The Brooklyn Academy of Music has commissioned new works of public art by Teresita Fernández, Leo Villareal and Hank Willis Thomas, three Brooklyn-based artists who will create site-specific installations for four BAM locations. The new commissions are made possible by a $3.5M gift from the Robert W. Wilson Public Art Initiative.

“This is a dynamic period for BAM in the visual arts, including the addition of our first dedicated exhibition space, The Rudin Family Gallery,” said BAM President Katy Clark. “Commissioning public art by three artists forging exciting new paths underscores our commitment to the visual arts and celebrates the breadth of our organization.” 

Miami-born, Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Teresita Fernández has gained great notoriety for her interactive public projects that play with notions of landscape and place. The 2005 MacArthur Fellow will design a large-scale sculptural form, Paradise Parados, for the outdoor terrace atop the new Rudin Family Gallery at BAM Strong. The sculpture will transform the terrace into a three-sided enclosed garden, perched on the side of the Harvey Theater, creating an immersive experience where viewers walk underneath and around the work, seeing their own optically-shifting reflections in a myriad, metallic weave patterns.

Light artist Leo Villareal, whose LED installation Stars can be seen in the arched windows of BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp Building, will create two new works. The sculpture, Light Matrix, comprised of over 3500 individually addressable LEDs, will fill the third-story windows of the BAM Fisher and complement Stars.

The second piece, Volume, a large scale light installation, will be mounted in the soon-to-be-constructed BAM Karen spaces at 300 Ashland Place. The artwork consists of over 11,000 LEDs embedded within 441 mirrored stainless steel rods. The combination of materials, that both reflect and emit light, will create an ephemeral field of light floating overhead and will be hung from the second-floor ceiling to fully activate the space, BAM officials said. 

Hank Willis Thomas, a conceptual artist who works with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media and popular culture, will create a mixed-media installation examining BAM’s history to highlight how the past continues to be present. His work will adorn the rear wall of BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp Building, facing BAM Fisher.

“We are delighted to welcome two new pieces by Leo Villareal,” said Clark. “And we look forward to commissioning our first work by Brooklyn resident Teresita Fernández, whose use of materials will provide a signature, interactive work for the new terrace at BAM Strong, as well as our first work by Hank Willis Thomas, an artist with a unique vision and a singular approach to the commission process.”

The first installation, Villareal’s Light Matrix, is expected to debut this fall for BAM’s New Wave Festival.

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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