Liz Larner at SculptureCenter

Rohan Vasa, Writer

The Museum

SculptureCenter, located in Long Island City, Queens, is one of New York’s most progressive art institutions. Many of the artists shown go on to have successful careers, adding their own cultural and aesthetic contributions to the field. In addition to their focus on new and experimental work, SculptureCenter is also known for giving older, mid-career artists their first large survey exhibitions within a museum. Their current show, Liz Larner: Don’t put it back like it was, is now on view until March 28th. This show is organized in partnership with The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. 

Liz Larner

Liz Larner is a California-based artist who has been shown widely since the 80s. She uses a large range of materials from ceramics, metals, woods, and different fabrics, to bacteria, human hair, surgical gauze, and eyelashes. These are employed to confront viewers with the unexpected, and ignite associations that can be both abstract and emotional. Larner wants viewers to consider the way they think about objects through both a physical and psychological lens. The current exhibition on view now is the artist’s largest since 2001. It includes around thirty works made over three decades from 1987 to 2021. The evolution of her practice from earlier sculptures to her more recent works shows an organic process. Her questioning of materiality connects to a larger narrative of the history of sculpture and its progression into the future. 

The Architecture

SculptureCenter has been an active New York City art institution since 1928. However, it received wider recognition after it moved to a former trolley repair shop in Long Island City in 2001. Maya Lin, the prestigious artist and architect, redesigned the 6,000 sqft interior and 3,000 sqft exterior exhibition space. The institution underwent a further expansion in 2014 by Andrew Berman Architect

The Programming

One of the most noteworthy aspects of SculptureCenter is its robust programming. Along with its rotating exhibitions, it also has an annual open call titled In Practice. This program is geared towards emerging artists and curators who are invited to submit proposals for site-specific work. The institution also publishes many artist books and sells special editions in its bookstore. In addition, they run the summer program Public Process, which engages high school students with public artworks. This happens alongside a public commission done by the institution for a temporary artwork in Long Island City. 

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