The stately old houses that line Colonels Row are once again bursting with all kinds of contemporary art, as the 11th annual Governors Island Art Fair opened last weekend with works from some 75 artists from all over the world. The exhibition, which runs every Saturday and Sunday in September (and is organized by the non-profit organization 4heads) is free and open to the public.
The way it's structured is simple: 4heads assigns an artist one of the rooms or common spaces (it can be a bedroom, the front parlor, the kitchen, a stairway, the front porch, the lawn) and then they can fill it however they chose. So there are immersive installations, minimalist site-specific pieces, maximalist site-specific pieces, conceptual work, large sculptures, videos and projections, paintings and photographs just straight-up hung on the walls. You'll also spot startling surprises inside of cabinets, closets, and refrigerators, as GIAF is all about serendipity—you never know what's waiting for you as you enter a house, or turn a corner into a room, or open a door.
A few highlights from my three hours of wandering around the spaces would include Samuelle Green's honeycombed cavern created from the torn-out pages of old, yellowed books; Kyung-jin Kim's interactive piece involving closed circuit cameras and an array of microphones; William Miller's blink-and-you'll-miss-them paintings of cracked walls and wooden flooring; Jenny Rask's neatly covered "Beloved Objects," which includes an AK-47, a pile of albums, and a dog; and Aleksandr Razin's blockbuster "transformer" sculpture which dominates the lawn.
(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
There's a ton of cool, interesting, and engaging art to be found in these gently-decaying houses. If you somehow haven't gone to Governors Island this year, the 4heads Art Fair is an excellent excuse to get on a ferry before the season ends.