Monday, June 15, 2009

FIGMENT Art Festival on Governors Island

Eternal Knitter

Shield/Coraza by Hector Canonge

Steel Neal's The Agony of Man
The Temple of Truth by Jennifer Upchurch, Chris Niederer, and Douglas Hart

Minute of Parallax by Jamie Leo and Chris Jordan

Guns and Poses Rosebushes by Natalie Giugni
Discarded by Benjamin Jones and Anna Hecker

Dodecahedron Planters by Bernard Klevickas

Last Saturday, I went to Governors Island for the first time to see the Figment Festival, a celebration of participatory art and culture.
From the website:
FIGMENT is an annual arts event on Governors Island, with artwork in every medium, from installation to performance to music to games and many things in between. Participation is open to any artist who would like to share their work. It is a free, non-profit endeavor run by volunteers. In 2008, FIGMENT’s second year, over 10,000 people attended.
FIGMENT’s vision for art looks past the white-walled galleries and into the realm of participation. Art is not just something that you stand still and quietly look at – it is something you participate in. You touch it, smell it, climb it, write on it, talk to it, dance with it, play with it, learn from it… Interactive art creates a dynamic collaboration between the artist, the audience and their environment.
As a free, public, non-profit event, we aim to advance social and personal transformation through creativity. FIGMENT is uninterrupted by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. Selling or advertising goods or services is not permitted. Neither our artists nor our planners and staff are paid – everything that you see at FIGMENT is born from a simple desire to share imagination with each other and the public.
In these challenging economic times, it is important that artists devise new ways to create, share, think, and dream about what is possible. FIGMENT is an alternative to many of the shortcomings of the commercial art world— exclusive, expensive, impersonal, untouchable and often simply boring.
Famous for his role in New York’s artistic heritage and the Pop Art movement, Andy Warhol believed that everyone had it in them to be a star for fifteen minutes. Through his own art, he defined his identity and shaped the world around him. He once commented that he’d like his tombstone to say only one word: “Figment.”
Governors Island, in the heart of New York Harbor, is only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn. It is a world unto itself, unique and full of promise. For almost two centuries, Governors Island was a military base - home to the US Army and Coast Guard. Due to changing needs in operations, the Coast Guard closed and “mothballed” the Island in 1996. New York’s leaders recognized the Island’s potential, and in 2003 the federal government sold most of the Island to the people of New York for one dollar. Today, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) oversees 150 acres of the Island, while the National Park Service manages the balance, the 22-acre Governors Island National Monument which includes two 1812-era forts.

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