By Hilarie M. Sheets
The outcome of the election changed a lot of people’s plans, including some of Nari Ward’s for his solo exhibition “G.O.A.T., again,” opening April 29 at Socrates Sculpture Park on the waterfront in Long Island City, Queens.
Invited last summer to conceive site-specific installations across the entire green space — the first time all five acres have been given over to a single artist in the park’s 30-year history — Mr. Ward, a Jamaican-born, Harlem-based artist, has made a number of alterations to his proposed design postelection. He has created an altogether new piece titled “Scapegoat,” a 40-foot-long hobby horse with a giant goat’s head, a parody of virility and monuments to political leaders typically sited in public spaces.
Socrates fabricates ambitiously scaled commissions in its on-site facilities and was able to respond nimbly to Mr. Ward’s sudden change in course. Set in one of the most diverse counties in the United States, the artist’s five new sculptures will address themes of immigration, race and belonging in ways both playful and pointed. “Nari recombines culturally specific signifiers and is masterful at teasing out memory, association, history, politics,” said John Hatfield, executive director of Socrates. “That’s particularly well-suited for Queens, an extraordinary place for all different kinds of cultures.”