July 24, 2008UVLD Lights Monumental Chris Burden
Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) is helping Chris Burden turn heads at Rockefeller Center by illuminating the artist’s latest installation, a 65-foot skyscraper constructed from nickel-finished stainless steel Erector Set-style pieces. The sculpture, called “What My Dad Gave Me,” is on view in the Channel Gardens, where the real Rockefeller Center Tower forms the backdrop, from June 10-July 19. It is presented by the Public Art Fund and hosted by Tishman Speyer, co-owners of Rockefeller Center.
“Chris Burden's sculpture seems to fit completely with the architecture of Rockefeller Center,” says UVLD lighting designer Gregory Cohen. “It is both proud and assertive, and therefore the lighting needed to make it punch out among its surroundings.”
The sculpture was built in sections at Burden’s studio in Topanga Canyon, California and assembled in Los Angeles. It was trucked cross-country and hoisted into place at Rockefeller Center where Burden’s father, an engineer, had once worked. “The fact that it is both a model and the height of a real building is bizarre,” he told The New York Times. “It is simultaneously right and wrong from a traditional building perspective. And so it starts to play tricks on you.”
“What My Dad Gave Me” is constructed from approximately one million parts which replicate Erector set truss, a toy patented in 1912. “It might look like child’s play, but it’s anything but,” Burden reported to the Times. The artist had previously built a 28-foot model of the East River’s Hell Gate Bridge.
UVLD was tasked with lighting Burden’s installation, which is art on the scale of an actual building. “By mounting fixtures on top of the buildings of Rockefeller Center and across the street at Saks 5th Avenue, UVLD was able to create a treatment that feels as permanent as the existing building lighting,” Cohen explains. “This allows the viewers to concentrate on visually exploring the piece -- day or night -- without being distracted by production elements.”
Glenn Mahoney, senior director at Tishman Speyer, served as the event producer. Gear was provided by Scharff Weisberg.
Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) creates lighting designs for corporate theater, live entertainment, themed environments, trade shows and special events. UVLD is a partnership of 10 designers working in all aspects of lighting design; their work has been seen on stages and screens nationwide and around the world. Clients include IBM, Mitsubishi, Honda, Kia, Mercedes, Volvo, Volkswagen, John Deere, Microsoft, Cartier, Victoria’s Secret, FedEx, Avon and Audi.
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