James Pelletier: NIGHT/LIGHT

About the Exhibition

James Pelletier’s awesome light sculpture NIGHT/LIGHT is the major event in New York City celebrating the centennial of Thomas Edison’s great invention. Pelletier’s work emblazes the eastern faces of a dozen Lower Manhattan skyscrapers from 8-11pm on October 20th, the eve of the centenary.

With the lights of each building and their night stages—the windows—as his canvas, Pelletier (b.1951, Jaffrey, NH) composed striking geometric patterns of light, using the proximity of the skyscrapers and the reflecting surface of the East River to create a new kind of urban vista, both spectacular and peaceful.

The 28-year-old New Hampshire-born artist has created NIGHT/LIGHT to be viewed optimally from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

Buildings participating in the three-hour salute to Edison and his miraculous legacy of electricity are the Chase Manhattan Bank, American Express Building, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, Chemical Bank, 77 Water Street Building, Citibank, 120 Wall Street Building, Wall Street Plaza, 160 Water Street Building, 130 John Street Building, 127 John Street Building, and 55 Water Street Building.

“It’s art by subtraction,” Pelletier says. “You start by gauging the potential of all those windows—sometimes as many as 1000—then the realities of each building set in. It’s a classic case of form following function. The project has generated its own energy and excitement from the beginning because there is something seductive and mysterious about light that we can all respond to. Electric light is the poetry of modern technology, and NIGHT/LIGHT is as much about peace and meditation as it is about spectacle.”



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