Astoria is art, Outside and In

Two of my favorite places to visit in Astoria are the Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum. To have both minutes away from each other is a treat. Year-round, they offer so much to see.

People flock to Socrates Park for the large-scale art pieces, plus stellar views of Roosevelt Island and Manhattan. “Monuments, Parts 1, 2, and 3” is the current exhibition on view throughout the Socrates grounds. It includes several intriguing pieces that explore how monuments are viewed within society.

Don’t miss the three-section pyramid by Jeffrey Gibson. It’s stunning, especially with the East River serving as a backdrop.

The serene Noguchi Museum features dozens of sculptures by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-88) spread throughout three floors and garden. There are no name labels for the individual artworks of metal, wood, stone, plastic, and other materials. The collection consists of pieces arrayed in different ways with some freestanding, perched on shelves, or even sitting on the floor or on top of boxes. Depending upon how you approach a piece, it will look very different; so pace slowly around each artwork and admire it. Some sculptures even cast beautiful shadows on the walls or floors. Most are abstract, and many have a playful quality.

Among my favorites are the large, standing piece called “Effigy” that features a cut out of a man, and the silly, dinosaur-like “Fishface”. These pieces are identified in a booklet titled “Body-Space Devices,” distributed at the museum’s front desk.

Check out the small temporary exhibition of lamp light sculptures, Futura Akari, created by Noguchi and decorated by Futura.