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for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn Academy of Music is about to get a whole lot brighter — and it has nothing to do with a fancy new marquee.

Beginning Oct. 2, light sculptor Leo Villareal (pictured) will flip the switch on “Stars,” a creation made specifically for BAM’s main building.

The piece consists of five 10-foot round metal wheels, each containing 48 spokes and 2,880 tiny LED lights. Can’t do the math? That’s 14,400 customized miniature bulbs, enough to make the project visible from the street below.

“The points of light are as small as a grain of rice, but extremely bright,” said Villarea, who is widely known for his twinkling exhibitions in far-flung locales like Korea, China and Buffalo. “It’s very elegant and low profile.”

The lights, which will blink until Dec. 16, were conceived as a way to light up the building from the inside out.

“We wanted to illuminate the building,” said BAM curator David Harper. “But unlike the Museum of Modern Art, we can’t do projections.”

Working inside was fine by Villareal. “I really responded to the arches and geometry of the place,” he said. “Responding and taking cues from what is already there is really important to me.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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