FIGMENT’s Free Art Returns to Governors Island

In 2007, New York City’s Governors Island saw the birth of FIGMENT, a public arts organization. Since then, the organization has only grown. In fact, more than 200,000 attended FIGMENT events and exhibitions in NYC and Boston last year. To be even more ambitious, the group is opening new arts festivals and exhibitions in Jackson, Mississippi and Detroit, Michigan. FIGMENT says its continuing “its mission to offer free, inclusive and participatory art to entire communities, removing the barriers of museum and gallery walls and entrance fees, and blurring the lines between those who create and those who enjoy art.”

This year, on Governor’s Island, FIGMENT will offer a free arts festival with performances from June 10-12, and interactive exhibitions until September 25, including a “terrace sculpture garden” featuring “17 sustainable sculpture projects”; an artist-designed mini-golf course; and this year’s City of Dreams Pavilion, Burble Bup, which was the result of an international design competition created in partnership with ENYA and SEAoNY (see an earlier post on the competition and last year’s winner). 

A few events and exhibitions that look interesting:

Aqua Attack by Angry Dolphin. “Are you a Super Villain or Super Hero? Aqua Attack!! is Back! The imaginary Japanese game show where you dress up and battle in kiddie pools with super soaked plush toys and guest game show hosts. Plus a new surprise!” (June 10-12)


Plastic Fantastic by Diedre Kreiger. “Plastic Fantastic is a 16 foot geodesic dome made from over 6,000 post-consumer water bottles. Participate in the making of the dome and one of the programmed events throughout the weekend. Plastic Fantastic creates possibility for social change through play, collectivity, community development and production.” (June 10-12)


Stealth Fighter by Zaq Landsberg (see image at top). “This 1:1 scale replica is framed in wood and wire and covered in Astroturf. It will be hidden in plain sight. Although the Astroturf blends in with the grass, Stealth Fighter will be obvious because of its size and distinctive shape. Visitors can go inside the fighter and use its ‘cover’ to peek out the jet intakes and cockpit windows.” (May 27 – September 25) 

After seeing the art, visitors can play 14 holes on Bugs & Features, a mini-golf course in which each hole is designed by a different group of artists. One hole, The Composting Micro Bug Food Spiral by Dee Dee Maucher of the MoS Collective features “the multitudinous microorganisms” that “process our food waste. This golf hole is a three-step compost system for soil building and food growing.” In addition, there’s also the aptly named Very Large Flyswatter hole by Jason Lucas, Bob Scott, Bob Seetin, Lilah Amon-Lucas. (May – September 25)


Finally, there’s this year’s City of Dreams Pavilion, Burble Bup, which doesn’t seem to have been built yet, or at least we can’t find images of the actual installation online. Designed by Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich, who make up an artistic duo called Bittertang, the pavilion’s materials, which will include soft inflatable berms, will be completely reused or recycled at the end of the summer. (May-September 25)


Image credits: (1) Zaq Landsberg / FIGMENT, (2) Angry Dolphin / FIGMENT, (3) Diedre Kreiger / FIGMENT, (4) Jason Lucas, Bob Scott, Bob Seetin, Lilah Amon-Lucas / FIGMENT, (5) Bittertang / FIGMENT

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