Contemporary Culture from the Bottom Up

Highlights from 4Heads: Governors Island Art Fair Teaches and Delights

For the 6th year, Governors Island, a former military base now utilized as a popular open-space weekend-only summer ground in the middle of New York Harbor, hosted the Governors Island Art Fair. The Governors Island Art Fair, or GIAF, is an annual festival run by artists, for artists and now can boast that it is the largest independent exhibition in New York.

Sign outside of the building for the Children's Museum of the Arts

Sign outside of the building for the Children’s Museum of the Arts

The fair is run by 4heads, an arts group that specializes in repurposing formerly unused spaces as venues and forums for struggling artists. 4heads was founded by Nicole LaemmLe, Jack Robinson and Antony Zito in 2008, due to their own difficult experiences as working artists in New York City. According to their website, 4heads is, “focused on encouraging organically occurring culture by nurturing the evolving community of artists–who they see as the true voice of contemporary culture.” They seek to attract the, “under-resourced, attracting hidden culture” and aim to foster comunnity and dialogue between artists, art dealers and art lovers.

From "Rising Tide", curated by Sarah Schmerler with The Sculptors Guild

From “Rising Tide”, curated by Sarah Schmerler with The Sculptors Guild

Remaining true to their mission, 4heads provides free rooms on the island for visual artists to present their work and competitive rates for small independent galleries as well. Selected artists also take part in a residency program throughout the summer with ongoing open studio visits encouraged. The fair runs every weekend in September with live music, large-scale sculptures, food and drink served outside and a wide variety of artistic artforms displayed within the semi-decayed rooms of former military homes.

Sculpture by Bernice Sokol Kramer

Sculpture by Bernice Sokol Kramer

Governors Island is easy to access from the city, with ferries running all day between the island and both Manhattan and Brooklyn. The ferry is free and the ride is short and scenic, with the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline in close view. The island itself regularly provides free bicycles, is easy to stroll around or picnic on and hosts numerous cultural events throughout the summer, making it a surprisngly relaxing getaway within the heart of the Northeast megalopolis. Earth Matter NY even has a composting area and farm in the middle of Governors Island, further adding to the island’s embrace of progressive and innovative cultural practices.

Elephant Sculpture on Govenor's Island during the Governors Island Art Fair hosted by 4heads

Elephant Sculpture on Govenor’s Island during the Governors Island Art Fair hosted by 4heads

This year, GIAF also fortunately shared the outdoor space with Fête Paradiso, “the world’s first traveling festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels”, who debuted on Governors Island with their late 19th-early 20th century styled amusement park. Seeing this unique collection of repaired old rides and booths being enjoyed by young childlren and adults alike, while retro French carnival-style music played in the background inbetween walks from one art-filled house to another, gave the festival experience an extra douceur.

Fête Paradiso

One of Fête Paradiso’s reconstructed historic amusements

 

Check out more of our highlights from the fair below: 

 

K-P Krause

K-P Krause

Wheel by Colin Chase Buoy representing the dharma wheel of Buddhist philosophy in the form of a ship's steering wheel; in the background: "Intermezzo" by Meg Bloom using silk, organza and jewelry to represent undefined sea creatures.

Wheel by Colin Chase Buoy representing the dharma wheel of Buddhist philosophy in the form of a ship’s steering wheel; in the background: Intermezzo by Meg Bloom using silk, organza and jewelry to represent undefined sea creatures.

Detail of Intermezzo by Meg Bloom

Detail of Intermezzo by Meg Bloom

Ginger Android and Chuck Glicksman Rear Window, 2013; employing a 100 year old window from NJ, video footage from a rainy day on Long Beach with intentional camera pauses every 5 frames; you can hear the rhythm of the raindrops and see the reflection twice over.

Ginger Andro and Chuck GlicksmanRear Window, 2013; employing a 100 year old window from NJ, video footage from a rainy day on Long Beach with intentional camera pauses every 5 frames; you can hear the rhythm of the raindrops and see the reflection twice over.

Inhabit (2011) & Intuit (2011) by Lisa Perez at Yellow Peril Gallery

Inhabit (2011) & Intuit (2011) by Lisa Perez at Yellow Peril Gallery

 

 

Watercolor paintings by Paul Thomas

Watercolor paintings by Paul Thomas

Digital Being by Taezoo Park

Digital Being by Taezoo Park

 

Harvest Dome 2.0 constructed from 450 reclaimed umbrellas and 2 liter soda bottles with bicycle parts. Created by husband-and-wife team Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture

Harvest Dome 2.0 constructed from 450 reclaimed umbrellas and 2 liter soda bottles with bicycle parts. Created by husband-and-wife team Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture

Hydrologic by Sergey Jivetin at Brooklyn Metal Works (detail)

Hydrologic by Sergey Jivetin at Brooklyn Metal Works (detail)

 

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Written by Nicole Casamento

Nicole Casamento is the founder of Culture Grinder.

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