Art Island

East, East Coast
Friday, July 10, 2009
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"At The Same Moment" by Lawrence Weiner (here shown in the process of installation). Photos by Victoria Monjo

The physical distance that separates Governors Island from most New Yorkers often offsets the draw and mystery of the place. This summer, however, everyone has a new reason to make the mini-pilgrimage—only 10 minutes by ferry—to the island that was for so many years off-limits. An art installation dubbed PLOT09: This World & Nearer opened to the public on June 27th and features artwork by 19 international artists.

The site-specific works take visitors on a tour of the island and inside abandoned buildings, including an empty church. The artists had their pick of the place. Once they chose their site, they worked to interpret the island’s (primarily military) history, as well as its current “no-place” status, meaning it does not belong to any one group, explained the organizers. Themes explored include transcendent experiences, bizarre phenomena, uncertain futures, travel, and time.

The Mark Beasely-curated installation is satisfying, though it was undoubtedly helped by the quality of the site. One request for future installations: less video art and more work highlighting the architecture and surroundings. Those that did that were the most engaging, while the video art fell flat in the context of the site.

Here AN brings you a photo preview of the installation. Go any weekend this summer, the ferry is free. Bring a picnic basket and maybe even your bike—or rent one there—and enjoy.

"Isle of the Dead" by The Bruce High Quality Foundation. (Cinematic Installation, 19 minutes, 2009).

"Isle of the Dead" by The Bruce High Quality Foundation. (Cinematic Installation, 19 minutes, 2009).

"Large Dark Wind Chime (Tritone Westy)" by Klaus Weber. (Powder-coated tempered aluminum, stainless steel, high-polymer plastic, 2008).

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