As the coronavirus casts a shadow on humanity, these artists are projecting some light into the darkness.
Lockdown-friendly exhibit Light Windows is shining art into the world this month by encouraging those with access to windows and ways of illuminating them to cast some love onto the Earth’s empty streets.
The global installation features a handful of windows based in New York City, all of which can be visited — virtually or in person at night — using the exhibit’s online map.
“That feeling of lighting up your windows, turning your space into a space where you can share your work — our cities really need that hope and inspiration right now,” Martina Mrongovius, Light Windows curator and Creative Director of Queens’ Center for Holographic Arts, tells The Post.
Mrongovius was inspired to start the project both by her longtime experience installing work in windows and the rainbows children have begun hanging up since the coronavirus pandemic began.
More than 50 artists are involved in the project — a growing number since anyone can participate by posting a photo of their creation to social media and tagging #LightWindows.
“Most of these light windows are in peoples homes. Anyone who has a window and wants to engage can put something up,” Queens resident and participating light artist Jonathan Sims tells The Post. “It’s meant to be a really hopeful gesture.”
Sims has two pieces in the exhibit, one at Bushwick studio Paradice Palase, where his “Tree of Heaven” lights up the basement and artist Valeria Divinorum’s “Flower of Life” shines from the first-floor — and one at Long Island City gallery Flux Factory. Both spaces are temporarily shuttered.
At Nancy Manocherian’s the Cell theater on West 23rd Street, artist Steve Pavlovsky has installed a two-story light show, casting rainbows of analogue color onto the empty street before it. The piece, called Windowpane Tranquility, “is a meditation on the slower, calmer pace of life that quarantine has brought us. It is bright and fun, but also meant to give the viewer repose as they gradually begin to venture back out into the world,” reads the artist’s description.
An interactive map keeps track of all the participating Light Windows exhibits, serving as a substitute for the traditional catalog which would accompany an installation.
The map keeps addresses ambiguous. “You have to do a bit of looking around — it’s a bit like Pokémon,” Mrongovius says.
For those not near any installations, the exhibits are also visible online, and during a livestreaming event Saturday to honor the International Day of Light (the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser).
The exhibition will formally continue through the end of the month, although artists are welcome to keep their work up longer.
While Mrongovius cannot bring herself to say that anything born of the coronavirus is good — the death toll outweighing any silver linings — she does concede that light art is uniquely suited to cast warmth in this moment, and the pandemic may prove a long-term boon for the medium.
“There’s nothing like being in a gallery, standing there and being surrounded by the people who made that show,” she says. “Since we can’t do that, this is the best we could do.”
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