Posted On: April 1, 2012

Leo Villareal

View Leo Villareal’s Exhibition Catalogue

Leo Villareal’s Buckyball, inspired by the work of Buckminster Fuller, will apply concepts of geometry to a towering, thirty-foot-tall, illuminated sculpture. This site-specific work will remain on view daily from October 25, 2012 through February 15, 2013 in Madison Square Park. Villareal’s Buckyball  will feature two nested, geodesic sculptural spheres comprised of 180 LED tubes arranged in a series of pentagons and hexagons, known as a “Fullerene,” referring to the form’s discovery by Buckminster Fuller. Pixels, located every 1.2 inches along the tubes, are each capable of displaying 16 million distinct colors and will be specifically tuned by the artist’s own software. Relying on LED technologies driven by chance, Buckyball‘s light sequences will create exuberant, random compositions of varied speed, color, opacity, and scale. These patterns trigger neurological processes, exciting our natural impulses to identify patterns and gather meaning from our external environment. Through basic elements, including pixels and binary codes, Buckyball  allows for a better understanding of the underlying structures and systems that govern everyday function, expanding common notions of space, time, and sensorial pleasure.

Villareal’s light sculpture will be surrounded by zero-gravity couches that allow viewers to recline below the artwork. These couches are built out of wooden slats that mimic the construction method of adjacent park benches, just as the pedestal on which Buckyball  rests emulates the support structures of the Park’s neighboring sculptural monuments.


About the Artist

Leo Villareal received a B.A. in sculpture from Yale University in 1990, and a graduate degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Villareal’s recent exhibitions include a survey show organized by San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, which continues to tour several museums in the United States. He has completed many site-specific works including  Radiant Pathway, Rice University, Houston, Texas; Mulitverse, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Diagonal Grid, Borusan Center for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey; Stars, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York; and the recently installed Hive, for Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan.

Among the projects Villareal is currently working on, Bay Lights for Bay Bridge in San Francisco will spectacularly light the bridge and glisten throughout the city. Villareal is also a focal point of the James Corner Field Operations design team that will renew Chicago’s Navy Pier. He has also been commissioned for installations at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and The Durst Organization in New York City. Villareal’s work is in the permanent collections of prestigious museums including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Kagawa, Japan; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; and National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Leo Villareal is represented by Gering & López Gallery, New York.


Major support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by Liane Ginsberg, Agnes Gund, Toby Devan Lewis, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Tiffany & Co., Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Sorgente Group, and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by Martha and Bruce Atwater, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, Henry Luce Foundation, Melissa S. Meyer, Ronald A. Pizzuti, The Rudin Family, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Tishman Speyer, Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, and Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work. Additional support is provided by Tom Berger, Danny and Audrey Meyer, Jamie Welch and Fiona Angelini, Leslie and Howard Zemsky, NYC and Company, and Time Out New York. Major exhibition support for Buckyball  is provided by Bloomberg.

Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline Sponsor of Mad. Sq. Art. Ace Hotel New York is the Official Hotel Partner of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Mad. Sq. Art is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. The Madison Square Park Conservancy is a public/private partnership with New York City Parks & Recreation.


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Further Information

Sandra Gering

Leo Villareal