Once again, the annual art fair on Governors Island, organized by 4heads has lots to offer. Featuring work by 100 artists from the US and abroad, spread across five buildings in Colonels Row, as well as in the windows of Ligget Hall, and on the lawns between them (like Marek Jacisin‘s piece above), this show contains many, many fine works. Very often the artists are also present, so you have a chance to talk with them. The styles and techniques are quite varied, so look in each room – even if you haven’t found something you like on the first floor of a building, go up to the second floor – I guarantee you’ll find something completely different. Leave yourself plenty of time to explore this exhibit. Here are some of my favorites:
In Building 404B, Zeren Badar has created a series of 23 imaginative and fun photos, entitled Messing With Old Masters, in which he takes images of old paintings and embellishes them with objects such as eggs, or macaroni, or rubber bands, then photographs the new image, which, by throwing you off balance, makes you look at portraiture in a new way!
While I was talking with Zeren, another artist, Anna Cone, whose work is in the next building, and explores similar themes, came in to see Zeren’s work. (more about her work later)
On the second floor, the Lower East Side Girl’s Club was exhibiting prints of Women who Change the World, a mural created on the walls of the First Street Garden in 2011 by teenage Girls Club members and artists who painted portraits of 19 women who inspired them, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Dorothy Day, Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
In Building 405A, the scientific-based art collaboration of Inhye Lee & Hyomin Kim have two pieces in this show that reference the earth’s magnetic field. The Spatial Magnetic Field Visualization above consists of about 100 ball compasses inside transparent globes – the black and white on the balls indicate their polarity, mimicking the magnetic files around the earth. (They have a printed sheet with a more detailed explanation). They also have a Magnetic Field Drawing Station which is pretty cool.
On the second floor you’ll find Fire by Richard Sigmund, a series of drawings that are variations on this word. Richard had been intrigued by all the “fire” signs that are painted on the roadbeds in New York. On a visit to India, he thought about this word, which can represent purification, death and emotions, and so each day he did a sketch of the word “fire”.
On the porch of Building 406 B, you’ll find a wonderful work in metal chain and wool by Paola Citterio, but it was her Pink Collar Worker inside that grabbed me, having worked many years as a secretary. Paola made this piece using a baby blanket she found (it made her think of Vivienne Westwood) to which she added the metallic chain and the wool fibre lettering. Paola dyes her wool, and felts it using a needle felt technique, which takes hours – but for her, the process is part of the art.
On the first floor, Anna Cone has created a version of a salon/drawing room, filled with portraits of Disenchantresses, large scale modern nudes styled as goddesses, set against collaged images from Old Masters paintings, placed in antique-looking frames. Using her background as a fashion photographer, Anna’s work pushes back against the images of “acceptable” women’s bodies that we’re saturated with, to include others that might be considered more “unconventional.” Be sure to look at the chairs, which also contain collaged images from Old Masters.
In Building 407A, Allison Sommers has created a room that addresses movements in a domestic household, and the anxiety around house-making when you find yourself suddenly plopped somewhere. I was not surprised when she told me she’s a military brat. Allison offered no more by way of explanation of her installation, saying that she wants to leave it open to the viewer’s interpretation. I confess I found her piece challenging, but I could relate to it on many levels. Check it out!
In Building 408A, Richard Fleming has created a wonderful project, Loteria de la Migracion, centered on migration from Central America. He has taken the Mexican card game Loteria and re-imagined each of the 54 cards as a series of obstacles and challenges facing migrants fleeing violence, sometimes changing the images (i.e., a pear in the original Loteria becomes grapes in his version). This project is based on his experiences as a sound recordist working in Chiapas.
HYSTM is really two people: the New York-based art tag team of Keith Pine and Rich Zitterman, who work as one. I spoke with Rich, who told me that either he or Keith will start a painting, then the other will add to it, and they will keep on this way until they think the work is done. By the end of the process, neither one knows who started it, and often can’t remember which are their own contributions. Rich said they get their inspiration from what’s around them, whether that’s TV or found images or their own imaginations.
There’s much, much more to see. The exhibit is open only on the weekends and only through October 1st. More information on the ferries to Governors Island here .