Pray it don’t rain! At least not for five minutes—starting at 7:45 sharp—on the night of September 15, when Cai Guo-Qiang’s Light Cycle is scheduled to explode over Central Park. Working with Fireworks by Grucci, this renowned Chinese-born artist plans to pull off astounding feats of pyrotechnics, beginning with pillars of fire shooting skyward from five locations in the park and ending with signal flares creating canopies of white light along the park’s walkways. The high point? A halo, spanning 1,000 feet and made of over 10,000 titanium sparks, will hover above the reservoir. The artist describes the illumination poetically as “an amulet placed over the heart of Manhattan.”
Far better than your standard birthday-candle blowout, the event is sponsored by Creative Time as part of New York City’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Central Park. If the skies stay clear, it will be the perfect opportunity to get a firsthand, if fleeting, look at the work of this 1996 Hugo Boss Prize nominee, who has set off explosions at international biennials around the globe for over a decade. For a more permanent display, check out Cai’s gunpowder drawings at Asia Society through December 14.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 9, 2003