Brown University commissions a light installation by Leo Villareal for its new REX-designed Lindemann Performing Arts Center

From Afar and Within

Brown University commissions a light installation by Leo Villareal for its new REX-designed Lindemann Performing Arts Center

Infinite Composition, 2023. View through clearstory of The Lindemann. (Courtesy Brown University)

As work is underway at Brown University to complete the new REX-designed Lindemann Performing Arts Center, which will open in October, a new dynamic, site-specific artwork from American artist Leo Villareal activates and lights up the building from afar and within.

The light installationInfinite Composition, is installed within the lobby of the performing arts center. The 30 structural columns filling the otherwise rather void space of the Lindemann lobby are brought to life through 58 LED light arrays conceived by Villareal and his studio. Working alongside Sunrise SESA Technologies and fabricator Kammetal, aluminium cladding was installed on each of the columns before the artist and his team programmed the light sequences. Many sequences are inspired by patterns and forms found in nature, including falling rain and flocking birds. The light show is completely randomized, offering viewers a unique experience each time.

Infinite Composition is visible all hours of the day, and can be experienced from outside the building through the Lindemann’s “clearstory,” a rectangular glass volume that cuts through the building’s otherwise boxy shape to form a cantilever. The glowing columns are programmed to be lighter during the day, and dimmed in the evening.

Infinite Composition, 2023. Interior view of the lobby of The Lindemann. (Courtesy Brown University)

“Leo Villareal’s piece serves as a beautiful actualization of the energy and creativity that will soon enliven The Lindemann on a daily basis,” said Avery Willis Hoffman, director of the Brown Arts Institute, in a press release. “By activating the lobby space with dancing light, Villareal is doing what we will encourage all Brown and community artists to do inside this arts center: find creative inspiration in these spaces and use them to push artistic and disciplinary boundaries.”

As previously reported by AN, The Lindemann was designed by REX and will be managed by the University’s Brown Arts Institute (BAI). The center will become the centerpiece of arts and performance at Brown University, bringing several performance spaces, practice studios, and galleries for visual art under a single roof. The main performance space will be highly modular, with the project covering 101,000 square feet in the University’s growing Perelman Arts District. Coinciding with the opening year of the Lindemann, BAI has announced that it will be launching IGNITE, an arts initiative focused around social change. IGNITE will regularly convene artists on campus in collaboration with Brown entities through a fellowship program, whose 2023–2024 fellows include Carrie Mae Weems and William Kentridge.

“I love working in academic environments where students are interested in bringing their creative and analytical skills together because I do that in my work,” Villareal said in a statement. “It’s inspiring to see more collaboration across disciplines because that’s how interesting insights can happen. That’s how we get all those bold new ideas.”

Infinite Composition, 2023. View from outside The Lindemann. (Courtesy Brown University)

Villareal’s project expands on his work with light as a medium. His past commissions have included an urban intervention that lit up the four bridges spanning the Thames River, a decorative wall at the University of Houston, and a sculpture consisting of metal rings on view in the new Kansas City International Airport.

The Lindemann will celebrate its opening in October, with Villareal’s light installation permanently on display.