Artist Leo Villareal’s Massive Cosmic Installation Will Light Up the Armory Show

The 75-foot "Star Ceiling" will illuminate the passageway between the piers at this year's Armory Show.

Leo Villareal, Rendering of Instance, (2019). © Leo Villareal, courtesy Pace Gallery
Leo Villareal, Rendering of Instance, (2019). © Leo Villareal, courtesy Pace Gallery

One of the star attractions of next week’s Armory Show—and an almost guaranteed Instagram sensation—will be artist Leo Villareal’s new 75-foot-long LED work installed in the passageway connecting Pier 94, the main section, with the eastern part of Pier 92, where the VIP lounge and special projects are housed.

The work, Star Ceiling, which is being presented in partnership with Pace Gallery, is the largest digital-media artwork ever presented in the fair’s 25-year history. Villareal told artnet News that he was first approached by the show’s organizers last fall and was honored to create an immersive work for the fair’s anniversary.

“You have to see it in person, pictures don’t do it justice,” he said.

Fair goers passing between the piers will “become part of a landscape that induces an experience of deep connectedness,” according to a statement from the Armory Show. Viewers can expect to be transported both physically and experientially through the monochromatic, undulating field of light that will hang on the passageway’s ceiling, evoking stars, galaxies, and other cosmic phenomena.

Rendering of Leo Villareal's <i>Star Ceiling</i> (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, Pace Gallery, and The Armory Show.

Rendering of Leo Villareal’s Star Ceiling (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, Pace Gallery, and The Armory Show.

Villareal is known for his use of LED lights to create complex and immersive works both for gallery and public art settings. His installations employ artist-created code, which constantly changes the frequency, intensity, and patterning of lights through sequencing. Villareal has said that art serves as a portal for him, “something that takes the viewer to another place.”

Meanwhile, Pace will also present a solo booth of the artist’s work in the main “Galleries” section of the fair on Pier 94.


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