New Art Installation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

An art installation hanging above the Foundation campus comes alive at night

Seen in Daylight, the new art installation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation might easily be mistaken for an oddly placed safety net. But when night falls, it becomes an immense, iridescent jellyfish hovering above the campus and shifting in the breeze. Unveiled in February, “Impatient Optimist” is an aerial net sculpture (120 feet long, 80 feet wide, 40 feet deep) created by Massachusetts-based artist Janet Echelman, who knows her way around a giant net—she’s installed similarly stunning works across the globe, including at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.

The ephemeral artwork is suspended between two buildings and composed of ultra-lightweight polyester fibers, which in the evening capture colored LED lighting projected from below. “The sculpture is a physical manifestation of connectedness,” Echelman says. It has particular relevance to the setting, she says, because “the number of knots alludes to the notion that the work of a single foundation member can affect a million lives.” Free and open to the public at all times. 500 Fifth Ave.


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