Sunday, May 03, 2009

Leo Villareal's Multiverse

Today, I went to the National Gallery of Art to see Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations from the National Gallery of Art and the Phillip Guston Focus Exhibition in the Tower Gallery, both excellent choices for an art outing!

I was also delighted by the LED light show on the Concourse walkway between the East and West Buildings by New York artist, Leo Villareal. Mesmerized and enchanted, I watched as folks came and went through the galactic portal. My photo alludes to the experience and I recommend you go see it and experience this playful piece before the lights go out in November. It was worth several trips around the walkway to watch the patterns play out in the lights. I left the museum with a lighthearted step and a feeling of wonder. Now, maybe I'll go star gazing.

Leo Villareal Multiverse (2008), a new light sculpture created for the underground walkway between the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Multiverse, the largest and most complex light sculpture created by American artist Leo Villareal (b. 1967) may now be experienced by visitors as they pass through the Concourse walkway between the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Commissioned by the Gallery and on view for one year, the work features approximately 41,000 computer-programmed LED nodes that run through channels along the entire 200-foot-long space. The development of this LED (light–emitting diode) project began three years ago and the installation created by Villareal specifically for this location began last September.

"Multiverse creates an exuberant and mesmerizing environment which transforms the experience of its space, and several thousand visitors to the Gallery have seen this very special installation by Leo Villareal since it was debuted in late November," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “We are extremely grateful to the board members who generously funded this project, to the members of our staff who worked diligently on it over the last three years, and to Leo for creating this beautiful work.”

The project was overseen by Molly Donovan, associate curator in the department of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art.

The Gallery has created a special Web feature at that includes a 3-D simulation of the installation, as well as an interview with the artist in his studio in which he talks about his background, influences, process, and the installation at the Gallery.

The National Gallery of Art National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW

(202) 737-4215

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