Sculpture And The City

If two dimensions are not enough for you these days when it comes to how you experience your art, there’s a little piece of real estate east of Roosevelt Island I want to tell you about. Situated between 31st Avenue and 33rd Road and meditating on the crossroads of where Long Island City meets Astoria meets nondescript industrial greyland is a little oasis of sculptural bliss. There is some really cool stuff happening here as illustrated by the two following pieces of sublime evidence:

Exhibit A
The first time I visited Socrates Sculpture Park in 2007, I went to check out the work Linda Ganjian, a friend whose playfully-intricate constructions are the stuff of poetry for me. Immediately, I was entranced by how all the pieces on exhibit seemed to complement both the space in which they were displayed (the park) as well as the larger space of the city. The spot sports spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. And even though it’s art, it’s also a park, so part of the experience involves reading placards for inventive installations while interacting with random dogs and kids and picnickers who are (like me on this brisk afternoon) curious where Copernicus the Rabbit has gone to after he (perhaps?) has crash landed the Jesus Nut. This is a reference to Jonathan Durham’s interesting fablementary on display until March of 2011, which probably doesn’t help you, dear April reader. Fear not though, you can Google him and it and Socrates Sculpture Park and find out for yourself.

Exhibit B
On a more serious note, Isamu Noguchi’s work can stop traffic. And for that reason alone, be mindful of the energy in and around this place. I was sucked in, zenned out, and left flattened like a piece of illuminated tissue paper. Noguchi’s work denounces fascism and war. His complexity as a person (bi-racial, bi-cultural) grounds itself in works of stone and earth. He carves out identity in a world of transient identities, shifting profile images and status updates. He is the real deal, and the museum does a remarkable job at presenting his life and facets of his work in a sound, digestible manner perfect for serendipitous afternoon drop ins and transformations.

alan semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a writer, musician, English teacher, and occasional visual artist. Besides LI Pulse, his work has appeared in Newsday, Adbusters, Chain, The Lyric Review and numerous other print and online publications, anthologies, and chapbooks. His first full-length book of poetry is In the Architecture of Bone (Genpop Books 2009). You can visit him digitally at and find out about his music at