NEW YORK — Apparently, no one ever told the artist Cai Guo-Qiang not to play with fireworks, considering his upcoming project.
Under his orchestration, more than 2,000 smoke shells filled with black dye will sail into the air forming several arches of black smoke stretching across the skyline of Valencia, Spain, on May 22. Dark as it might seem, he has chosen the ominous time of high noon to pay homage to the victims of explosive attacks and to illustrate the heightened threat under which we now live.
Commissioned by the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, “Black Rainbow: Explosion Project for Valencia” will be set off in three stages over Valencia River Park. The Spanish company Pirofantasia is providing the customized pyrotechnics. The first black rainbow will arc as if it were being drawn in the sky. The second rainbow will fan across the sky from one end to the other. Then, three rainbows will be set off consecutively, capping off the 60-second display.
Once he wraps up his work as the curator of the China Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennial, which gets under way on June 12, Guo-Qiang will cast black rainbows above Edinburgh on July 29 and above Beijing some time next year.
Those who can’t hop a flight to Europe next month can check out the East Village-based artist’s work at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., through October. There won’t be any fireworks in “Inopportune,” but there are nine cars suspended in midair and showered with neon lights.