Turrell’s work shines from coast to coast

If you ask someone, “Did you see the Turrell exhibition?,” then be prepared for a follow-up question: “Which one?” Through the end of summer, one can see the artist’s famous large-scale light installations in three different cities. Three separate and independently curated exhibitions are simultaneously on view at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Each exhibition explores varying facets of Turrell’s work, together providing a comprehensive overview of his career.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
James Turrell: A Retrospective
Through April 6, 2014

Afrum (White), 1966 Cross Corner Projection Los Angeles County Museum of Art, partial gift of Marc and Andrea Glimcher in honor of the appointment of Michael Govan as Chief Executive Officer and Wallis Annenberg Director and purchased with funds provided by David Bohnett and Tom Gregory through the 2008 Collectors Committee, M.2008.60 © James Turrell Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Afrum (White), 1966 Cross Corner Projection Los Angeles County Museum of Art, partial gift of Marc and Andrea Glimcher in honor of the appointment of Michael Govan as Chief Executive Officer and Wallis Annenberg Director and purchased with funds provided by David Bohnett and Tom Gregory through the 2008 Collectors Committee, M.2008.60 © James Turrell Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA.

LACMA offers the first major retrospective survey of Turrell’s nearly five-decade career with approximately 50 works on display in 33,000 square feet of space. Works on view include geometric light projections from early in his career; installations exploring sensory deprivation; the Roden Crater project, an ongoing site-specific installation outside Flagstaff, Arizona; and more recent two-dimensional holograms. The retrospective will later travel to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Key Lime, 1994. Wedgework: fluorescent and LED light into space with fiber-optic light. Dimensions variable. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Renvy Graves PIttman, M. 2013.3. James Turrell. Photo Florian Holzherr.

Key Lime, 1994. Wedgework: fluorescent and LED light into space with fiber-optic light. Dimensions variable. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Renvy Graves PIttman, M. 2013.3. © James Turrell. Photo © Florian Holzherr.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)
James Turrell: The Light Inside
Through September 22, 2013

James Turrell, The Light Inside, 1999, neon and ambient light, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum commission, gift of Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson. © James Turrell, Courtesy MFAH

James Turrell, The Light Inside, 1999, neon and ambient light, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum commission, gift of Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson. © James Turrell, Courtesy MFAH.

The MFAH exhibition is titled after one of the museum’s permanent installations by Turrell, The Light Inside (1999). Several of the seven installations, which are entirely drawn from MFAH holdings, are being made accessible to the public for the first time. The majority of the exhibition is installed in the 22,000 square-foot galleries of the museum’s Brown Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The works “allow viewers to test the limits of their perception.” Also on view is Turrell’s Mapping Spaces portfolio and other works on paper related to the Roden Crater project.

James Turrell, Site Plan Roden Crater, 1990, photo-emulsion, wax acrylic, and tushe on Mylar, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, The Manfred Heiting Collection. © James Turrell, Courtesy MFAH

James Turrell, Site Plan Roden Crater, 1990, photo-emulsion, wax acrylic, and tushe on Mylar, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, The Manfred Heiting Collection. © James Turrell, Courtesy MFAH.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
James Turrell
Through September 25, 2013

Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable. © James Turrell. Installation view: James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable. © James Turrell. Installation view: James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

So much of Turrell’s work is site-specific, and the Guggenheim’s exhibition highlights this focus in his practice. The museum’s famous rotunda has been illuminated with natural and artificial light that constantly shifts, making for one of its more dramatic transformations to date. This new project, titled Aten Reign (2013), re-imagines the rotunda as one of Turrell’s Skyspaces, referencing the Roden Crater project. Other works by Turrell are on display in the museum’s Annex Level galleries.

Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable. © James Turrell. Installation view: James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable. © James Turrell. Installation view: James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

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