This Friday, the Empire State Building will be lit up in spectacular fashion: For the first time ever, it will be illuminated by projections of paintings by Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns and several other celebrated artists whose works reside in the Whitney Museum. The occasion, according to New York Times, is two-fold: to celebrate both the museum’s new digs downtown, and to mark the Empire State Building’s 84th anniversary.

Twelve paintings will be reinterpreted into light form, then super-imposed over the building to form a transient public art gallery. Lighting designer Marc Brickman will head the project, one which posed some interesting translation issues — the paintings are, after all, considerably smaller than the projected works, with more vibrant colors. As such, Brickman and others see them as representations of paintings:

“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.”

For those who missed a preview of the show (Brickman tested out the works in the middle of the night last Friday), look out for the light show this coming Friday evening.

(Photo: gigi_nyc)