Inspired by geek speak, art makes sense of fractured system

In “Loosely Coupled,” contemporary art is paired with a historic backdrop. Photo courtesy of Savona Bailey-McClain

Governors Island exhibit featuresunlikely grouping


Loose coupling — computer geek speak for different elements of a system that do their business largely unaffected by and uninformed about the work of other elements — is, according to West Harlem Art Fund Executive Director Savona Bailey-McClain, the perfect way to describe its current exhibition on Governors Island. It might also be a good way to describe the desired audience — many of whom are likely unaware of the island’s untapped potential.

The artists featured in “Loosely Coupled” come from all different backgrounds and walks of life — with roots in the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, South Dakota and New York’s own Harlem, to name a few. Bailey-McClain says the altogether unlikely grouping of ceramics, photography, assemblage, sculptures, installations and abstract paintings in the exhibit “complements…without overwhelming.”

The studios and the homes of “Loosely Coupled” artists (Dianne Smith, Scherezade Garcia, Wayne Liu, Allen Anthony Hansen, Luke Schumacher, Colin Chase, Kurt Goodrich, Iliana Emilia Garcia and Peter Goldwater) span the entire city — all the way from Brooklyn, to the Lower East Side, to Harlem, to Long Island City. With “Loosely Coupled,” Bailey-McClain says she hopes to “represent and connect with neighborhoods where artists really live and work.” She points to the tendency to forget that most artists don’t reside in the well-to-do neighborhoods where we so often see their work displayed.

“Loosely Coupled” takes place in a historic house in the Nolan Park neighborhood on Governors Island through September 25. The exhibit is free, as are ferries to and from the island. (For info on ferry service, visit

The show officially opened to the public on June 25, and Bailey-McClain says she was thrilled with the huge crowds that turned out for the opening affair. The rest of the summer will be filled with more “Loosely Coupled” events — including artist talks, performances and special programming for children. For a schedule of events, email [email protected]

“Loosely Coupled” is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 12-4pm, at 17 Nolan Park, on Governors Island. For more info, visit or call 347-365-0132.

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