Anne Militello: Light Cycles

The west wall of the Winter Garden is comprised of three layers, the highest standing at 120 feet. To my great surprise, Arts Brookfield had never used the glass wall as a canvas in its 24-year history – most likely due to the significant costs and rigging challenges involved with such an undertaking. In the fall of 2011, our Executive Director suggested that I re-visit a proposal made a few years earlier by Anne Militello. At that point, we had chosen to execute a portion of her vision, the extremely popular “drip” lights that have brightened up the Plaza trees for the past few winter.

Exciting conversations with Anne followed, as she refined her ideas for the installation. She envisioned three different sizes of color changing LED embedded discs hung on strands, like pendants on a bracelet. Her renderings and animations were inspiring. And like all site-specific commissions with custom designed materials, it was a leap of faith. Fast forward through material tests, equipment tests, many production meetings, my first trip to Vegas to see a prototype disc, repeated assurances to my boss that it would be worth every cent, and the first night of installation. The second night, the first sets of strands were turned on to make sure they worked.

It was stunning.

It’s one of the handful of times in my life that the reality of the art surpassed my imagination - and there were still 2/3 of the strands to be installed and programming to be completed. Now, the Winter Garden and Plaza are animated nightly by a different sequence of movements and colors inspired by natural phenomena. Anne’s magnificent installation makes the atrium sparkle like a gorgeous gem on the Manhattan skyline. It’s worth the trek to Lower Manhattan.

Light Cycles, an installation by Anne Militello commissioned by Arts Brookfield, has just been extended through mid-April, sunset to midnight.