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Dazzling ‘Robolights’ installation takes over Detroit’s MOCAD

Originally conceived in 1986 as seasonal holiday light display

DETROIT – A new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is sure to light up your day.

Robolights Detroit is a spectacular new site-specific installation created for the lawn of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead at MOCAD by artist Kenny Irwin, Jr., the mastermind behind the masterpiece known as Robolights – the wildly popular sci-fi themed art installation of epic proportions located in Palm Springs, California.

In Robolights Detroit, visitors are invited to wander along pathways inside of a dazzling carnival filled with sculptures of towering robots, dinosaurs, alien spacecraft, and fantastical creatures from the future, all painted in a wondrous array of vivid colors and wrapped up in thousands of lights. A companion exhibition featuring sci-fi themed pen and ink drawings by Irwin will take place inside of the Mobile Homestead. Both exhibitions are accompanied by a book of photographs of the original Robolights in Palm Springs by Julie Reyes Taubman, the late founding member of MOCAD.

Watch Alex Atwell’s Uniquely Detroit feature story in the video player above.

The original Robolights was constructed by Irwin over the course of thirty-three years on the grounds of his childhood home in Palm Springs, California. Originally conceived in 1986 as a seasonal holiday light display, Irwin felt compelled to continue working on Robolights year-round and across decades.

By 2018, having hosted 60,000 visitors between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, with an installation spanning four acres and including 8 million lights, it was clear that Robolights was outgrowing the residential neighborhood it had long inhabited.

More info on the exhibition here from MOCAD. Running October 25, 2019 – May 3, 2020.

Robolights at MOCAD.

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