Leo Villareal (American, b.1967) is an installation artist who was born in Albuquerque, NM, in 1967. He is best known for his use of LEDs and computer-driven technology in creating light sculptures. He attended Yale University and received a BA in Sculpture in 1990. He went on to New York University and attended the Tisch School of the Arts, earning a graduate degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program.

In 2008, his largest installation, Multiverse, was completed at the National Gallery of Art. It features around 41,000 LED nodes that run through the Concourse walkway between the East and West Buildings. At the end of 2012, The Bay Lights will be completed. It is a light sculpture that will honor the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, CA, and will stay up for two years. He has had solo exhibitions at the Finesilver Gallery in San Antonio, TX, in 2003, the Galeria Javier Lopez in Madrid, Spain, in 2005, the Gering and Lopez Gallery in New York in 2007, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in 2008, and the San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, CA, in 2010. Group exhibitions he has participated in include Exposure: The Future of Film Festival for USA Network and Scifi Channel in New York in 2000, Optical Optimism at the Galerie Simone Stern in New Orleans, LA, in 2002, Fiction Love-Ultra New Visions in Contemporary Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2004, Backdrop at Bloomberg SPACE in London, England, in 2006, That Was Then...This is Now at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, NY, in 2008, and Contemplating the Void at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2010.

Villareal’s work can be found in collections at the Borusan Music House in Istanbul, Turkey, the Time Warner Center in New York, the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is represented by Gering and Lopez Gallery in New York and by Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C. Villareal currently lives and works in New York.

Timeline

1967
Born in Albuquerque, NM
Lives and works in New York City
1990
Yale University, B.A.
1994
New York University, M.P.S.
Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)

Exhibitions

2010
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (solo)
2010
Gering & López Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2009
Galería Javier López, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2008
Conner Contemporary, Washington, DC (solo)
2008
That Was Then… This is Now, P.S.1/MoMA, New York, NY
2007
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY (site-specific commission)
2007
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (site-specific commission)
2007
Digital Stories, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC), Santiago, Spain
2007
Gering & López Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2006
Conner Contemporary, Washington, DC (solo)
2006
Lightworks, Galería Javier López, Madrid, Spain
2006
Backdrop, Bloomberg SPACE, London, England
2006
All Digital, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH
2006
Summer Light, Sandra Gering Gallery, New York, NY
2006
Art in America, Arario Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2006
Perry Capital, New York, NY (site-specific commission)
2005
Visual Music 1905-2005, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
2005
Albright-Knox Museum of Art, Buffalo, NY (site-specific commission)
2005
Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid (solo)
2005
Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2004
Sandra Gering Gallery, NY (solo)
2004
Conner Contemporary, Washington, DC (solo)
2004
Fiction.Love-Ultra New Vision in Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei
2004
Editions Fawbush: A Selection, Sandra Gering Gallery, NY
2004
Summer group show, Sandra Gering Gallery, NY
2004
Optimo, The Ballroom, Marfa, TX
2004
Innovate, Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2004
Collector’s Cabinet, Mark Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA curated by Simon Watson
2003–2004
GSA Art-in-Architecture project, new federal courthouse by architect Antoine Predock, El Paso, TX
2003
Supercluster, PS1, Long Island City, NY
2003
Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, France
2003
High Desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, CA organized by Andrea Zittel
2003
Winter Light, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY
2003
In the Gloaming, The Fields Sculpture Park, Ghent, NY
2003
LED as Primary Material, Woodstreet Galleries, Pittsburgh, PA
2003
Finesilver Gallery, San Antonio, TX (solo)
2002
Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC (solo)
2002
Sandra Gering Gallery, New York (solo)
2002
The Next Perfect 10, Galerie Simone Stern, New Orleans, LA
2001
Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM), Mexico City
2001
Tirana Biennale, Tirana (curated by Miltos Manetas)
2001
Moby tour, various U.S. locations, summer 2001
2001
Casino 2001, curated by Jeannie Greenberg, Stedelijk Museum Voor
2001
Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium
2001
Eye Candy, Scott White Contemporary, La Jolla Museum, CA
2001
Synth, organized by Leo Villareal, White Columns, New York
2001
Massless Medium: Explorations in Sensory Immersion, Creative Time in The Anchorage, Brooklyn, NY
2001
The Next Perfect 10, Sandra Gering Gallery, New York (traveling)
2001
Perfect 10: Ten Years in Soho, Sandra Gering Gallery, New York
2001
rooms_for_listening, CCAC Institute, San Francisco, CA
2001
Collector’s Choice, Exit Art, New York
2001
City of Lights, curated by Simon Watson & Downtown Arts Projects, Hermes Boutique, New York
2001
Exposure: The Future of Film Festival, USA Network & Scifi Channel, New York
2001
The Bunker Project, MTV, New York
2001
Camp Sleizure, Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, NE
1998
Mind Probe, interactive game show, USA Network, Scifi Channel, New York
1997
Thread Waxing Space, New York

Literature

Dannat, Adrian. “Synthesiser’s synthetic synthesis,” Artist’s Interview with Leo Villareal, The Art Newspaper, July-August 2001.
Griffin, Tim. “Synth,” Time Out New York, Issue 302, July 5-12, 2001.
Smith, Roberta. “Massless Medium, Explorations in Sensory Immersion,” The New York Times, Friday, July 20, 2001.
Pratt, Kevin. “Massless Medium, Explorations in Sensory Immersion,” Time Out New York, Issue 303, July 12-19, 2001.
Shelburne, Philip. “Rooms for Listening,” Frieze, January-February, 2001.
Johnson, Ken. “Collector’s Choice, Exit Art,” The New York Times, Friday, December 15, 2000.
“Collector’s Choice, Exit Art,” The New York Times, Friday, December 15, 2000.
Baker, Kenneth. “Stop, Look and Listen, Rooms for Listening,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 9, 2000.
Berk, Amy. “Rooms for Listening,” at CCAC,” Artweek, November 2000.
Breslin, Ramsay Bell. “Rooms for Listening,” East Bay Press, October 13, 2000.
Helfland, Glen. “Sonic Boom, 2000 is the Year of Sound Art,” SF Gate, October 13, 2000.
Pandicio, Richard. “Ones to Watch,” Interview, November 1999.