Socrates Sculpture Park Prepares for Heide Fasnacht’s Giant Sinkhole

Heide Fasnacht, Suspect Terrain (rendering). Photo: Socrates Sculpture Park.
Heide Fasnacht, Suspect Terrain (rendering). Photo: Socrates Sculpture Park.

Socrates Sculpture Park has announced plans for Suspect Terrain, a work by Heide Fasnacht that will appear to be a 30-foot wide sinkhole, which opens May 17. The piece joins an impressive slate of public artworks in New York this season (see New York’s 10 Most Beautiful Public Art Shows for Spring).

“They really call attention to the extremes of one another, even as they stand on their own,” Elissa Goldstone, the park’s exhibition program manager, told artnet News of the two projects.

Though Suspect Terrain will appear to be a giant pit, with a house partially sunk into a puddle of water in its deepest point, the earth cracking and giving way, Fasnacht isn’t actually creating a quarry in Queens. Through the power of illusion, Suspect Terrain will appear to be surrounded by cracked earth (created from plywood), allowing viewers to stare into the “depths” below, but actually at true ground level.

The work is a fitting counterpoint to The Living Pyramid, a giant 30-foot pyramid that artist Agnes Denes will be erecting on the shoreline of the sculpture park this spring (see Agnes Denes to Build Living Pyramid at Socrates Sculpture Park).

While it may seem hard to visualize, Goldstone assures artnet News that “it does absolutely have that negative imprint feeling of the carving away of the earth.”

The piece was inspired by devastating sinkhole disasters such as a 30-story-deep chasm that opened up in Guatemala in 2010, and a 52-foot-deep pit that appeared in China’s Shenzhen region in 2013, but could have just as easily drawn on the sinkhole that swallowed up eight cars at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and almost became a permanent feature of the institution (see Despite Surge in Sinkhole Visitors, Corvette Museum Will Fill ‘Er Up).

Suspect Terrain also calls to mind Urs Fischer’s 2007 piece, You, in which he dug a massive hole in the floor of the central gallery space at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York (see Can You Dig It?).

In addition to the works by Fasnacht and Denes, Socrates will play host to Two Trees in Balance, two suspended sculptures created from salvaged stumps and branches by Gabriela Albergaria; and IK Studio‘s Torqueing Spheres (the 2015 Folly Program winner). Selected by the park and the Architectural League of New York, the Cambridge and Philadelphia-based firm will build a series of curving interactive sculptures with pod-like seating chambers for park-goers to socialize in.


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