The Empire State Building—the apple of our apple, the diamond of our city, the second best-looking skyscraper we have—is often lit up for some dumb occasion, like a Yankees win or Christmas day. On Friday, however, art will be the star as the building is illuminated with works from the new Whitney Museum.

This is cool! A first-time thing for the Empire State Building, the “show” will coincide with the opening day of the new Whitney Museum as well as the building’s 84th anniversary. There will be twelve “representations” of artworks displayed on the building in a seemingly complicated—but impressive!—art show of sorts. Via The New York Times:

The new system can be programmed to change colors by itself, no plastic lenses necessary. But conveying paintings on that scale? A painting is paint on canvas. This is light on limestone.

“This is not meant to be a reproduction; it’s meant to be representational,” said Anthony E. Malkin, the chairman and chief executive of Empire State Realty Trust, which owns and operates the building. “This is performance art.”

“It’s using the color palette” of the paintings, Mr. Malkin said. “It’s trying to convey the sense of what the artists presented.”

Marc Brickman, the lighting designer behind the project, has worked with Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen. His latest production with the non-human Empire State Building will be enabled by the building’s new LED lighting system, one that can “generate 16 million colors.”

The Whitney sent Mr. Brickman high-resolution images of some of the paintings, and there was a test of what he had in mind. A “virtual representation,” Ms. De Salvo called it — images on a computer screen, not on the building itself. “It didn’t happen in the middle of the night and you missed it,” she said.

But there was a run-through in the middle of the night last Friday. Photographers who documented it captured an extravaganza that was more of a light show than a gallery show.

A cool event in New York City that we can all look forward to. Everyone take pictures!

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