THE ARTS CENTER AT GOVERNORS ISLAND
SET TO OPEN TO THE PUBLIC JUNE 12 WITH EXHIBITIONS BY MEG WEBSTER, ONYEDIKA
CHUKE AND MUNA MALIK

MEG WEBSTER: WAVE

ONYEDIKA CHUKE: THE FOREVER MUSEUM ARCHIVE_CIRCA 6000BCE

MUNA MALIK: BLESSING OF THE BOATS

ADDITIONAL PUBLIC PROGRAMMING TO BE ANNOUNCED

ALL EVENTS AND PROGRAMMING ARE FREE,
ALL ARE WELCOME

Today the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) is pleased to announce that The Arts Center at Governors Island—the first year-round, permanent home for the arts on Governors Island—will re-open to the public on June 12 with commissioned site-specific exhibitions by internationally renowned artists Meg Webster and Onyedika Chuke and a participatory sculpture installation by Muna Malik. Running through October 31, the exhibitions will span the whole of the Governors Island public season, with additional public programs to be announced. All programming and events at LMCC’s Arts Center are free and open to the public, and all are welcome. Appropriate COVID-19 public health protocols will be in place. Please see below for information on each of the exhibitions.

The 2021 public season at The Arts Center at Governors Island pushes audiences to examine the fixity of the world around us, questioning the real and perceived narratives that, over time, have coalesced to create our current social, environmental and personal structures of justice and understandings of sustainability. Each project comprises its own universe of source material, subjects and information, while its simultaneous placement within the unique context of LMCC’s Arts Center—on Governors Island, within New York City—unlocks the potential for cross-pollination of ideas such as systems of ecological growth and decay, knowledge creation and evolution, power and punishment and care and maintenance. Through direct participation and embodied engagement, the season seeks to create avenues for the public to re-imagine the framework of our existence, both individually and collectively.

Conceived by LMCC as an incubator for creative exploration and a gathering space to engage in dialogue, The Arts Center at Governors Island is located within the Governors Island Historic District, just minutes away from Manhattan by ferry. It features 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to public performances, exhibitions and artist residencies, as well as multiple visual and performing arts studios and a cafe. Artists are in residence year-round, with public programming taking place during Governors Island’s public season.

As a welcoming hub for working artists and community engagement, LMCC’s Arts Center hosts a broad range of events to convene artists and the public in an ongoing exchange of ideas and creative practice. The 2021 public season includes a new partnership presentation with Pioneer Works. Additional 2021 public programming will be announced soon, including signature Open Studios events and the return of LMCC’s popular Take Care series, which furthers ideas presented in The Arts Center’s art installations and reframes engagement in artistic and curatorial processes as a mindful practice stemming from embodied participation and care.

Lili Chopra, LMCC’s Executive Director of Artistic Programs commented, “The pandemic has radically shifted our lived experiences and destabilized our perceptions in ways that we hope will encourage the creation, discussion and implementation of new futures. LMCC has always responded to the needs of artists and the public, and this year we warmly welcome the public to The Arts Center at Governors Island after a successful 2020 season of emergency residency programs serving NYC artists with critical space and resources. For the 2021 public season, we present the work of Meg Webster, Onyedika Chuke and Muna Malik—three artists who address the conceptually fertile ground of visible and invisible systems that affect us all. The unique context of Governors Island and The Arts Center is central to the work presented, providing audiences with opportunities to inquire into the systems and environments that bend, fluctuate, and connect us, while creating possibilities for conversations and change.”

LMCC’s Executive Director of Finance & Administration, Diego S. Segalini, noted, “The Arts Center at Governors Island exemplifies LMCC’s generosity, tenacity and ongoing commitment to make space for artists and community throughout societal challenges, be they local or global. As we restore an essential space for creative exploration within the City by reopening The Arts Center, our greatest priority lies in ensuring the health and safety of our artists, staff and visitors as we welcome everyone back to the cultural treasure that is Governors Island.”

LMCC’s Curator, Alice Russotti, remarked, “The projects at The Arts Center at Governors Island are social sculptures that remind us that our place within the systems in which we live have been created by people over time and, as such, can be recreated with collective thought and examination. Working towards a re-articulation, the objects and materials presented by the artists become direct and physical reference points for the viewer to interact with and build from—the interplays between artist, object and viewer become equally critical components of envisioning a society constructed with creative intelligence at its core.”

“Nothing transforms public spaces into sites for communal, exciting experiences like the energy and dynamic between artists and audiences,” added NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. “I couldn’t be more thrilled for the reopening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island with work from these fantastic artists, giving us another cultural event to look forward to this year on the path toward New York's recovery and resurgence.”

“Transformative public art and cultural programming are core to Governors Island’s role as an accessible public destination,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Following our successful partnership in 2020 to serve artists impacted by COVID-19 through the Governors Island residency initiative, we are thrilled that LMCC’s expanded Arts Center will reopen its doors during the Island’s 2021 season, presenting a range of works and programs that will engage audiences in the issues of social equity and sustainability facing our communities locally and around the world. We look forward to welcoming visitors to experience LMCC’s programs, as well as the Island’s diverse range of outdoor public art, cultural and educational programming.”

EXHIBITION DETAILS

Meg Webster
Wave

June 12–October 31, Thursday–Sunday, 12–5 p.m.
Upper Gallery at The Arts Center at Governors Island
Curated by Alice Russotti, LMCC

Meg Webster’s work is grounded in an unwavering interest in natural cycles and how a nuanced combination of form, material and site can come together to create diversely charged ecological systems. Since the 1980s, Webster’s visual language of rational geometric forms, from spirals to cones and circles—conveyed through natural matter such as water, soil, moss, salt and twigs—has situated her in close conversation with both Minimalism and Land Art. While her visual language is rooted in these art-historical movements, conceptually, her work resolutely engages with contemporary conversations around nature, ecology, sustainability and technology.

Webster’s site-specific installation, Wave, at LMCC’s Arts Center is comprised of both new and existing work from across Webster’s career, including: the commission of Moss Mound, a new work in the tradition of her iconic mound, cone or bed sculptures; a Growing Piece that will be assembled on site and serve as a living nursery for a pollinating garden grown in partnership with the GrowNYC Teaching Garden on Governors Island; Largest Blown Sphere, a group of five blown glass pieces; a video work entitled Waterfall (Houston Brook Falls); and Nearest Virgin Forest, a re-created sound piece consisting of field recordings sourced from the Hutcheson Memorial Forest, one of the last uncut forests in the Mid-Atlantic.

Sited in The Arts Center’s Upper Gallery, overlooking the New York Harbor on one side and the Island on the other, the installation makes porous the boundaries between interior architecture, exterior environment, space, place, light and audience. The works’ collective placement, which layers the trace of ancient growth onto real-time germination, subtly bends the arch of our understanding of natural time, reorienting the viewer towards a more expansive understanding of their relationship to the environment both in terms of what has been engineered within the gallery and what occurs naturally beyond it. Through the mediated placement of these elements of nature, Webster constructs an artificial microcosm that raises questions and connections related to cycles of growth and decay, nature and technology, care and maintenance.

Onyedika Chuke
The Forever Museum Archive_Circa 6000BCE

June 12–October 31, Thursday–Sunday, 12–5 p.m.
Lower Gallery at The Arts Center at Governors Island
Presented in partnership with Pioneer Works, curated by Gabriel Florenz

Onyedika Chuke is an artist and archivist who, since 2011, has been focused on The Forever Museum Archive, an ongoing project that brings together a disquieting collection of sculptures, text and images that serve as reference points through which to trace the systems of power that shape contemporary society.

LMCC and Pioneer Works now present the most recent iteration of this project, The Forever Museum Archive_Circa 6000BCE. This large-scale installation, a culmination of research conducted by Chuke on Rikers Island (2018–19), in Rome (2015), and in Libya (2011), will feature sculptural work cast by the artist alongside historical artifacts, framed within a labyrinth of Quaker pews. Together the work weaves together postcolonial theory with material workmanship to analyze the origins of the carceral state, the military and religion.

Muna Malik
Blessing of the Boats

June 12–October 31, Thursday–Sunday, 12–5 p.m.
Cafe at The Arts Center at Governors Island

Blessing of the Boats is an interactive sculpture that seeks to foster collective empathy and action through individual engagement. The work asks the viewer, “We have an opportunity to set sail towards a new future—what society would you build and how do we get there?” This prompt is intended as an active meditation, the viewer responding by creating their own origami boat onto which they write their answer and then place within the larger sculpture. Over LMCC’s Arts Center’s five-month season, the work will both literally and figuratively hold the collective hopes and intentions of the Center’s audience.

VISITOR INFORMATION

The Arts Center at Governors Island
110 Andes Rd, New York, NY 10004, Building 110
Google Maps: The Arts Center at Governors Island

The Arts Center at Governors Island is accessible by ferries operating to and from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is a 2-minute walk from the Soissons Landing pier (ferries from Manhattan). For the Governors Island ferry schedule, please visit https://govisland.com/visit-the-island/ferry

ABOUT MEG WEBSTER

Born in San Francisco in 1944, Meg Webster received an MFA from Yale University in 1983. Her work finds inspiration in the intrinsic beauty of natural materials. Using metal, glass and organic elements like salt, soil, twigs and moss, the artist creates large-scale installations and precise structures rooted in the traditions of Land Art of the 1970s. Webster draws on the rigorous formal vocabulary of minimalism to create simple, geometric forms that directly and perceptually engage the body and its senses.

Webster’s work has been exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; the Rooseum, Malmö, Sweden; the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; and the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York. In 2017 Webster participated in the two-person exhibition, Natura Naturans at Villa Panza in Varese, Italy. She also presented her large-scale earthwork, Concave Room for Bees, at Socrates Sculpture Park, commissioned for their 2016 exhibition, LANDMARK. Webster currently lives and works in New York.

ABOUT ONYEDIKA CHUKE

Onyedika Chuke is a New York-based American sculptor and archivist born in Onitsha, Nigeria. Often intrigued by international politics, his analysis of history and media are pertinent reminders of social constructs that characterize our collective memory. From 2016 to 2018 Chuke was a fellow at The Drawing Center. In the years 2013 to 2015 he participated in Queens Museum Studio Program. From January 2018 to 2019, Chuke served as New York City Public Artist in Residence (P.A.I.R). The position placed him in the offices of Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and Department of Corrections (DOC) Rikers Island. He has also held fellowships at Sculpture Center, Socrates Sculpture Park and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His archive has received support from organizations such as The Artist Alliance Inc and The American Academy in Rome. Chuke is a graduate of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (2011).

ABOUT MUNA MALIK

Muna Malik is an immersive artist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her passion in art lies in her pursuit to create cultural awareness and understanding through the medium of art. Her current work focuses on capturing poetic imagery and narratives of women of color and refugees.

Her work has been exhibited at Northern Spark Arts Festival, MCAD, Artworks Chicago and The University of Minnesota—Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She was the billboard artist for North Carolina for the “For Freedoms 50 State Initiative.” She recently completed exhibitions at the Band of Vices Gallery LA, Annenberg Space for Photography LA with Photoville and the International Center for Photography with “For Freedoms.” She currently has work at the Somaal House of Art in Minneapolis, MN for the Ilaaa Shalay/Since Yesterday exhibition. Her latest collage series was featured on Vogue.com and i-D Magazine.

ABOUT PIONEER WORKS

Pioneer Works builds community through the arts and sciences to create an open and inspired world. Pioneer Works encourages radical thinking across disciplines by providing practitioners a space to work, tools to create and a platform to exchange ideas that are free and open to all. They are driven by the realization that humanity is facing unprecedented social, intellectual and spiritual challenges; their programs explore new ways of facing those challenges by using the arts and sciences dynamically as both a lens and catalyst. When humanity comes together and combines the ideas and talents of many, it has the ability to engineer what once appeared to be impossible. Pioneer Works values curiosity, critical thinking, creativity and inclusion. At the core, Pioneer Works aims to improve how to understand and regard each other and the world. We believe our multidisciplinary approach creates a unique capacity to build bridges across ideas and communities, so that we may all think differently, together.

ABOUT GOVERNORS ISLAND

Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor nestled between Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront. Eight minutes from the energy and excitement of the City, the Island is a popular seasonal destination open to the public May 1–October 31. An award-winning new park is complemented by dozens of unique historic buildings, educational and cultural facilities, a rich arts and culture program and a 22-acre National Monument managed by the National Park Service. Looking forward, the Island is envisioned to be accessible year-round, with extraordinary open space, arts and culture, and education and research opportunities focused on climate solutions.

Details regarding Governors Island’s public season will be announced shortly. For more information, visit govisland.org.

ABOUT THE ARTS CENTER AT GOVERNORS ISLAND

Conceived by LMCC as an incubator for creative exploration and a gathering space to engage in dialogue, The Arts Center at Governors Island is the first permanent home for artists and audiences on Governors Island. Year-round Artist Residency programs that provide artists with studio and presenting space to develop their work are featured alongside a broad range of public events to convene artists and audiences in an exchange of ideas and creative practices.

On the heels of the successful launch of the COVID-19 response Artist Residency program at The Arts Center in 2020, LMCC will focus on the principal themes of equity and sustainability in 2021. Concurrent to Governors Island’s ambitious plans for addressing climate change and environmental issues in the long-term, LMCC is proud to join in the effort of demonstrating the stake that artists must have in these timely issues. Applicants to The Arts Center’s residency programs may choose to address the thematic anchors of equity and sustainability explicitly or elaborate on the relevance of their own practice and/or projects to them.

Building 110 at Governors Island was originally built in the 1870s as an ordnance warehouse and later used as military office space. In partnership with the Trust for Governors Island, LMCC re-envisioned the space for 21st-century artists and audiences. The interior renovation, designed by PEI Cobb Freed & Partners and Adamson Associates Architects and engineered by BuroHappold Engineering, features 40,000 square feet of artist studios, galleries, performance and rehearsal spaces and a cafe, and successfully reveals the stunning structure of the historic building while keeping its spaces flexible for a variety of uses.

Awards:
Winner, Cultural Projects, Global Design Awards—The Architecture Community
American Architecture Award—Chicago Athenaeum, 2020
Award of Merit, Cultural/Worship—Engineering News Record New York, 2020

ABOUT LOWER MANHATTAN CULTURAL COUNCIL (LMCC)

Founded as Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, LMCC serves, connects and makes space for artists and community.

LMCC Serves Artists through:

Residencies that enable artists to experiment and develop their work and ideas, with professional development, financial training and networking opportunities

Grant funding to artists that support local/neighborhood projects

Presentation opportunities that allow artists to share their work and creative process with the public

LMCC Serves Community through:

Free public programs in Lower Manhattan that activate neighborhoods and bring people together through performances and rich artistic experiences

Access to artists and the artmaking process to build connections and dialogue between artists and audiences

Grant funding for neighborhood arts and community-based organizations

Since 1973, LMCC has been the quiet champion for independent artists in New York City and the cultural life force of Lower Manhattan.

www.LMCC.net

SUPPORTERS

The 2021 season of programming at The Arts Center at Governors Island is made possible, in part, by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Con Edison.

Meg Webster’s Wave is underwritten by UGG®.

The Forever Museum Archive_Circa 6000BCE is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the ForGood Fund, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

LMCC’s Arts Center Residency program is supported, in part, by Cowles Charitable Trust, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., The Norman & Bettina Roberts Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

The Arts Center Residency is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

LMCC is also grateful to our many capital supporters. For a list of capital supporters, please visit lmcc.net. LMCC additionally acknowledges our partnership with the Trust for Governors Island

For more information please contact Chris Schimpf or Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000.


www.lmcc.net