Water Works


Socrates Sculpture Park has a spirit of its own. A getaway from Manhattan’s commercial art gallery spaces, it rewards visitors with visually refreshing outdoor exhibitions on its East River waterfront in Long Island City. The current exhibition, “7.840.800 cu ft,” in addition to work from past shows, features 12 new site-specific projects (through September 19). Howard Schwartzberg’s enigmatic earth-art piece, Surface, instantly catches the eye. The artist has dug out a deep curve, then wrapped it with burlap as if catching the earth’s body in a large fishing net. Despite its name, the work incites one to look beyond its surface in order to reveal the earth’s sculptural potential.

Norwegian artist Knut Wold provokes an interaction between earth and water in his Peat Moss Sculpture, which rests on top of a drainage pipe just off shore. The artist has constructed a minimalistic cubical structure from large blocks of peat (imported from Norway) that is reminiscent of World War II pillboxes used for protection against shells. The piece hinges upon the inevitable disintegration of its very structure as wind and water continuously eat at it.

The exhibition’s diverse styles and media range from Nancy Goldenberg’s Soap Wall to a station wagon mobile home by Lesperance and Scholz, with Silvia Benitez’s China Money dominating the landscape. She has constructed a large wooden wheel from countless, identical blocks of found wood that form a cube of empty space at its center. This work manifests the notion of establishing an order of supreme simplicity over the chaotic multitude—the challenge and characteristic of the exhibition itself.

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