New York City is to celebrate two important occasions; firstly the public opening of the new Whitney Museum building, and secondly the 84th birthday of the Empire State Building. The two institutions have got together to create an LED light show featuring twelve iconic artworks interpreted by Emmy-nominated production designer Marc Brickman, having previously worked with the likes of Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen.
The giant work will feature tributes to pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Peter Halley, Elizabeth Murray, Mark Rothko, Barbara Kruger and others, and will last 30 minutes each, with the light show beginning at 8 p.m. on May 1 and ending at 2 a.m. the following day. Most of the works that featured in this epic light show are also on view in the museum’s inaugural exhibition, “America Is Hard to See”.
Chief curator Donna De Salvo stated in a press release: “We’re thrilled to see these incredible works from the Whitney’s collection interpreted on one of the most iconic buildings in the world—one that has been the subject of many an artist’s work, we can’t imagine a more spectacular way in which to signal the opening of our new building and celebrate the art and artists of the United States.”
Brickman explains in a conversation with the New York Times, “I thought this was an opportunity to take the greatest artists in the world and use that as inspiration, their colour palettes and the way they painted. For instance, Rothko and how he used color—and really try to emulate that on the building.”
“This is not meant to be a reproduction; it’s meant to be representational. This is performance art,” agreed Anthony E. Malkin, the chairman and chief executive of Empire State Realty Trust, which operates the building.
Prior to the celebration a special lighting ceremony will take place, allowing a handful of the artists to flip the switch and illuminate the building. A private viewing of the light show will take place that evening at the museum, which boasts impressive views of the city from its four outdoor terraces.