Ever since Governors Island opened to the public in 2003, art has been very important to the former military base. It’s been an exciting destination for fans of modern and contemporary art to see the numerous outdoor and indoor pieces. The Sculptors Guild is among those organizations that participates by setting up in Nolan Park. They are located in Building 15, formerly officer’s quarters built in 1878. The exhibit is open Saturdays, Sundays and Holiday Mondays 12-5. We got the information on what is on view for 2015 from Michael Wolf. He said that the opening reception is this Saturday, June 6, 2-5pm. There should be many of the artist participating in the show there.
What is the Sculptors Guild and how many members are there? It began in 1937?
We have around 90 members currently. Most members are based in the New York City area but some live in different parts of the country and there are international members as well. The mission of the Sculptors Guild is to promote, encourage, and serve as an advocate for sculpture and to make contemporary sculpture a relevant part of the cultural experience.
History: from our website’s “about” page more information about our history can be found there.
During the 1930’s American art had not yet been recognized as a significant force in the international Art world. As the industrial world struggled through the Depression many American artists were dependent for their livelihoods on government art programs (WPA) while museums, galleries, and collectors heavily favored European artists.
The founding of Sculptors Guild in 1937 was a seminal event for Modern sculpture in America. The primary objectives of the founders as stated in an early exhibition catalogue were: “to unite sculptors of all progressive aesthetic tendencies into a vital organization in order to further the artistic integrity of sculpture and give it its rightful place in the cultural life of this country.” Many important NY sculptors have been members of the Sculptors Guild over the years.
The Laws of Attraction is the exhibition on Governors Island. How was this curated and what’s it about?
This year Richard Timperio owner of the Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn curated the exhibition. Richard selected work submitted by Guild members. The theme this year was “Laws of Attraction”. Laws of Attraction refers to the physical, emotional and scientific aspects of the world. Sculptures were inspired by “a force acting on particles of matter, tending to draw them together, and resisting their separation”, love, sexual desire, enticement, temptation, bribery, bait, etc. as well as scientific aspects such as magnets, balance, tension, and gravitational force.
What can visitors see at the exhibition?
Visitors can see a wide range of contemporary sculpture in the exhibition. There are almost thirty Guild members participating in the exhibition this year. Work ranges from tradition sculpture materials such as cast bronze and welded steal to more experimental media such as neon and video installations as well as cutting edge 3D printed sculptures. There is also an exhibition of larger scale exterior sculptures.
Why do you like Governors Island? What is special for you?
Governors Island affords the Guild to exhibit any and all Sculptors Guild members whose chose to participate in one large show. It allows the Guild to exhibit in a historic residential setting as opposed to the usual “white box” setting of a museum or gallery. Governors Island also allows the Guild to exhibit outdoor large-scale sculptures, which is more difficult in the city.
The Guild has been fortunate to present for the 7th consecutive year a curated exhibition of Guild member’s works. The works are exhibited free to the public in one of the Island’s historical Victorian commander’s houses.
How does having an exhibit on Governors Island differ from a gallery space in the city?
The Sculptors Guild has a Brooklyn Gallery however Governors Island allows the Guild to exhibit in a unique environment. The Guild is pleased to introduce the concept that art should be appreciated without the restraints of a formal environment and that it can be appreciated as not only a visual enhancement but afford the spectator understanding that a work of art maybe appreciated for what it represents without the formal boundaries associated to a museum and or gallery.
Sculptors Guild members exhibit there work individually in New York City as well as around the country. Governors Island allows the Guild to exhibit jointly and to gather together socially as a group.
Kevin C. Fitzpatrick has written and edited seven books with ties to New York history, including "The Governors Island Explorer's Guide" and "World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War." Kevin is a licensed sightseeing guide and has been leading walking tours since 1999. He resides in Manhattan.