A Tribute for Turning Light Into Art: James Turrell
“Light is this thing we usually use to illuminate other things,” said the artist James Turrell, who first considered the presence of a beam of light cast from a slide projector during art history class at Pomona College in the early 1960s. “I’m interested that light has thingness itself, so it’s not something that reveals something about other things you’re looking at, but it becomes a revelation in itself.”
After graduating in 1965 with a degree in perceptual psychology and concentrated studies in art, math and astronomy, Mr. Turrell created his first light projection — what appears to be a solid cube of light floating in the corner of a darkened room that then dissolves into immateriality as you approach it. The work was included in Mr. Turrell’s solo museum exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum in California in 1967, which later that year also showed experimental light works by Robert Irwin and Doug Wheeler, beginning what came to be called the Light and Space Movement in Los Angeles.
“Turrell was the first artist who really stated unequivocally that you can liberate light from its source and make it the artwork,” said Alison de Lima Greene, curator of contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her museum is joining with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York in coordinated, successive Turrell exhibitions beginning in May, offering an unusual opportunity to experience his immersive light environments that allow viewers to “see ourselves see,” as he puts it
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Written by: Hilarie M Sheets
Source: New York Times