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Leo Villareal; Anne Pasternak, photography by Timothy Greenfield Sanders


A Conversation

With Leo Villareal & Anne Pasternak

Thursday, Apr 30
Instagram Live

This week, our Instagram Live conversation series brings together Pace artist Leo Villareal with longtime friend and collaborator Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum.


A Conversation with Leo Villareal & Anne Pasternak
Thursday, Apr 30

How to Watch

Instagram Live
(opens in a new window) @pacegallery

Leo Villareal

Leo Villareal works with pixels and binary code to create complex, rhythmic compositions in light. Firmly rooted in abstraction, his approach uses layered sequencing that results in open-ended and subjective visual experiences. Villareal’s works often reference organic systems and evoke—but do not illustrate—atmospheric elements in that emergent and unexpected behavior occurs without a predetermined outcome.

Having come of age during the first generation of home computers, Villareal was equally fascinated by the use of new technological tools and software. His artistic investigation of artificial space led him to explore installation art, creating environments comprised of found objects, video, light, and sound. While at the annual Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, Villareal’s interest in fragmentation, data, and perspective was materialized in a large light-sequenced landmark. Programmed with a microcontroller, to guide him back to his campsite on the playa, this fundamentally practical invention resulted in mesmerizing patterns visible from miles away, and subsequently became a prototype of his ensuing work connecting software and light.

In 2002, Villareal presented his first fully formed LED sculpture, Hexad (2002), in Sculpture Now at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, Lake Worth, Florida, demonstrating early experimentation with complex patterns, layering combinations of colors, and light intensity. Villareal’s artistic influences, Dan Flavin, James Turrell, and Sol LeWitt among them, point to his own lineage within Minimalism, Conceptual art, and Post-Painterly Abstraction.

In 2003, Villareal produced his first large-scale architectural work, Supercluster, for the group exhibition Signatures of the Invisible at MoMA P.S. 1, New York, in collaboration with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva. Comprised of a large grid of LED nodes, the work’s sequenced light pattern was directly inspired by the traffic and movement around the museum’s urban environment. This use of pixels and binary units, which occur in later art works such as Instance (2018), roots Villareal’s practice in the materiality of mechanical reproduction and mass imagery as well as in the art historical context of printmaking and artists Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Learn More

Anne Pasternak

Since 2015, Anne Pasternak has served as the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest fine arts institutions in the nation. For more than thirty years, Anne has devoted her career to engaging broad audiences with the limitless power of art to move, motivate, and inspire. As a staunch advocate for the civic and democratic roles our cultural and educational institutions can play, she is committed to projects that demonstrate the crucial links between art and social justice.

During her time at the Brooklyn Museum, Anne has focused on strengthening the Museum as a center for the visual arts that is courageous, pioneering, and global. Through her leadership, Anne has expanded exhibitions, educational and public programs, and fostered special exhibitions, including The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, David Bowie is, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, and Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. These initiatives are building the foundations for the Brooklyn Museum’s new Strategic Plan, to further the Museum’s mission to create inspiring encounters with art and engage the audiences the issues of today.

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum, Anne served as the President and Artistic Director of Creative Time for two decades, where she initiated projects that gave artists opportunities to respond to political and environmental challenges, while also expanding their practice and work globally. She collaborated with hundreds of artists, including Nick Cave, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, and Kara Walker, commissioning and presenting works that ranged from sculptural installations in Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall to skywriting over Manhattan, as well as Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated the sky above the former World Trade Center site, and continue to be presented on the anniversaries of 9/11.

  • Events — A Conversation with Leo Villareal & Anne Pasternak, Apr 27, 2020