Do you like goats? Of course you do. They're the greatest of all time. And starting right now these glorious creatures have overrun Astoria's Socrates Sculpture Park, in the form of Nari Ward's ambitious, instantly engaging new exhibition, "G.O.A.T., again." (If you're wondering about that acronym, it stands for "Greatest of All Time," a common sports phrase.)
This is the first time in the park's 30-year history that the entire five-acre space has been handed over to a single artist, and Ward makes excellent use of the opportunity. There are six main components to the show, including the title track (if you will) G.O.A.T.S, 2017, for which Ward has installed a whole menagerie of the beasts throughout the park. Each sculpture in this piece began as a cast of one of those cute, life-size lawn ornaments, to which Ward then embedded and piled upon urban detritus: rebar, electrical crap, bits of fire hose, ruined shoes.
The massive Scapegoat anchors the exhibition, which features a colossal goat head impaled at the end of a giant, rusty-wheeled pole. Apollo/Poll recreates the neon sign of the legendary Harlem concert hall. And make sure to stick your head inside the upside-down-heart-shaped Bipartition Bell.
The exhibition is entirely installed, and the park is open its regular hours of 9 a.m. to sunset every day, but since the grounds are still recovering from winter as well recent heavy rains, much of the property is taped off and being seeded. If you can, maybe wait for the official "grand opening" on June 3rd.
Socrates Sculpture Park is located at 32-01 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, at the western terminus of Broadway. Nari Ward's "G.O.A.T., again" will be on view through September 4th.