Over the weekend, we saw construction crews putting together a performance stage at 43-29 Crescent Street lot. The stage will be used for ‘The Lot LIC Music and Film Series,’ which will be coming to Court Square for 15 weekends starting in August.1
This comes on the heels of work wrapping up on a new public art project on the lot called Backyard Pool by Tamara Johnson, which will open at The Lot on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Here is the full release for the new installation:
Long Island City, NY (July 22, 2014) — Socrates Sculpture Park today announced the latest public art project to be presented at The Lot – a 10,000 sq. ft. green space and burgeoning arts site in Long Island City, Queens. The new installation, titled Backyard Pool by Tamara Johnson, playfully transforms The Lot into a place for unrequited pleasure by inserting a life-sized, but non-functional, pool into the landscape. Backyard Pool is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park, a sculpture park also in Long Island City known for presenting contemporary art in the public realm, and is made possible through the generous support of Rockrose Development Corp.
A concrete pool filled with grass, Backyard Pool continues Johnson’s exploration of themes such as displacement, forgotten spaces, and the reconstruction of home. Her first iteration, titled A Public Pool, was commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park in 2013 for its Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition – an annual fellowship, residency, and exhibition program that provides artists the opportunity to create and present large-scale public art. On view at Socrates Sculpture Park from September 2013 – March 2014, Johnson’s A Public Pool was inspired by the aesthetic, nostalgia and geometry of nearby Astoria Pool – the city’s largest pool built in 1936.
Created specifically for The Lot, Backyard Pool builds on Johnson’s first pool and responds to the bustling surroundings of Court Square, Long Island City. With its kidney shape, 6-foot diving board, and ceramic tiles defining the edge, Backyard Pool resembles small family pools that are ubiquitous in many suburban backyards across the country, and especially in the artist’s hometown of Waco, Texas. Covering 329 feet of the landscape with these subtle additions, Johnson is attempting to transplant an intimate and domestic sense of space and play in an otherwise urban setting.
Despite the pleasant recollections the work may evoke, viewers will not be able to disregard Backyard Pool’s irony. Johnson at once summons desire for playful summer pastime while inciting discontent by her pool’s obvious dysfunction. In this new public space that has become everyone’s backyard, visitors are denied recreational pleasure and left with fading memories.
The opening coincides with the launch of THE LOT LIC MUSIC & FILM SERIES* – a new free, outdoor festival that will also take place in The Lot and run eight weeks through September 20th. Beginning August 2nd, the new festival will bring an eclectic mix of independent film screenings every Thursday and live music every Saturday, with exclusive catering by Michelin-rated, Long Island City-based M. Wells. A full schedule can be found on www.thelotlic.com.
Backyard Pool is the second collaboration between Socrates Sculpture Park and Rockrose Development Corp. to bring public art to The Lot. In 2013, the park presented The Lot’s inaugural art project, Parting, by architects Jerome W. Haferd and K Brandt Knapp, which was an architectural folly that connected chain links by a series of columns and beams topped by a triangulated canopy. Parting closed on June 1, 2014.