Tuesday, July 30, 2013

James Turrell at the Guggenheim

When I first experienced a James Turrell exhibition in Chelsea in 2004 it captured my imagination immediately.  I'd never experienced anything like it, so when I heard of his show at the Guggenheim I hit it up.  If you are a New Yorker you have no excuse, you must go and see this for yourself even if you know nothing about contemporary art.  

Experiencing James Turrell's art is a spiritual experience.  His terrific blend of aesthetic and science creates art that is similar to the beauty and power of the natural world.  Just like Andrew Goldsworthy, James Turrell has an incredible talent for making art that is selfless and profound, simple and awesome.

The main attraction of this exhibition is his Aten Reign.  It's a surreal experience especially if you're familiar with the interior of the Guggenheim.  At once he both desecrates the architecture and honors it.  This tunnel of light completely alters the interior yet adroitly reflects it's unique form... It's kind of like he destroyed the space in a kind of sacrifice only to re-create it in a purer form of its original self.  As a side note, while gazing upward at the changing light I couldn't help but to think of Georgia O'Keeffe's abstract flower paintings... 

The other works that James Turrell is showing at the Guggenheim are very special.  His drawings possess an inner glow that I've never seen before, his projected rectangles of light are striking in their simplicity and the illusion of space they manifest, and in darkness the rectangular cutout in the wall of the upper gallery recalls to mind the starkness and ascetic space of the The Rothko Chapel.  His work at the Guggenheim is sublime, conceptual, challenging, and diverse.  Go experience it!

Here is his biography...

Born in Los Angeles in 1943 to a Quaker mother and a father who was a school administrator, James Turrell attended Pomona College, where his studies concentrated on psychology and mathematics. He later received a master’s degree in Art from Claremont Graduate School. Turrell’s work has been widely acclaimed and exhibited since his first showing at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967, which established him a leader in the nascent Light and Space movement

1 comment:

  1. I heard this was really great -- I've gotta get up there soon. I only saw one of his in person -- in D.C. and it totally changed my feeling on his work -- must see in person.