A Field of Light Is Coming to Manhattan This December

British-Australian artist Bruce Munro’s solar-powered installation combines art, technology, and nature.

A rendering of Bruce Munro's Field of Light, which will be displayed in Manhattan, New York

Bruce Munro’s Field of Light will open on December 15 in Midtown Manhattan.

Courtesy of Rubenstein Public Relations

On December 15, Bruce Munro’s Field of Light will transform nearly seven acres of Manhattan’s East Side from 38th Street to 41st Street on First Avenue. The installation, which consists of 17,000 solar-powered flower-like fiber optic stems lit up in a rainbow of colors, will be in place for one year. The bulbs are designed to subtly change hues over the course of the day.

Munro, a British-Australian artist, is well-known for his expansive light exhibitions, which are usually large scale, immersive, and site specific. His Field of Light installations are perhaps his most famous works, but he’s also created pieces like Water Towers (2011)—constructed out of plastic bottles and fiber optics—at Salisbury Cathedral, and CDSea (2010), which consisted of a literal sea of CDs. He’s done other versions of his Field piece, including a bigger one in Paso Robles, California that is still open to the public. as well as one in Uluru, Australia in 2016.

“It is my hope that the installation will provide visitors with a contemplative environment to decompress, to recharge, and to communicate their feelings and dreams with family, friends, and neighbors,” Munro said in a press release about the upcoming Manhattan installation. “Art is a universal language and light is the ultimate medium.”

Field of Light is sponsored by the Soloviev Foundation, a charitable arm of the Soloviev Group, a developer, which has submitted a proposal to transform the vacant lot into a mixed-use development that it will dub Freedom Plaza. The crowning glory of the property will be a casino, one of three planned for the New York City area—however, the developer is currently vying for a casino license. Earlier in 2023, Soloviev Group revealed its plans to transform the 6.7 acre lot, which will include a human rights museum that will house pieces of the original Berlin Wall, four acres of green space, two residential towers, a 1,200-room hotel, and a subterranean casino.

A rendering of Bruce Munor's Field of Lights in Manhattan, New York

Manhattan’s Field of Lights will be free and open to the public, but timed reservations will be required.

Courtesy of Rubenstein Public Relations

How to plan your visit to the “Field of Light”

Field of Light will be accessible to the public starting Friday, December 15, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. thereafter during the winter season. Timed tickets are now available through the installation’s website and are free of charge, but required in order to visit the interactive work of art. The Field of Light will also be available for visits around the holidays, including on December 24, 26, and 27, as well as New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

If you’re planning a trip around this exhibit, the Whitby Hotel and Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad are both located in Midtown and two of the best hotels in New York City. The Whitby Hotel, which has 86 individually designed rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, is a 25-minute walk from Freedom Plaza. The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, known for being one of the coolest and most luxurious stays in Manhattan, has 250 rooms and is a little over a half hour’s walk from the installation.

This article was originally published in June 2023; it was updated on November 2, 2023, with current information.

Mae Hamilton is a former associate editor at AFAR. She covers all things related to arts, culture, and the beautiful things that make travel so special.
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