Now that Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon figures are safely off the window ledges and building roofs around Madison Square Park, details have emerged as to the next artist who’ll take up New York’s most high-profile public art spot: Jim Campbell.
The main work in the two-piece show that opens October 21, “Scattered Light” (rendered above), will sit in the park’s central oval lawn and feature some 2,000 LEDs hanging on an 80-feet-wide support and displaying flickering human silhouettes when seen from a certain vantage point. From more oblique angles the play of flickering lights will seem abstract, though no less beautiful. The other piece, near the park’s southwest entrance at 23rd Street and Broadway, will be a smaller sculptural wall of lit glass made to reflect whatever activity occurs in front of it in Campbell’s trademark ghostly style.
The San Francisco-based artist was first trained as an engineer, and most of his work incorporates very complex lighting rigs, elaborate video systems and very unconventional screens. The centerpiece of his show this spring at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in Chelsea, Exploded View, looked like a group of elegant, scintillating light garlands, except at one angle, from which a short video loop showed a human silhouette running, falling, getting up and running again until it fell. “Scattered Light” sounds very similar, except that the blinking light-bulb figures will be life-sized, adding immensely to the already superb effect of Campbell’s work. Be sure to go check it out after dark. For a better idea of what it will look like in movement, check out this video of “Exploded View”: