Opening: May 11, 2014 (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm)
Queen Mother of Reality by Paweł Althamer is a monumental, mixed media sculpture of an elegant figure that is peacefully reclining in the shaded southern section of the park overlooking the East River waterfront. Althamer’s sculpture is dedicated to and inspired by “Queen Mother” Dr. Delois Blakely, a U.S. Ambassador of Goodwill to Africa,who has been the Community Mayor of Harlem since she was sworn in by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995. Queen Mother of Reality serves as a call to highlight the numerous displaced and homeless of New York City – Dr. Blakely’s paramount cause.
Originally built as a part of Althamer’s Performa Commission in 2013, Queen Mother of Realityat Socrates Sculpture Park will act as a platform for creative dialogue and interactive programming, reflecting the park’s commitment to engaging audiences through public art. This spring the sculpture was reassembled by Althamer and his collaborators – a team of artists and community members, including artists Noah Fischer, Roman Stańczak, Rafal Zwirek, and Jim Constanza (aka the Aaron Burr Society), and the artist’s sons Bruno Althamer and Szymon Althamer, as well as members of the community.
Continuing Althamer’s commitment to social collaboration, which underlines most of his work,Queen Mother of Reality will engage audiences through interactive programming organized by Socrates and the artist that will invoke Dr. Blakely’s pursuits of social justice and community building. The sculpture is situated in the midst of an active community. The park is surrounded by three of the nation’s largest public housing complexes (Astoria, Ravenswood, and Queensbridge Houses), and the local community has been a park stakeholder since its creation in 1986.
The first program is a Mother’s Day celebration during the opening on May 11 from 2pm-6pm, featuring art-making workshops presented by Minor Miracles Foundation and an experimental social project titled Nails Across America by artist Breanne Trammell.
Programming will develop throughout the summer, so please continue to check back for updates.
Queen Mother of Reality is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park in collaboration with Performa, and in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
The Exhibition Program at Socrates Sculpture Park is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Charina Endowment Fund, Lambent Foundation, Mark di Suvero, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, Agnes Gund, Ivana Mestrovic, and the Thomas W. Smith Foundation.
Queen Mother of Reality is a Performa Commission and was originally presented as part of the Polish Pavilion Without Walls for Performa 13. The commission was generously supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and Toby Devan Lewis, with additional support from Foksal Gallery Foundation (Warsaw), neugerriemschneider (Berlin), Fundacja Sztuka i Współczesność, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, and Polish Ministry of Cultural and National Heritage, Tilton Gallery