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Governors Island Art Fair


8th Annual Governors Island Art Fair  
Every weekend in September 2015

Indulge your curiosity as you explore the abandoned military barracks of Governors Island Art Fair, 100 singular rooms of painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and sound art. Run by artists, for artists, New York’s largest independent exhibition enters its 8th year this fall. Once again GIAF organizers, 4heads, have sifted through a sea of creative proposals from New York and around the world, giving 100 of the best a full room each, in which to wreak havoc as they see fit. GIAF also features independent galleries–encouraging the dialogue between artists and art dealers.  And outside on the grass, live music, large-scale sculpture, food, drink and more. Can’t wait until September?  4heads’ Artists in Residence keep their studio doors open every weekend, all summer long on the island. Get your culture fix on Governors Island – there’s enough art here to start a new country.

Governors Island Art Fair is organized by 4heads, a New York City nonprofit organization created by artists for artists. Their goals are to foster community by offering space for artists, to provide arts-education for the underserved, and to expose hidden culture.  4heads supports a collaborative DIY spirit while catalyzing dialogue between artists and people from all walks of life.

GIAF takes place at Colonel’s Row on Governors Island. Admission is free. Catalogues are available for purchase for $20. Hours are 11am – 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays, September 5 – 27, 2015.  Governors Island is accessible by an 8-minute ferry ride from the Battery Maritime Building (10 South Street) in Lower Manhattan or a 3-minute ferry ride from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 (at the end of Atlantic Avenue, at Columbia Street) in Brooklyn. The ferry ride costs $2.

  • 5. Blair Martin Cahill


    The multi-layered artist, Blair Cahill, combines traditional craftsmanship with modern elements. Recently she has discovered a love for textiles and embroidery and aims to explore these facets in three dimensional form.



    (Photo : Design & Trend - Meg Busacca / Blair Martin Cahill)


    Her works are precisely executed, juxtaposing contemporary shapes while representing these designs on a fragile textile, such as silk. Her installation is beautifully presented, each of her works show uniquely with the spaces natural sunlight, and the deterioration of the room generates a level of quality that is strikingly cool.  



At the Governors Island Art Fair, Artists Get a Room of Their Own

Sarah Cascone, Thursday, September 3, 2015

 Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

You may not quite be ready, but the fall art season unofficially kicks off this weekend, with the Governors Island Art Fair (GIAF).

Presented by the New York City-based non-profit 4heads, this independent exhibition, is a strange and magical place where disembodied fingers can crawl across a kitchen fridge (Shannon McBride), nuclear disasters can get trapped in a bottle (Yusam Sung), and a massive space ship comprised of junk cars seems poised to take off from the front lawn (Aleksandr Razin).

Aleksandr Razin, The Space Ship, at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Now in its eighth year, the fair, which runs on weekends through September 27, features 100 artists selected through an open call, each given a room on Colonel's Row in which to create and exhibit their work. As the island has attracted more and more New Yorkers eager to escape the crowded city streets, the fair has become an annual destination—and an excellent showcase for innovative art.

4heads cofounder Nicole Laemmle can still recall one rainy, gray day during the fair's inaugural 2008 run, in which a bored security guard stopped by the fair and informed her that the island had only 12 visitors, an unimaginable number today.

The island's popularity has skyrocketed in the years since, bringing at times unwelcome scrutiny and oversight from officials. This year, the fire department weighed in, and found the fair's third floor attic spaces—accessible by a single, narrow staircase—off limits due to the fire code.

Laurent Fort, Purity – Reflection in motion, at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Luckily, 4Heads appealed to the National Parks Service, which came through with what Laemmle described to artnet News as "six amazing, really old, creepy spaces down in the magazine where they used to keep the ammunition" at Fort Jay, which dates to the Revolutionary War.

While interior exhibition space might be limited, there are plenty of works exhibited outdoors such as four plastic sculptures by Niki Lederer that at first appear to be a cheerful, candy-colored, more delicate take on one of John Chamberlain's lyrical compositions of car parts.

Niki Lederer, High Smoke Point Yellow and A Softness You Can Feel Blue, at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Crafted from fragments of colorfast plastic bottles sourced from her neighbors' recycling (the ubiquitous Tide bottle will fade, so Lederer only uses it for indoor pieces), the repurposed works are a way for the artist to draw attention to the role mass consumption plays in our culture.

Throughout the exhibition, artnet News recognized the work of several returning artists including Peter Goldwater who melds his ceramic forms with black iron plumbing joints. Goldwater last participated in the fair in 2013 (artists can show in two consecutive years, but must then take a year hiatus before applying again.)

Peter Goldwater at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Though he initially began mixing the two media as a way to create larger works than what could be individually fired in his kiln, Goldwater has since scaled down, creating smaller, spider-like works that you can see in 407 B.

Jillian Clark installation—she dusted a stairwell with a chalky orange material called chalk snapline—is instantly identifiable in room 404A.

Just below, don't miss Sean Boggs's hypnotizing work Paper Polygons, a slowly rotating sculpture that is a bright blue and purple vision in an otherwise pitch black room. Boggs places it behind a screen, with just an iPhone-sized window offering a small glimpse of the whole work, so that it at first appears to be a digitally-rendered graphic.

Olalekan Jeyifous at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Also on hand is a selection of incredibly intricate laser-cut balsa wood-and-acrylic scale models of buildings by Olalekan Jeyifous that offer an intriguing blend of architectural styles.

Other standouts include Sam Horowitz's work in wood in 406B, the massive, explosive Clean Break, made from long thin scraps of discarded wood he's been collecting since 2008, and Sascha Mallon's mural full of fairy tale-like characters in 407A, which almost seem like illustrations out of a children's book, save for their decidedly adult subject matter.

Sam Horowitz at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

In 407B, Blair Cahill offers a hard take on the traditionally feminine art of embroidery, displaying sheer silk on powdered-coated steel mounts arranged in a spherical shape. A long, gauzy three-paneled work recalls a stained glass window, lending the space an almost sacred feel.

Blair Cahill at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Over at Fort Jay, the fair has focused on video- and projection-based work. Entering the bowels of the magazine, the temperature immediately drops ten degrees, adding to the overall gloom of the dimly lit makeshift gallery.

There, Rachel Rampleman, who last year showed three video works including a montage of female body builders, returns with Phantasma, a flickering display of footage from a Motley Crue concert projected on the arched wall and ceiling of her cell-like room.

Rachel Rampleman at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Laurent Fort also takes advantage of the eerie space combining sheets of mirrored acetate, water, and LED lights to create haunting reflective projections paired with an atmospheric audio track.

Though the Governors Island summer season concludes at the end of the month, along with the fair, Laemmle is optimistic for a longer season in the future.

“I can't wait," she said, "for the island to at some point be open year round!"

Jillian Clark, Apparitional Perspiration, at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Joohee Park (StickyMonger) at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Amber Heaton at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Yusam Sung at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Sascha Mallon at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Tine Kindermann at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

The Governors Island Art Fair is on view weekends September 5–27, 2015.


Related Stories:

Governors Island Schoolhouse to Become Artists' Studios

Artists Building Bridge to Governors Island

Governor's Island Expands Its Proud Public Art Tradition for 2014

Prison Art Arrives at Governors Island in "Escaping Time" Show


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Sarah Cascone

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