The Flatiron Building is currently taking a break from being the most photographed attraction at the intersection of 23rd St. and Broadway now that Leo Villareal's pulsing, 30-foot-tall "BUCKYBALL" orb sculpture is finally up and glowing. The massive network of 180 illuminated LED tubes looks a bit like those expanding Hoberman spheres we used to play with as kids, but is actually meant to resemble a duo of nested fullerene molecules (otherwise known as buckyballs). If you'd like to experience this new public toy for yourself, it will be opening tonight at Madison Square Park, but until then, feel free to peruse our photos.
The thoughtful and mathematical structure of Villareal’s BUCKYBALL is visually interesting in itself, but its constantly changing programmed light sequences are what really mesmerize. Using the same kind of programmable pixels as his other NYC work, HIVE, Villareal is able to choose from 16 million different colors to illuminate bulbs located every 1.2 inches throughout the sculpture. After it opens tonight, BUCKYBALL will also be surrounded by zero-gravity couches that will allow viewers to lie under the artwork and see it from an entirely different perspective.
“I am thrilled to be presenting BUCKYBALL in Madison Square Park,” says Villareal. “My new light sculpture takes the form of a Carbon 60 molecule and expands it to monumental scale. It also explores self-similarity through the use of two identical nested spheres, the outer at 20 feet in diameter and the inner at 10 feet. Lined with LED tubes, these structures are activated through sequenced light driven by custom software. This public artwork reinterprets many of the traditional elements found in the park such as seating and historic monuments in a fresh and exciting way.”
BUCKYBALL will remain on view from October 25, 2012 through February 1, 2013 in Madison Square Park. For more about this enlightening new piece of public artwork, please check out our previous coverage of Leo Villareal’s BUCKYBALL.