NEW MOON: first phase

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NEW MOON Curatorial Statement

Written by Becky Alley, Curator of the Lexington Art League

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The moon is a mysterious, seductive, and powerful entity. It draws the tides and eclipses the sun, and yet, perhaps by virtue of its relationship with night and darkness, the moon is an intimate celestial body – she casts her silver light as if for each dreamer individually. NEW MOON explores the whimsical and alluring nature of the moon, drawing on the familiarity of moonlight to all people. The moon becomes an allegory for the human fascination with exploration, adventure, and new frontiers, while also gently implicating the darker side of progress: humanities mortal terror of the infinite and unattainable expanses of outer space. When the sculpture is complete, viewers will be able to manipulate the phases of NEW MOON, becoming time-travelers, individually altering time and space to meet, if only briefly, together in the moonlight.

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On January 25, 2014, NEW MOON was officially unveiled to the public at the Lexington Art League’s Luminosity Art Ball. A fancy-dress event, tuxedos and ball-gowns glimmered in the moonlight. Audiences were well behaved (despite the open bar) and bands played an assortment of dance numbers. The event was nice, clean and fancy, and while this vibe was presumably very different from NEW MOON’s final destination in Triangle Park (a public green-space in downtown Lexington), it was a good old-fashioned party nonetheless.

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In this early version of NEW MOON, the phases (and faces) of the moon change in relation to the viewer’s perspective as they circle the sculpture from below. When the sculpture is finalized and installed in downtown Lexington, viewers will be invited to animate the light on the surface of the structure via a large wheel on the platform of the piece.

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The fourth in our series of light sculptures utilizing re-appropriated domestic light bulbs, NEW MOON was created from approximately 5,500 burnt out incandescent bulbs. While the brightness of the sculpture is enchanting, for us as artists, the real epiphany of working on this sculpture came from recognizing the incredible value of darkness in relation to a work characterized by light. This is a topic we will revisit time and again as we hone the sculpture for longer-term installation.

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The Luminosity Ball offered a luxury we seldom experience: a chance to test an installation before it’s viewed by wider audiences. For party-goers, the Ball allowed them a chance to preview the piece and intimately engage with it in a way than won’t be possible in Triangle Park. When the interactive version of NEW MOON is revealed on February 21st, even the same viewers will find new layers to touch and explore.

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We would like to thank the brilliant people who made NEW MOON happen: the tremendous Lexington Art League team (Becky Atkinson Alley, Kelly Karbowicz, Stephanie Harris, Candace Chaney, Michael Andrews, and Colleen Merrill); our radical and oh-so-fancy BCTC power-force (Shawn Gannon, William James Posey Jr., Jay Hawkins, Rose McCallum, Fishhook, Kendra, Matthew, and more!); the lovely and abundant interns (Rebecca, Katie, Rachel, Amy, and all the rest!); Mother Gorilla and the legions of people who collected thousands of burnt out light bulbs on our behalf; and the many moony-eyed folks we’re forgetting (including the ones behind the scenes) thank you for all your awesomeness, enthusiasm and help.

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