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Bēhance

  • For a sense of scale, note the herd of cattle grazing just above the grid.                 Click on image to enlarge.
     
    LUMINOUS EARTH GRID (total area = 8 football fields)                     
    Solano County, California
    © Stuart Williams 1993. All rights reserved.
     
    Luminous Earth Grid, an array of 1,680 energy-efficient fluorescent lamps, swept over an area equal to 8 football fields, 50 miles north of San Francisco. Said the artist, “I see the project as a poetic statement on the potential harmony between technology and nature.” Over a five year period, Williams launched a rigorous fund raising campaign throughout Northern California, and raised nearly $500,000 to realize the massive project. It was widely acclaimed by critics around the globe and drew tens of thousands of visitors.
     
    Cosponsored by: 
    The New York Foundation for the Arts & Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
     
    Major Funders & Contributors:
    LEF Foundation, St. Helena, CA; Rene and Veronica Di Rosa Foundation, Napa, CA; Sylvania; Pacific Gas & Electric; Express Lighting Supply; CC Electric; Calistoga Mineral Water; Anheuser Busch; The Cockayne Fund, New York City & Louisville, Kentucky.
     
    “It is unquestionably the most ambitious work of environmental art in the San Francisco Bay Area since Christo’s Running Fence. It is a joyful thing.” 
    — Allen Temko, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, San Francisco Chronicle
     
     
    All photos © Craig Collins unless otherwise noted.
  • Said Williams, “The glowing green grid can be seen as an icon of computer imaging technology, which in this ‘real life,’ incarnation, gently melds with the flowing shape of a lovely landscape... a dream-like vision of symbiotic unity.”
  • “It emanates a sense of the romantic sublime with its aura of surprise and wonder. It is a very, very beautiful thing. I think people are very lucky to have a chance to see such a fine work of art.”
    — Peter Selz, former curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Detail photo with two student volunteers from UC Davis. An installation crew of more than 200 individuals helped fabricate and install the project.
  • “Our emotional connection to an increasingly technologically dominated life would not be addressed by most artists until years later. This makes the Luminous Earth Grid, by American artist Stuart Williams, all the more remarkable.”  — iGNANT, Berlin
  • Detail photo taken at sunset.
  • Detail photo with a herd of cattle grazing just above the grid.
  • “A fusion of nature, technology and art”…
    — Peter Selz, former curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Detail with two student volunteers from UC Davis.
  • 1,700 waterproof, flexible electrical connectors are prepared, which will link the massive array of fluorescent tubes end on end. The connectors must provide protection from rain, and also allow the linear array of 4 foot tubes to bend and incrementally match the roll of the terrain. Photo © Stuart Williams.
  • 3 miles of PVC conduit, cut into 4 foot lengths, and awaiting transport to the project site. Photo © Stuart Williams.
  • Tens of thousands of pounds of steel hardware, electrical cable, ballasts and energy-efficient lamps had to be trucked to the site. Many dozens of truck loads later, the lengthy on-site installation work commenced. On-site installation took one month. Photo © Stuart Williams.
  • 12 miles of electrical wiring were required to facilitate the installation. In addition, a 6-ton extension cable was strung down the mountainside and hooked into existing power lines along the freeway to bring power to the grid. That solid copper cable — the diameter of a man's forearm — was valued at $50,000, and was loaned to the project by the U.S. Naval Shipyards in Vallejo, California. Photo © Stuart Williams.
  • Three dedicated members of the installation crew. 20,000 person hours of labor were required for off-site pre-fabrication, on-site installation, and de-installation. All materials were reclaimed or recycled. Photo © Stuart Williams.
  • As the grid neared completion, the three lead electricians and the artist gathered for a photo.
    Photo © Nancy Bronstein.
  • A San Francisco television news crew visits the site to interview the artist, and takes him aloft for a bird's-eye view of the project site, just before the opening day. Photo © Stan Golovich.
  • Read a review in Art in America.
    Click on the icon above, or click here.
  • Read a recent interview with the artist by a writer in Berlin (iGNANT).
    (Interview is in English)
    Click on icon above, or click here.
  • Artist's initial concept sketch (#1), done in Los Angeles in 1982
  • Artist's initial concept sketch (#2), done in Los Angeles in 1982