explore: do it (outside)

It’s hotter than balls in New York right now, but it’s cooler by the river, in the evening, if you can fight off the bugs. I’m writing a piece for my dear friend Ali’s fantastic online art review Artvehicle about the current exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park (which will have a more decorous lede) so this evening I walked down there to take some pictures. I’ve written about Socrates many times before, and it might be my favorite outdoor space in the city. I love the combination of a community-minded space and a genuine curatorial vision; I love being able to visit a farmer’s market in an outdoor gallery, and I love the juxtaposition of picnic space, views of the city, and weird, challenging, quirky, colossal, and silly art.

Here were some of my favorite pieces from the main show, Do It (Outside), conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, which presents a series of instructions from artists on how to create a piece of art, which cannot be permanent and must be dismantled at the end of the show. It raises all sorts of questions about creation vs. “realization,” and highlights the importance of space, collaboration, serendipity… plus, there’s candy (courtesy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres) and lounge chairs. 


The exhibit was a tunnel of instructions printed on big white canvases, with “interpretations” nearby.


The “rules” of the exhibition.


Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Sculpture for Strolling” constructed out of daily newspapers. Read all about local Queens politics… on a giant papier maché ball.


I love this good-natured interpretation of Alison Knowles’s “Homage to Each Red Thing,” which instructs that the gallery floor space be divided into squares, and something red placed in each of them–a piece of fruit, a shoe, or a lounge chair and umbrella, where people can sit, perfectly indifferent to the art?


Darren Bader’s work instructs: “Glue a [rectangular] table to the sky [table top up, somewhere not too close to the sky’s zenith]”


There are plenty of big names in the piece, from Ai Weiwei (whose piece is a set of instructions for creating a portable device for spraying paint over CCTV cameras) to Tracey Emin, whose piece “What Would Tracey Do?” requires 27 bottles wrapped in red cotton “like a strange web that joins them all together.”


This piece interprets Sol LeWitt: “A black not straight line is drawn at approximately the center of the wall horizontally from side to side. Alternate yellow and blue lines are drawn above and below the black line to the top and bottom of the wall.” This was one piece among several where the open-air space made such a difference to instructions that were clearly meant to dominate a gallery interior. This is a hard space to dominate…


This is a different piece entirely, “Folly” by architect Toshihiro Oki. It’s a chandelier in a giant wooden tree cage, because why not? I love it.




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