Leo Villareal lights up New York’s Pace Gallery

The artist, who has just been given the green light to illuminate the Thames, exhibits some of his smaller works

Cloud Drawing by Leo Villareal, 2017
Cloud Drawing by Leo Villareal, 2017 | Image: © Leo Villareal, courtesy Pace Gallery

The 17 bridges across London’s River Thames will soon become part of the world’s largest public art installation, when they are illuminated by the work of American light artist Leo Villareal. Construction on the epic project is set to begin next year, but before then several new works by Villareal will go on show and sale at New York’s Pace Gallery, from Thursday May 4 to Saturday June 17.

Cloud Drawing by Leo Villareal, 2017
Cloud Drawing by Leo Villareal, 2017 | Image: © Leo Villareal, courtesy Pace Gallery

The exhibition will showcase the artist’s use of both light and “the lowest common denominators such as pixels or the zeros and ones in binary code”, he says. Multimedia pieces including his Cloud Drawings (from $85,000) will feature, as well as a hanging sculpture similar to his Light Matrix, which is made up of 240 stainless-steel rods, each containing 72 white LEDs, and cascades from the ceiling of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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The show follows Villareal’s lauded large-scale installations The Bay Lights – a permanent 2.9km-long assemblage of 25,000 white LEDs on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge – and Diagonal Grid at the Borusan Center for Culture and Arts in Istanbul.

Cloud Drawing by Leo Villareal, 2017
Cloud Drawing by Leo Villareal, 2017 | Image: © Leo Villareal, courtesy Pace Gallery

“Leo is having a real moment,” says Marc Glimcher, president of Pace Gallery. “He is mastering a new medium, and is connecting with people on a fundamental, very powerful level. All you need to do is stand before one of his pieces and you know you’re in front of a great work of art that will stand the test of time.”

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