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An Interview with Artist Leo Villareal

CB: Your work is very public in nature, and I know you’ve said you really enjoy watching people react to your work in the public setting. Can you talk about the purpose and value of public art?

LV: I really love making public art. I think it’s very important to get art out into the world. As much as I love galleries and museums—and they’re wonderful places—there’s a much bigger role for art to play in many more people’s lives. That’s certainly part of the DNA of what’s happening at Crystal Bridges: that universal quality, really opening things up and making them accessible and de-mystifying the museum and the whole experience. I think that my work has an ability to engage with all kinds of people. Light has a universal quality. Anyone can look at it and have some sort of response. I think public art is about having a space in which to enjoy this technology in an open-ended way that’s about you having an experience or sharing it with a group of people. It’s this ability to create community. 

An extended version of this interview first appeared in a 2013 issue of C, the member magazine. 


Experience Buckyball for yourself!

Located on Museum Way, Leo Villareal’s Buckyball is illuminated from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. The light display changes from the white-light daytime sequence to a vibrantly colored evening sequence shortly after dark. Come sit underneath it and enjoy the show.