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Exploratorium’s annual light show returns to Pier 15 this week

Exploratorium’s annual light show returns to Pier 15 this week
Photo: Courtesy of Exploratorium
By Matt - Published on November 16, 2022.

Returning for another year, Exploratorium's yearly light art show, GLOW 2022: Discover the Art of Light, returns for the holiday season on November 17 and will showcase works from six participating artists.

It’s turning out to be another great fall for seasonal light displays in San Francisco. The Macy's Christmas Tree is already up in Union Square and will glow until January 3. Entwined, the illuminated LED installation that lights up Peacock Meadow in Golden Gate Park returns for a third time on December 1. But before these massive glowing trees brighten the aforementioned greenspaces, a collection of light installations will radiate as part of Exploratorium’s GLOW: Discover the Art of Light exhibit when it debuts later this week.

 
 
 
 
 
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"We are excited to continue our holiday tradition of showcasing brilliant light installations throughout the museum,” said Kirstin Bach, interim director of arts at the Exploratorium, in a press release about the upcoming exhibit. “This year’s GLOW exhibition brings pieces that spark curiosity, heighten our perception, and stimulate conversation.”

Running until January 29 of next year, three of the artists featured — Jen Lewin, Sally Weber, and Craig Newswanger — will be on site on Thursday, November 17 for the grand opening, alongside a live performance for one of the returning installations, Museum of the Moon, by Luke Jerram.

Lewin's installation, The Last Ocean, is a geometric representation of what an Arctic ice field looks like; Lewin used reclaimed and upcycled ocean plastic to help build her display as a call to action around the climate crisis. The platform’s five-sided pieces, which are installed in the museum’s Gallery 3, explore how a combination of a warming planet and dwindling natural resources needs to be addressed as the emergency it is.

Among the most captivating installations is in the Black Box, where artist Anila Quayyam Agha’s All the Flowers are for Me — a kaleidoscopic motif inspired by Islamic textiles, architecture, and floral patterns — glows outward from within a suspended steel cube. The result is a wall-to-wall creation of immersive patterns that ripple and change as visitors move through the display.

Other exhibit highlights include Entangled, which uses 100 pinpoints of light that appear to be in orbit when museum-goers walk by it, and the blue-hued Enchanted Tree by Burt Libe.

// Exploratorium (Pier 15) will host GLOW: Discover the Art of Light from November 17 to January 29; the exhibition will be open on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for adults; visit exploratorium.edu/exhibits for more information.