Skip to Main Content

Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series: Leo Villareal

Leo Villareal, artist, in conversation with Molly Donovan, associate curator, department of modern art, National Gallery of Art. Born in 1967 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Leo Villareal began experimenting with light, sound, and video while studying set design and sculpture at Yale University, where he received his BA. He earned his Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in the design of new media, computational media, and embedded computing from New York University’s pioneering interactive telecommunications program at the Tisch School of the Arts. There he also learned the programming skills that enable him to push LED (light-emitting diode) technology far past familiar commercial applications. Since the 1960s, a growing number of artworks have exploited light to frame and create spaces in the built environment. While Villareal’s art acknowledges this influence, his concepts relate more closely to the instructional wall drawings of Sol LeWitt and the systems-based paintings of Peter Halley. Villareal’s work is represented in the Gallery’s collection by Multiverse, one of his largest and most complex light sculptures. As part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series held at the National Gallery of Art on May 7, 2016, Leo Villareal and Molly Donovan discuss his site-specific commissions throughout the world since the installation of Multiverse in 2008.