through September 27
Soissons Landing
South Battery
Governors Island National Monument
Liggett Terrace
Hammock Grove

Visitors, the next series of exhibitions comprising Art CommissionsGI, the Trust for Governors Island’s public art program, features the work of nine contemporary artists using multiple artistic platforms including performance, visual arts, interactive technology and written pieces to create experiences for Island visitors.

The artists in Visitors descend on Governors Island to create New York City inspired fictions. The historical site of the Island operates as a backdrop that emphasizes the imagined space of the City; it is a location that encourages fantasy and parody, a free space nestled in the harbor between Lower Manhattan and Red Hook, Brooklyn under the watchful gaze of the Statue of Liberty – a place of escape and the imaginary. The artists in Visitors consider this fact through absurdity, cheap tricks, and science fantasy narratives. Through their works, Governors Island becomes an alternate reality, one continuously shifting between its historical past as a military base, current use as a public park, and its potential future.

Visitors is both an exhibition of public interventions and an artist publication available online and in hard copy for a nominal fee of $1 at various sites throughout the Island. The artists’ publication provides a double-take on mapping the Island and the leisure activities that the journey anticipates with specially commissioned pages created by each of the nine selected artists. It also guides an actual and imagined experience within the Island, with artist contributions that refer to onsite works, as well as those that only exist within the psychological spaces created within its pages.

Participating artists:

  • Darren Bader has staged a professional photo shoot on the island, creating high-fashion images that feature models in various poses suggestive of activity on the island, such as catching fish through their earrings, lounging in baths and beds with the iconic Statue of Liberty in the background, and digging up the sidewalk in a nod to the island as a place under construction. Only slightly awry, the images comprise a luxurious public campaign for ways to use the island.
  • Nina Beier has plastered the disused swimming pool with a stock photo, physically affixing one surreal image onto another that exists in reality.
  • Peter Fischli and David Weiss have sent a moon rock, “Kling Klong” that plays wind chimes, a kind of new-age accouterment to the historic landmark of Castle Williams.
  • Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster presents a comprehensive list of science fiction novels that will be made freely available to park visitors, offering ways to prepare for the future, suggesting Governors Island as a place of escape and refuge during an impending disaster.
  • Ajay Kurian has replaced the cups used by the vendors on the island with those carrying the logo of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement; a group dedicated to fixing environmental issues through voluntary extinction of the human race. The cups carry the complexity of human-centric apocalyptic narratives, as well as beverages. Kurian also shows a series of sculptures comprised of children’s pools and containing alternate worlds inside.
  • Rachel Rose has created different maps that guide a passageway through the island, they are catered to your role within the scene, choose protagonist, sidekick or skeptic, just a few of the characters available. See Rachel Rose’s work.
  • Aki Sasamoto has created a photo essay for the publication around holes, and trying to fit in.
  • Pilvi Takala has created Invisible Friend, based on her research on similar smart phone apps, which allow you to engage in a fictional relationship through a texting service.To sign up for Invisible Friend, send (any) text message to 1-347-926-3411 and your invisible friend will text you back when you have left the Island and can start a conversation. The service is free apart from paying your carrier for what you pay for SMS. All information, including phone numbers, shall be treated as confidential

See a map of the exhibition and learn more in Frequently Asked Questions about the exhibit.


Trust for Governors Island


Monday 10:00 am — 6:00 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am — 6:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am — 6:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am — 6:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am — 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am — 7:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am — 7:00 pm
Getting There