Ana Maria Nicholson, "Keith Haring," "Bishop John Moore," and "Tony Bennett"

Ana Maria Nicholson, “Keith Haring,” “Bishop John Moore,” and “Tony Bennett” in the Center for the Holographic Arts Holocenter House on Governors Island (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

Back in April, the Clock Tower in Long Island City was sold (likely to become residential space), and the Center for the Holographic Arts was forced to depart its space in the building’s bank vault. For the summer the organization dedicated to mindbending 3D art has a new home on Governors Island in one of the yellow houses that line leafy Nolan Park.

Ana Maria Nicholson, "Shiva Dancer"

Ana Maria Nicholson, “Shiva Dancer”

Above the stone fireplace mantels and on the old walls with their peeling paint, the holograms contrast readily to the 19th-century officer quarters, dating to when Governors Island was a military base. Alongside the Center for the Holographic Arts’ Holocenter House, each in its own charming structure, are summer residencies from organizations like the International Center for Photography with a Robert Capa exhibition, the New-York Historical Society showcasing photographs and artifacts from the Civil War, and Third Rail, which is developing a new site-specific dance/theater piece. Together they diversely bridge between the city’s past and artistic present.

Inside the Holocenter House, a group of contemporary artists experimenting with 3D illusions only revealed when you move before their frames are installed on the ground floor. They range from portraits of Keith Haring and entwined bodies of lovers by Anna Maria Nicholson to Ikuo Nakamura‘s “Fossils” of two people in bed emerging from a flat pane of glass. Upstairs are projection-based pieces that rotate each weekend as part of their Parallax series, which has included a montage of 3D images from inside the Long Island City Clock Tower by Maximus Clarke, and a spiked assemblage of mirrors bouncing back a projection like a fractured disco ball by Julian Bozeman.

Holograms are certainly one of the trippier art forms, even if they are still relatively obscure since their development in the 1960s. They’re contrasted at the Holocenter with an ongoing workshop and presentation series with the New York Stereoscopic Association. These explorations go into the history of 3D photography from the 19th to 21st century, with demonstrations of the earliest ways of turning two dimensions into an alternate reality. It’s not clear as of now if the Center for the Holographic Arts will have a permanent home after they leave Governors Island at the end of September, but with this pop-up there’s reason for hoping they’ll continue to concentrate on the medium, and how it connects to the history of art.

Ikuo Nakamura, "Fossils"

Ikuo Nakamura, “Fossils”

Ana Maria Nicholson, "April Series"

Ana Maria Nicholson, “April Series”

"Parallax" installation

Julian Bozeman’s “Parallax” installation

Center for the Holographic Arts

A stereoscopic view of Nolan Park

Center for the Holographic Arts

Inside the Holocenter House on Governors Island

The Center for the Holographic Arts’ Holocenter House is open at House 4B in Nolan Park on Governors Island through September 28. 

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print and online media since 2006. She moonlights...