no longer empty

Picnicking on Governor's Island is one of quickest ways any New Yorker can feel like they are away from it all.  It's the perfect place to rent a bike, or come with your own, a blanket and a basket of food.  The food remains in limited quality and variety.  Each Summer it seems that more and more is happening there since it re-opened to the public a few years ago.  This year we owe a great bit of thanks to an organization called No Longer Empty.  They have curated a show called The Sixth Borough that takes up Colonels Row in some of the old houses, which are now, no longer empty.  The diverse works are bought together with the concept to consume vacant space in areas of New York City that offer renewed foot traffic, and business opportunities to the communities while providing artists, established and emerging, the opportunity to show work.  The site-specific work that results is unexpected and optimistic.  Although not very specifically about color I found them interesting and important to write about.  The work is there for the Summer, so go, plan on spending the day, and you will likely want to return again and again.

The works shown in the photos (all taken by me) above, in order are:

Ameila Biewald - black and ivory colored sculpted forms from fireplace to fireplace with use of the molding as a repeated print delicately placed on top giving a sense of belonging representing the amount of soot and ashes that must have accumulated there during the time of its use.

Alan Michelson, who used plaster white on ecru painted walls that hinted at the vegetation and inhabitants of the land when the houses were lived in by Colonels.

The mirror trees are by Wendy Wischer.  The light reflected upon the painted and wooden surfaces in the space are delightful, however, I longed for forms that has been given more thought - although as my art historian friend was quick to point out that I am a designer and the art was not about the form, but about what it was saying.  The light refractions on the exposed wall are indeed the best combination of lighting and texture.

Trong Gia Nquyen has three pieces in the show, all with a wit of humor and irony, here is a close up on his full room installation which includes an American flag with the words subtly stating "Help Me," framed photos of hands in Hitler-style-saluting, and a recording where one can hear a class continuously re-stating the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, without using the word 'God.'

Kaarina Kaikkonen whose work I was quite excited to see, a room full of blue and white shirts displayed in varying color gradients from white to blue.

Andrea Mastrovito who had work in the MAD show earlier this year, has again proved his skills in paper, this time with books displaying the natural habitats of the island, flowers, birds, butterflies, and a few domestic creatures too, cats.  Pop-up books gone wild.  I think children will have a  hard time to not frolic in his stunning fantasy land.  In fact my friend was quick to plunk herself down in front of the display for a photo-op.

Vadis Turner (last two photographs) uses color and daily products in unexpected ways.  Pastel birth control pills become sugar garnishes, and tampons chocolate frosting, and nude, beige and brown knee-highs become flowers to decorate celebratory cakes.

Savor the colors of life!