James Turrell Author:Carmen Giménez, Nat Trotman, Arthur Zajonc, James Turrell Manipulating light as a sculptor molds clay, James Turrell creates works that directly amplify perception. Unlike pictorial art that replicates visual experience through mimetic illusion, Turrell's light works-one cannot call these shimmering events "objects" or "images"-give form to light. Each installation activates a heightened sensory awaren... more »ess that promotes discovery: what seems to be a lustrous, suspended cube is actually the conjunction of two flat panels of projected light; a rectangle of radiant color hovering in front of a wall is really a deep, illuminated depression in the space; a velvety black square on the ceiling is a portal to the night sky. With such effects, Turrell hopes to coax the viewer into a state of self-reflexivity in which one can see oneself seeing. This publication accompanies the exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York-Turrell's first museum exhibition in the city since 1980-which is co-organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, who will also be hosting site-specific shows. At its core is a major new project that recasts the Guggenheim rotunda as an enormous volume filled with shifting artificial and natural light. One of the most dramatic transformations of the museum ever conceived, the installation reimagines Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic architecture as one of Turrell's Skyspaces, referencing in particular his magnum opus at Roden Crater. Other works from throughout the artist's career are reproduced and discussed, offering a complement and counterpoint to the new work in the rotunda.
As an undergraduate, James Turrell (born 1943) studied psychology and mathematics, transitioning to art at MFA level. A practicing Quaker, one of his earliest memories is of his grandmother inviting him to "go inside and greet the light" at Quaker meetings. The recipient of several prestigious awards such as Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, Turrell lives in Arizona.« less