Fans of the Bay Lights, rejoice! and detractors like the Chron's John King, shake your fists in the air for this week, artist Leo Villareal will be camped out on Pier 14 after dark reprogramming and testing the enormous light display ahead of its official re-illumination date on January 30 (which coincides with the kickoff of Super Bowl week). As the Chron and CBS 5 report, this is only a test, and it's unclear what hours Villareal will be keeping as the testing continues this week so you may not want to make a special trip down to the Embarcadero.
As you likely recall, the lights had to come down back in March because of necessary maintenance on the bridge by Caltrans, and per an original two-year agreement that was supposed to be the finite lifespan of the piece. But, much loved as it was, Illuminate the Arts went about putting cash together to reinstall a more robust version of The Bay Lights that could stay up for a decade or more, thanks in part to a $2 million gift by local philanthropist Tad Taube. The new version which like the old includes 25,000 separate LEDs spread across the cables of the 1.8-mile-long western span of the Bay Bridge will be maintained in part through an agreement with Caltrans, and is set to live for 10 to 12 years.
And for those passing through Washington, D.C. this holiday season, you can check out the most recent piece Villareal has been working on. He just completed the installation of a gorgeous dangling light sculpture called Volume that is hanging above the stairway of the historic Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian, where will live until June. It is made up of over 300 twinkling, mirrored steel rods containing a total of 23,000 LEDs.