Using a framework of 180 LED-lit tubes, "Buckyball" is a representation of spherical carbon 60 molecules named for Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome. The 30-foot sculpture, which nests one molecule inside another, was programmed by Villareal to change colors. Commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, it was first exhibited by Mad. Sq. Art, the contemporary art program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, from Oct. 25, 2012, to Feb. 15, 2013.
From a Crystal Bridges news release:
For more than a decade, Villareal has been a pioneer in the merging of art and innovative light technology. Recently, the debut of the artist’s installation, The Bay Lights, on the San Francisco Bay Bridge received world-wide attention and acclaim. Villareal’s work often reduces forms to basic components — such as pixels or the ones and zeros found in binary code — to better understand their underlying structures and how they function. He then builds these fundamental elements into interactive light installations that move, change and grow into complex compositions in order to explore them on a larger scale.
Reclining couches (which Villareal calls "zero-gravity" benches) will surround the sculpture. Villareal will discuss his work at a public lecture from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 in the Great Hall. Register at the museum website.
Villareal's work is also included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y.