The annual Governors Island Art Fair (GIAF), which features the work of emerging artists from around the region and across the globe, opens this Saturday, September 5, and continues every Saturday and Sunday in September.

For the first time, the fair will present artist installations in the Fort Jay magazine, a series of six cavernous brick chambers underneath Fort Jay that housed ammunition and explosives during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Varying in size, the magazine spaces will feature video and sound installations that take advantage of the raw environment and underground acoustics. Additionally, the 2015 edition of GIAF will feature more outdoor installations than previous years, creating a pathway of art between Fort Jay and the historic homes of military officers at Colonels’ Row — the fair’s primary location on the island.

Artists exhibiting in the Fort Jay magazine include Rachel Rampleman, whose work straddles the realms of time-based installation, documentary-style film, and experimental video; Megan Suttles, who creates mixed-media installations that examine anxiety and control through the transformation of everyday materials; and Chin-Lung Chaung, whose interactive installations bring audiences into otherworldly environments through color and movement, among several other artists.

The fair, which includes 100 artists and several independent galleries, is organized by the nonprofit organization 4heads, which gives each exhibiting artist a full room or outdoor space in which to install their work as part of its commitment to providing artists with opportunities to fully examine and express their creative visions.


GIAF is supported by Blick Art Materials, which is currently offering a special 15% storewide discount to Hyperallergic readers.

GIAF offers a new opportunity to explore Governors Island through more than 100 installations and exhibitions, taking advantage of the forgotten history and the scenic experience of the Island. Less than 10 minutes from Manhattan by ferry, the fair offers a quick getaway from the city while highlighting the best of its creative culture. The majority of works on view are available for purchase, and admission to the fair is free of charge.

Featured artists are selected through a rigorous review process, and this year 4heads leadership culled more than 1,000 submissions. Once chosen, exhibiting artists are given their space with few parameters and limitations. 4heads’ “hands-off” curatorial approach allows participants to freely interpret the atmospheric and physical experience of the spaces and engage with the historic narratives of the Island, capturing a range of artistic visions and experimentations and breathing new life into the decommissioned spaces.

GIAF also features a selection of independent galleries, encouraging an active dialogue between artists and art dealers and creating dynamic juxtapositions and thematic through-lines between exhibitors. Among the galleries included in the 2015 edition are HCWD Studio, Studio GAAK, and Hofmann Gallery. GIAF is also partnering with the Lower East Side Girls Club, which will display art created as part of 4heads’ education outreach program on the Island.

GIAF highlights the full spectrum of creative production, including painting, photography, sculpture, installation, mixed media, sound, and video work. While many of the artists represent the New York community, the 2015 fair also includes artists from around the country and the world, including those from Australia, Atlanta, Baltimore, California, Chicago, Connecticut, Germany, Iran, Japan, Nigeria, New Jersey, Peru, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C, among many other places. Some highlights from the fair include:

  • The work of Kumasi J. Barnett, who appropriates and alters well-recognized cultural icons to probe and criticize socially accepted stereotypes and prejudices. In his latest series, he uses painting to alter the covers of beloved comic books to highlight the epidemic of police brutality against young black men.
  • Hannah Hill’s oil paintings, which are grounded in the folklore and otherworldliness of the Deep South. Taking memories, dreams, and real experiences as the foundation, Hill creates entirely new worlds and myths through the blurring and erosion of the paint, using the medium’s inherent properties to instill new contexts in the images.
  • Sean Boggs’s slowly rotating sculptures, which examine deceleration, realignment, and constant adjustment. The sculptures, which consist of a kaleidoscope of polygons within polygons, adjust in so minimal succession that the changes almost go unnoticed, until the experience becomes wholly changed.
  • The digitally mediated art of Maximus Clarke, whose work will be presented in the Magazine. Clarke is particularly interested in how people locate themselves within their physical surroundings and symbolic cultures. He takes stereoscopic photographs of people, places, and events to create manipulated images and experiences.
  • The work of Sam Metcalf, who explores the interplay between design, nature, and consciousness through visual aesthetics, engineering, and technology. His work is influenced by his recent experiences during a series of cross-country road trips and incorporates the sights and sounds of nature and city alike.
  • Peter Goldwater’s twisted and abstract sculptures made from metal and ceramics.
  • Aleksandr Razin’s multimedia installations that incorporate found objects to create new, participatory experiences.
  • Rodrigo Nava’s steel forms, which are created by placing the material under intense pressure.

View the full list of exhibitors for the 2015 edition of Governors Island Art Fair.

Getting to GIAF:
Governors Island is less than 10 minutes away from Manhattan and Brooklyn by ferry. Ferries dock at Battery Maritime Building in Manhattan (10 South Street) and Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 (Atlantic Avenue at Columbia Street). Brooklyn and Manhattan ferries are free before noon and $2 thereafter for a round-trip ticket. Additional information about getting to Governors Island can be found at

GIAF Hours and Admission:
Every Saturday and Sunday from September 5 to 27, 2015, 11am–6pm. Admission is free.


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