Sculpture Park

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Photo credit: Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is one of the most beloved art spaces in Queens—and happened to be runner up in the Favorite Place to Experience the Arts category in this year’s Best of Astoria competition. Along with wide open, grassy spaces and fantastic views of Manhattan, the large-scale art installations change regularly, their Outdoor Cinema is a must on Wednesday evenings in the summer, and there’s a seasonal Greenmarket (starts June 4). The current exhibition is LANDMARK, which opened May 8 and closes on August 28, 2016.

LANDMARK consists of “eight commissions and artist projects all responding to the unique history and ecology of the park.” You may know that the location of Socrates was a dump—literally—until an artist-led community effort turned it into a park, so the history and ecology should be pretty interesting. LANDMARK features works by Abigail DeVille, Brendan Fernandes, Cary Leibowitz, Jessica Segall, Casey Tang, Hank Willis Thomas, Meg Webster. There’s also a video series on display that was commissioned by ARTPORT_making waves. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd, LIC

The Noguchi Museum

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Photo credit: The Noguchi Museum

Right now there are four exhibits at The Noguchi, a museum known for displaying the art and sculpture of Japanese American Isamu Noguchi. The current exhibit that has gained the most notoriety and curiosity is the Tom Sachs Tea Ceremony. Like their neighbor to the north (Socrates), The Noguchi Museum is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a tea house installation by sculptor Tom Sachs—apparently, this is the first time the Museum has presented work by a single artist other than Noguchi.

The Noguchi folks can describe the installation better than I can:

The exhibition centers on an immersive environment representing Sachs’ distinctive reworking of chanoyu, or traditional Japanese tea ceremony—including the myriad elements essential to that intensely ritualistic universe.

Among the large stone sculptures by Isamu Noguchi in the Museum’s indoor/outdoor galleries, Sachs has set a tea house in a garden accessorized with variations on lanterns, gates, a wash basin, a plywood airplane lavatory, a koi pond, an ultra HD video wall with the sublime hyper-presence of Mt. Fuji, a bronze bonsai made of over 3,600 individually welded parts, and other objects of use and contemplation. Sachs has also produced a complete alternative material culture of Tea—from bowls and ladles, scroll paintings and vases, to a motorized tea whisk, a shot clock, and an electronic brazier.

Supplementing the tea garden are three additional installations covering consummate examples of Sachs’ Tea tools, a brief history of Tea as it developed out of Sachs’Space Program 2.0: MARS, and a small retrospective of the artist’s two decade–long career as a cultural hybridizer.

To participate in a tea ceremony, you’ll have to make a reservation. Click on any of the linked times on this page to do so. This exhibit closes July 24, 2016.

Aside from the Tea Ceremony exhibit, there are three other exhibits that feature functional ceramics (through July 24, 2016), furniture design (through January 8, 2017), and photographs of the museum by Tina Barney and Stephen Shore (also through January 8, 2017). The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road, LIC

SculptureCenter

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Photo credit: SculptureCenter

On April 30, two new exhibitions opened at SculptureCenter—Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance and In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New. Both close August 1, 2016.

In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New is a group exhibition organized from proposals for new work submitted through SculptureCenter’s annual open call. Regarding the name, it’s taken from Freud’s lecture on dreams, that “the creative process of the mind can only regroup elements from already existing sources—that any one creative fantasy is a work of translating what one knows of reality into an imaginary space.” (quoted material by SculptureCenter). 2016 Curatorial Fellow, Olga Dekalo, curates this exhibit. Artists include Christopher Aque, Phillip Birch, Onyedika J Chuke, Jonathan Ehrenberg, Tamar Zohara Ettun, Raque Ford, Jeannine Han, Elizabeth Jaeger, Meredith James, Jamie Sneider, Patrice Renee Washington, and Tuguldur Yondonjamts.

Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance features old and new works, including a film installation created in collaboration with renowned cinematographer Bradford Young. Untitled (Structures) (2012) sounds particularly interesting:

“A two-channel film installation inspired by an archive of civil rights-era photographs housed at the Menil Collection in Houston. Originally commissioned by the Menil Collection, the Des Moines Art Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Untitled (Structures) presents a series of silent vignettes shot at locations in Chicago, Memphis, and the Arkansas Delta; places that were profoundly impacted by the Great Migration and by the civil rights movement.” SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves Street, LIC

MoMA PS1

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Photo credit: MoMA PS1

Currently on view at MoMA PS1 are four exhibits:

Sculptor Lionel Maunz, who creates, “dystopian sculptures from rugged, brutal materials like cast iron, concrete and steel.” (Through August 29, 2016)

Rodney McMillian: Landscape Paintings, “a suite of twelve paintings on bed sheets and an untitled video from 2005.” (Through August 29, 2016)

The first exhibition by Georgian artist Thea Djordjadze, Projects 103. She has built a site-specific work at PS1, “a large-scale sculptural installation made especially for the museum’s ground floor, brick-walled, duplex gallery. Responding to the room’s exaggerated ceiling height, the work is inspired by a 12th century pharmacy located in the cave city of Vardzia, Georgia, pictured in a poster that hung in the artist’s childhood bedroom.” (Through August 29, 2016)

The first museum solo show in the US of Beijing-based artist Cao Fei. For PS1, the exhibit is a summary of of her work, including video, photography, sculpture, and installation, taking place in the First Floor Main Galleries. (Through August 31, 2016)

Also, remember that the annual WarmUp outdoor music series starts June 11 in the courtyard on Saturdays until August 27. The festivities go from 3-9pm; doors open at noon. And if you haven’t been to the M. Wells Dinette, that’s another reason to head to PS1. MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, LIC

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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