Recently, The Trust welcomed Turner Prize winning artist Rachel Whiteread for a chilly but exhilarating site visit to Governors Island. We were joined by consulting curator Tom Eccles and his team at Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies, landscape architects from West 8, and representatives from Rachel’s studio in London and her gallery Luhring Augustine, here in New York. Why such a crowd? Construction of The Hills, one of which will be the site of a public art installation by Rachel Whiteread, are far enough along to enable the artist to better visualize how her piece will respond to its one-of-a-kind location in the middle of the New York Harbor with spectacular views and a unique maritime climate. Though the lush plantings, paths, and some of the adjacent public spaces will not be complete for another year, the artist’s creative process must begin now in order to dovetail with the complex engineering and construction schedule that the Hills require.
Rachel Whiteread is the second artist that will be featured on Governors Island as part of the newly established Governors Island Public Art Commissioning Program. The first artist commissioned by the program, Mark Handforth, currently has four sculptures on Governors Island that will be on view to the public this summer.