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September 05, 2014

Lincoln Center Presents New Artwork Featuring a Virtual World Animated on a Monumental Screen by Artist John Gerrard October 3-December 1, 2014

Visual Art and Exhibitions









September 5, 2014, NEW YORK, NYLincoln Center, in association with Public Art Fund, is presenting a new digital commission, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014, by Irish artist John Gerrard, it was announced today by Jed Bernstein, President, Lincoln Center. The digital simulation displayed on a 28 by 24 foot frameless LED wall re-creates a Nevada solar thermal power plant and surrounding desert landscape in a compelling virtual world that changes in real time throughout the day. Installed on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza from October 3 through December 1, Solar Reserve marks Gerrard’s first major public art work in the U.S., as well as his most ambitious installation to date. The artist was selected by the Lincoln Center Art Committee chaired by Peter Kraus with guidance from Lincoln Center’s Curatorial Advisory Working Group.


Commented Mr. Bernstein, “With its compelling, subtle imagery and sophisticated use of digital technology, John’s work will be of interest not only to visual art fans and casual passers-by, but also to those who follow gaming and environmental technology.  Lincoln Center’s ‘front-yard’ is a terrific location for visitors to explore this free, theatrical work of art.”


Added Mr. Kraus, “With each of these public art installations, we are hoping to provide unique, unexpected ways to engage with Lincoln Center. John’s large-scale combination of technology and artistry superbly fits that bill.”


Public Art Fund is providing curatorial and project management expertise for this Lincoln Center public art installation. Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator, Public Art Fund and a member of the Curatorial Advisory Working Group, noted: “John's hypnotic, gradually unfolding work, adapts the new visual language of digital animation and billboard-scale moving-image display to create a work of art that plays on the border between truth and fiction, nature and culture, mythic forms, and contemporary reality.”


The Work

Displayed on a monumental frameless LED wall on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014 is a computer simulation of an actual power plant known as a solar thermal power tower, surrounded by 10,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight upon it to heat molten salts, essentially forming a thermal battery which is used to generate electricity. Over the course of a 365-day year, the work simulates the actual movements of the sun, moon, and stars across the sky, as they would appear at the Nevada site, with the thousands of mirrors adjusting their positions in real time according to the position of the sun.


This astonishingly real virtual world is meticulously constructed by the artist and a team of modelers and programmers using a sophisticated video game engine. Simultaneously over a 24-hour period the point of view will cycle from ground level to a satellite view every 60 minutes, creating an elaborate choreography among perspectives, 10,000 turning mirrors, and a dramatic interplay of light and shadow. Commuters passing by Lincoln Center on their way to work will see the sun charging the power plant as it rises in Pacific Standard Time, while visitors to evening performances might view a sunset before local Nevada constellations emerge and floodlights illuminate the solar tower at night.

For more information about Solar Reserve, visit:


Artist’s Statement

I have been interested in creating a public artwork for New York for many years, on account of the long history of important public interventions in the city. To place Solar Reserve at Lincoln Center explores the dynamic between a major cultural site and a found solar beacon with reference to the energetic context in which both objects exist.

The piece cannot be consumed as a film might—it is much longer and akin perhaps to a durational performance. The work exists over a 365 day period, and visitors to this installation at Lincoln Center will get to experience two months of it.


About John Gerrard

Gerrard is best known for his commitment to large-scale works that take the form of real-time computer simulations, created in painstaking detail over the course of many months or years. Often exploring geographically isolated locations, as in his work for the 53rd Venice Biennale that featured large-scale projections based on documentation of the agrarian American Great Plains, the works frequently refer to structures of power and networks of energy that have made possible the expansion of human endeavor in the past century.


John Gerrard (b. 1974, Dublin, Ireland) lives and works in Dublin, Ireland and Vienna, Austria. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been presented by Kistefos Museet, Norway (2014); Manchester International Festival, Manchester (2011); Ivorypress, Madrid (2011); Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (2011), Void Gallery, Derry, Ireland (2011); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); Art on the Underground, Canary Wharf Station, London (2009 / 10); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2009); and 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2009). In 2011, Gerrard was commissioned by the Royal Ballet to create Live Fire Exercise (in collaboration with Wayne McGregor), which premiered at The Royal Opera House, London in May 2011 to widespread acclaim.  John Gerrard received a BFA from The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University (1997) and undertook postgraduate studies at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (2000) and Trinity College, Dublin (2001). John Gerrard is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Simon Preston Gallery, New York.



Production Credits for Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014:

Producer: Werner Poetzelberger; Programmer: Helmut Bressler; Modeler (Terrain and landscape): Adam Donovan; Modeler (Facility and Heliostat): Markus Bliem; Project Photographer (US): Travis Hall; Installation Development/Technical Design: Jakob Illera/Inseq Design; Game Engine: Unigine.


Lincoln Center Art Committee and Curatorial Advisory Working Group

The Lincoln Center Art Committee members are: Peter Kraus, Chair; Maria Baibakova; Renee Belfer; Joel S. Ehrenkranz; Eliot Goldman; Audrey Butvay Gruss; Joseph B. Goldsmith; Mimi Hass; David Heller; J. Tomilson Hill; Elliott Jaffe; June Larkin; Betty Levin; Julie Minskoff; Peter Norton; Dana Zucker; Katherine Farley, Chair, Lincoln Center; Jed Bernstein, President, Lincoln Center. The Curatorial Advisory Working Group is comprised of Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation; Nicholas Baume, Director & Chief Curator, Public Art Fund; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem; Christian Rattemeyer, Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art; Scott Rothkopf, Curator and Associate Director of Programs, Whitney Museum of American Art; and Philippe Vergne, Director, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.


Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014 is supported by the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, Richard J. Massey Foundation for the Arts and Sciences and anonymous partner.

Courtesy of Simon Preston, New York and Thomas Dane, London.


Support for Public Art at Lincoln Center is provided by the Public Art Committee, Peter S. Kraus, Chair.


Additional support is provided by The David and Peggy Rockefeller Art Fund. 


MetLife is the National Sponsor of Lincoln Center.


Movado is an Official Sponsor of Lincoln Center.


United Airlines is the Official Airline of Lincoln Center.


WABC-TV is the Official Broadcast Partner of Lincoln Center.


William Hill Estate Winery is the Official Wine of Lincoln Center.


About Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center, the largest performing arts complex in the world, is home to 11 resident organizations representing the highest standards of excellence in symphony, opera, chamber music, theater, dance, film and arts education. Over 5 million people annually visit the 16- acre, 30-venue campus whose resident organizations are: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the School of American Ballet and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  For more information on Lincoln Center, please go to

About Public Art Fund

Public Art Fund brings dynamic contemporary art to a broad audience in New York City by mounting ambitious free exhibitions of international scope and impact that offer the public powerful experiences with art and the urban environment.

Public Art Fund is a non-profit organization supported by contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations and, in part, with funds from government agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. For more information, visit



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Lincoln Center:

Eileen McMahon, 212-875-5391, [email protected]

Dan Tanzilli / Mackie Healy, 646-593-8713, [email protected][email protected]


Public Art Fund:

Kellie Honeycutt, 212-223-7810, [email protected]

Andy Cushman, 212-223-7815, [email protected]

High Resolution Images Return to Top

Gerrard SolarReserve Main Image
Caption: SolarReserve artist research material. Image copyright SolarReserve
Photo Credit: Copyright SolarReserve
Size: 1024x680

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