New Alison Saar Frying Pan Benefits Socrates Sculpture Park


Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar made a significant contribution to Socrates Sculpture Park’s annual benefit. Weighing about five pounds, Shadow (2022) is a dynamic three-color image of a black woman printed on the back of a cast iron skillet. Her powerful, all-white eyes evoke both Afrofuturist symbols and images of Yoruba spirits, while her afro practically blocks out a burst of circular white light, leaving the impression of a halo. Despite the weight of the cast, it looks as if the woman could be looking at the viewer in or through a hand mirror.

The work echoes Saar’s contribution to a 1988 exhibition at Queens Park, sculpture work, which also combined themes of femininity, domesticity and finding the magical in the mundane. Shadow was created specifically for the 2022 edition of Celebrate Socrates, the sculpture park’s annual benefit event. Saar designed the work, carving the image into the linoleum and creating a screen print on the west coast while the 12 editions and five artist’s proofs were created in New York before the performance.

Each year, an artist is invited to create a limited-edition work to benefit the park, and Saarland is in good company. Last year’s edits were done by Guadalupe Maravilla and previous contributing artists include Miya Ando, ​​Roxy Paine and Agnes Denes. “I’ve always been interested in cooking and cooking,” says Saar, “and I love the dichotomy of a cast iron skillet. It is meant to nourish, nurture, provide warmth, but it can also be violent, it can be used as a weapon.

Saarland was partly inspired by images surrounding the Black Panthers, whose members are often depicted in militaristic poses, wearing leather jackets and holding guns. “So much has been lost on the loving and caring side of the Panthers organization. Their main objective was to feed the children and educate them, but the media only ever focused on the hostile and dangerous aspects,” she says. Named after the darkest part of a shadow before it begins to turn into light, Shadow shows that there is always more to see, even in the most mundane things, if you want to look.

Each edition of Shadow is priced at $4,000 until the end of the Celebrate Socrates benefit (September 22), after which the price will increase to $6,000.

The Socrates sculpture park recently inaugurated on a The Cubes, a major addition to its storied campus designed by architecture studio Lot-Ek and fashioned from shipping containers.

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