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Barracks To House 100 Artists' Works on Governors Island

 Meegan Barnes
Meegan Barnes "cheeky'" sculptures, which are " inspired by craft traditions, and reference ancient artifacts and folklore, spiritual symbolism, warrior women, and pop culture" according to the artist. will be part of the Governors Island Art Fair.
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DNAinfo/Irene Plagianos

LOWER MANHATTAN — Cavernous underground chambers and military barracks will soon be home to sculptures, video installations, and scores of other experimental art on Governors Island.

The ninth annual Governors Island Art Fair, sponsored by nonprofit arts organization 4heads, will fill historic homes and subterranean munitions rooms beneath Fort Jay with the works of more than 100 emerging artists. The exhibits will be open every Saturday and Sunday in September, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The subterranean space at historic Fort Jay, originally built in the late 1700s, will become a gallery space for the Governors Island Art Fair. (Ed Grant)

Visitors are encouraged to meander through the hundreds of sculptures, paintings, drawings and installations on display — and for sale — inside the island's historic spaces and outside, along the expansive grassy fields.

Most artists will take over entire rooms, to display their works like solo shows in a gallery. New York artist Olivia Taylor's pieces, made to look eerily like skin, explore the tactility and physical attributes of human skin.

Courtesy of Olivia Taylor

For her Governors Island exhibit, Taylor plans to reupholster cushioned wooden chairs with her own skin-like material, as well portions of the walls, using faux bruises like floral patterns on wallpaper, according to arts organization 4heads. 

“The aesthetic of one's skin gives insight into many of the wearer's traits: history, style, ethnicity, age, etc.," Taylor said in statement. "At the same time, these characteristics also operate on a purely physical level, highlighting different bodily effects, such as bruises, freckles, or veins.” 

Artist Kat Ryals uses dry plate tintype, one of the first methods to process photos, to create her pictures.


Courtesy of Kat Ryals

Ryals will exhibit about 20 of her tintypes at the fair, which examine the relationships between what we deem as human and animal, 4heads said.

“It explores curiosities, otherness, hybridity, exploitation, and the human condition," Ryals, a New York-based artist, said in a statement. "With this most recent body of tintypes, called Anthropomorphous, I combined animal features and human characteristics to create a visual hybrid between the two."

Antony Zito, 4heads co-founder, said each year the group does its best to keep the experience of the fair feeling "fresh." 

“We choose work that demonstrates a strong vision and sense of craft, work that speaks to the daily lives and concerns of our visitors," Zito said. "This year, we are featuring artists who are exploring and commenting on such important issues as the epidemic of police violence and the impact of human progress on the natural environment, as well as personal issues, like phobias and alienation. It’s a truly diverse mix, in subject and media.”