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Socrates Sculpture Park was founded in 1986 by visionary sculptor Mark di Suvero as a community engaged, accessible arts space dedicated to supporting artists in the production and presentation of public artworks.
Socrates is now a designated New York City public park and cultural anchor in Queens exhibiting topical contemporary public art that intimately engages our five-acre waterfront landscape and diverse audiences. The Park’s visual arts programming presents emerging, mid-career, and internationally renowned artists by offering an open platform for public art and encouraging unfettered ambition in scale and subject matter.
Since the Park’s inception, the vast majority of artworks exhibited at the Park have been commissioned and built on-site in our outdoor artist studio space. This gives our visitors the unique opportunity to witness the creative and often labor-intensive art-making process. The Park also remains open to the public during exhibition installation and de-installation.
Socrates does not have a permanent collection and all artworks are temporarily on view. A searchable archive of every Socrates exhibition is available HERE and our archive of over 1,000 participating artists is available HERE. Additionally, you can browse our digital library of exhibition catalogs and publications HERE.
In recent years, the Park has presented four major visual arts initiatives annually: The Spring/Summer Exhibition; ‘The Socrates Annual’ fellowship & exhibition; The Folly/Function Design Competition in Partnership with The Architectural League of New York; & The Broadway Billboard Series.
Admission to the Park and all of our exhibitions is always FREE.
THE SPRING/SUMMER EXHIBITION
Miya Ando, ‘Ginga (Silver River),’ 2019. Photo: Nicholas Knight Studio
Every year, the Park engages with internationally recognized artists for our Spring/Summer Exhibition. In recent years, we have commissioned major projects from acclaimed artists including Virginia Overton, Nari Ward, Agnes Denes, and Meg Webster.
‘THE SOCRATES ANNUAL’
Marius Ritiu, ‘Rock’n Roll (Sisyphus – Part II),’ 2019. Photo: Scott Lynch
‘The Socrates Annual’ is the culminating exhibition of ‘The Socrates Annual’ fellowship (formerly known as ‘The Emerging Artist Fellowship & Exhibition’).
Every year, fifteen artists are selected for ‘The Socrates Annual’ fellowship through a competitive open-call application process. Artists including Sable Elyse Smith (2016), David Brooks (2009), Hank Willis Thomas (2006), Orly Genger (2004), and Sanford Biggers (2001) have participated in the fellowship program since it was formalized in 2000.
Artist Fellows are each awarded a production stipend, access to the Park’s outdoor artist studio, and the technical/administrative support needed to realize ambitious public art projects. The fellowship traditionally culminates in the fall with ‘The Socrates Annual’ exhibition, which showcases diverse artistic approaches, mediums, and subject matters that comprise a compelling survey of contemporary art practices.
The application period for ‘The Socrates Annual’ 2020 fellowship is now open. You can view the application guidelines HERE. Stay ahead of Fellowship deadlines by joining our mailing list and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
School Studio, ‘Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear,’ 2019. Photo: Sara Morgan
Folly/Function is the Park’s annual architectural and design competition in partnership with The Architectural League of New York. The program launched in 2012 to investigate the intersection between sculpture and architecture through the conceptual framework of “follies”— temporary structures that intentionally serve no practical purpose. The program has evolved to fuse form with utility to address structural needs within the Park.
Winners of the Folly/Function competition are awarded a production grant, access to the Park’s outdoor studio, and support from Socrates and The League to realize their project. Finished Folly/Function projects traditionally go on view in the summer.
Previous winning proposals:
- 2019: Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear by School Studio
- 2018: RRRolling Stones by HANNAH
- 2017: Circle Shade – 2πr4 by Eva Jensen Design
- 2016: Sticks by Hou de Sousa
- 2015: Torqueing Spheres by IK Studio
- 2014: SuralArk by Austin+Mergold
- 2013: tree wood by Toshihiro Oki architect p.c.
- 2012: Curtain by Jerome W. Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp.
The application period for the Folly/Function 2019 is closed. You can view the application guidelines HERE. Stay ahead of proposal deadlines by joining our mailing list and by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Dread Scott,’To The Avengers of the New World,’ 2019. Photo: Sara Morgan
Since 1999, Socrates has activated the billboard above the main entrance to the Park with an ongoing series of artworks commissioned from established artists including John Giorno, Douglas Gordon, Michael Joo, Los Angeles Urban Rangers, Wangechi Mutu, Chitra Ganesh, and Duke Riley. In response to the 2016 presidential election, Socrates held an open-call competition for the Broadway Billboard on the topics of democracy and American identity. The winning proposals were Welcome by Guillaume Légaré and Word on the Street: Love Not Hatred by Amy Khoshbin & Anne Carson.