A public garden & cultural center

The Lightening: a Project for Wave Hill's Aquatic Garden

April 24 - May 24, 2015

The Lightening: a Project for Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden
On the grounds | April 24-May 24, 2015


Also on view:
Chris Doyle: Landscape Fictions
Glyndor Gallery | April 22-May 31, 2015

Wave Hill presents a spectacular, site-specific installation by acclaimed interdisciplinary artist Chris Doyle, commissioned to honor Wave Hill at 50. The Lightening: a Project for Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden inserts a group of sculptures that radiate animation, light and sound into the garden’s formal structure. Inspired by the Aquatic Garden’s water lilies and reflective surfaces, The Lightening provides an electrifying experience during daylight and at night. Three faceted structures hover over the water, their mirrored surfaces reflecting the garden and pool. As evening approaches, they glow with light and animation inspired by life above the water, its shimmering surface and the life below. Music by composer Jeremy Turner, and performed by members of the renowned Brooklyn Youth Chorus, emanates from each structure, amplifying the immersive effect of the installation.

The remarkable project showcases the intersection between horticulture and art, a significant feature that distinguishes Wave Hill as a public garden and cultural center. The Aquatic Garden was singled out as the site:  the pool offers a reflective surface, while the formality of the surrounding pergolas defines a distinct space for the installation. With the garden landscape coming into its glory in summer, the installation hints at the excitement to come.

The Lightening is part of Night Lights at Wave Hill, a month-long series of rare opportunities for the public to experience the gardens and Palisades at sunset, and visit Glyndor Gallery, The Shop and The Café at Wave Hill.

Concurrently, an accompanying exhibition in Glyndor Gallery, Chris Doyle: Landscape Fictions, showcases three animation projects—Bright Canyon, 2014, which was commissioned by the Times Square Art Alliance,  Apocalypse Management (telling about being one being living), 2009 and Waste_Generation, 2010. The three projects are part of a series inspired by Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire paintings. These works have a strong ecological message and reflect on the anxiety surrounding our current state of the environment.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the installation and exhibition with an essay by Nancy Princenthal; it includes a conversation between Chris Doyle and Jennifer McGregor. It may be pre-ordered in The Shop at Wave Hill.

A limited edition print by Chris Doyle, pictured below, has been created to celebrate Wave Hill at 50. It is available through The Shop at Wave Hill; proceeds support the arts at Wave Hill.

Chris Doyle,
The Lightening, 2015
Digital and silkscreen print
20” x 20”
Edition of 50
Published by Brad Ewing and Erik Hougen, Marginal Editions

$1,000, unframed



Pictured above:
Chris Doyle, The Lightening, 2015. Stills from digital animation. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco.


Watch Chris Doyle's video documentation of The Lightening here.

Click here for Press Release


The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.