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Rendering of Teresita Fernandez’s Paradise Parados. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Teresita Fernández, Leo Villareal, and Hank Willis Thomas to Create Works for the Brooklyn Academy of Music

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has invited three Brooklyn-based artists—Teresita Fernández, Leo Villareal, and Hank Willis Thomas—to make art for its downtown campus. The new commissions are being funded by a $3.5 million gift that the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust made in 2015 in support of BAM’s public art initiative. Some of the works will be installed at BAM Strong, which is what the academy is calling an expansion project—led by architect Mitchell Giurgola—that will unite all of its spaces along Fulton Street.

“Commissioning public art by three artists forging exciting new paths underscores our commitment to the visual arts and celebrates the breadth of our organization,” BAM president Katy Clark said in a statement. “We are delighted to welcome two new pieces by Leo Villareal—whose work with light and digital coding has already brought us his iconic Stars. We look forward to commissioning our first work by Brooklyn resident Teresita Fernández, whose use of materials will provide a signature, interactive work for the new terrace at BAM Strong, as well as our first work by Hank Willis Thomas, an artist with a unique vision and a singular approach to the commission process.”

Fernández’s Paradise Parados, a large sculptural form, will be installed in an outdoor terrace atop BAM’s first dedicated exhibition space for visual art, the Rudin Family Gallery, which occupies a new one-story construction in the formerly empty lot at 623 Fulton Street. Villareal’s LED sculpture Light Matrix will fill the third-story windows of the BAM Fisher, and his large-scale light installation Volume (BAM) will be mounted in the BAM Karen spaces at 300 Ashland Place. Thomas’s work, which will engage with the site’s history, was designed for the rear wall of BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp Building.

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