Here’s What to Expect at Governors Island Art Fair
It has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
When Governors Island Art Fair (GIAF) first opened in 2008, co-founding organizer Nicole Laemmle of 4heads recalls there being a mere 12 visitors. This weekend, the fair returns anew for its ninth edition. With over 100 self-organized artists taking over three exhibition sites across the island’s northernmost crown, and 60,000 visitors expected, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
4heads, the non-profit behind the project, bills the annual event as an “artist-run” operation—and according to painter Lori Nelson, ceramicist Eric Lawrence, and other artists artnet News interviewed during the press preview on Tuesday, the claim rings true. Between a summer residency program and the annual fair, Lawrence told us that the “artist community is really strong.”
The fair is big, with installations spilling from inside the centuries-old spaces and onto the outdoor expanse. One wonders, however, whether the fair has grown too large. This year, the event incorporates yet another exhibition site into its fold.
Nevertheless, GIAF delivers an impressive spread this year. Here’s what you can expect:
As the newest node to join the fair’s constellation, Castle Williams, which sits along the island’s northwestern shore, is loaded with historic appeal. By the mid-19th century, the grounds became the site of military prison, and remained as such until turning into disciplinary barracks in the early 20th century.
In addition to José Carlos Casado, whose outdoor installation of sculptures bakes in the sun at the center of the complex, eight other artists have been invited to fill the individual cells with works of their own. From Charlie Cunningham’s wooden sculpture of a deflated, rotting banana, to Chaney Trotter’s seductive ring of LED lights, the works bring new life to eerie spaces.
If you’re pressed for time, you’ll want to check out the video installations at the magazine at Fort Jay, which are set against the stone caverns and chambers buried underground.
Five houses, all of which were formerly the homes to high-ranking officers, sit along what is known as Colonels Row. Designated to host over 80 of the participating artists, virtually all of the rooms in each of the houses are occupied by works of individual artists. Outside, installations pepper the facades and porches.
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