Posts tagged with "James Turrell":

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Gropius Bau exhibition promises a great deal but delivers small pleasures

The exhibition Immersive Spaces Since the 1960s (Welt Ohne Außen) at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau promises a great deal but delivers only a few small pleasures. The gallery suggests it will show “a wide range of art forms and disciplines that mark a transition from object to spatial situation.” But if you go to the Gropius Bau expecting to see a survey of immersive environments you will be disappointed. Curated by Thomas Oberender and Tino Sehgal, it does include two California light, surface, and space experiments by Larry Bell and Doug Wheeler, along with a precedent-setting installation by Lucio Fontana and Nanda Vega. These sparse servings set up the real reason for the show: to act as precedents for installations by Sehgal. Further, the show posits that immersive environments have usually operated within a format of an “almost opposed modality: the exhibition.” But there it is in the Martin without any attempt to move outside the museum. The venue excludes outdoor experiments like Dan Graham’s mirrored pavilions let alone a James Turrell in situ light room. Sadly, the Gropius Bau’s walled spaces do not allow for any casual flow or unknown engagement with a work. With super-efficient Gropius Bau guards placed in front of the installation rooms there is little chance to even walk unprepared into an installation. In fact, the sort of immersive light rooms featured in the show require a museum exhibition space with sealed off perimeter walls. This not to say that there are not small pleasures to be gained in this exhibit, like Isabel Lewis and Dambi Kim’s tasty and fragrant Tea Room “live work” scheduled through the run of the show. The opening presented only a few of the live performances or workshops that will take place at the Martin, and perhaps these small discreet ‘happenings’ will enliven the show, just don’t expect anything approaching a complete or scholarly examination of the topic. The exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau runs through August 5.
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A James Turrell “Skyspace” pavilion will land at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

A permanent James Turrell pavilion will be coming to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, although critics initially raised questions of its appropriateness, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The City of Philadelphia's Historical Commission approved the installation of the modern pavilion last month, paving a spot for the artist to build on an iconic rocky outcrop behind the museum. The pavilion is being built with Philadelphia-based KSK Architects and is a part of Turrell’s Skyspace series. Every Skyspace varies, but they all feature a proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling and computerized light installations that are meant to evoke meditation and contemplation.

This new pavilion will be a free-standing structure with an opening in the canopy for a framed view of the sky. A twice-daily show at sunrise and sunset with colored lights will be projected onto the underside of the canopy. There are already two other pavilions on the outcrop, and Turrell’s will be the third—a modern, 21st-century piece. It is being paid for by an anonymous donor and is only the second commission the museum has installed (the first being Sol Lewitt’s garden composition).

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the pavilion was initially denounced as an “alien spaceship” by one Historical Commission member; a National Park Service official also warned that it could ruin the iconic landscape. (The site overlooks the historic Fairmount Water Works.) After several changes, including blending the canopy more into its environment and obscuring the lights, the pavilion gained approval from both commissions.

Despite initial objections, Dan McCoubrey, head of the commission’s Architectural Committee, said that “it’s a very logical place for a pavilion,” as reported in Plan Philly. “It’s a pavilion that’s contemporary in style. We have a rustic pavilion, a neoclassical pavilion, and now a wonderful contemporary pavilion.”

Inga Saffron's article in the Inquirer pointed out that while the museum did get approval from the Art and Historical Commissions, there was little public engagement process for the pavilion. 

There are more than 80 Skyspace installations across the world, including Turrell's first Philadelphian one in the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. There is no set timeline for the project yet.

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James Turrell rooms, a 15-ton Louise Bourgeois sculpture, and many site-specific works feature in MASS MoCA expansion

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is about to become the largest museum of contemporary art in America. Sitting at the heart of downtown North Adams, the sprawling museum inhabits a hodgepodge of 26 structures, all former 19th-century factory buildings, and the largest of which has just completed renovation. When it opens, Building 6 will add 150,000 square feet to the museum’s already impressive capacity, almost doubling it in size. The building boasts almost an acre per floor plate and is wedged at the convergence of the Hoosic River, making it an odd triangular shape. The point of the triangle marks the end of the museum and is highlighted with a newly-created double-height wall of west-facing windows looking out at the surrounding mountains. With such a large amount of ground to cover, the design team at Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Bruner/Cott & Associates decided to treat the space as a landscape, with artist-dedicated rooms and two-story volumes punctuating the relentlessly horizontal space, according to lead designer and Principal Jason Forney. Altogether, Building 6 brings MASS MoCA’s total gallery square footage to 250,000 square feet, of which 40,000 square feet of space is dedicated to the performing arts. (Performing arts makes up about 50 percent of the museum’s programming.) With new event spaces and an expanded back-of-house in Building 6, the museum is now more equipped to cater to their summer music festival crowds and provide artists with more workshop space to realize their art. As the latest addition comes together, teams of fabricators and curators are working to realize some of the complex site-specific works that will soon call MASS MoCA home. In the exhibit of works by James Turrell, whose pieces require large volumes of space, a team of nineteen people has been working since December. Because Turrell uses light and color fields, it was important for him to provide visitors with moments of visual quiet to help their eyes adjust between the different atmospheres, which he was able to coordinate with the design team. Where Turrell required volume and circulation, MASS MoCA's new Louise Bourgeois artwork required beefing up the already hardy structure. The museum will host several of her marble sculptures, one of which weighs 15 tons. In order accommodate these pieces, a new concrete structure and steel fillers were added, and a hole was cut into the side of the building to crane the sculptures into place. It may sound like a lot of gymnastics, but as Director Joseph C. Thompson put it, it’s what Mass MoCA was designed to do. It is also what makes MASS MoCA such a unique art-viewing experience. Where most museums are washed in white, painstakingly designed to maximize lighting and minimize distractions, Building 6 is well-worn, dominated by relentless columns and flooded with natural light from its hundreds of windows. It is unmistakably an old mill and yet, somehow, it works. “The buildings, as you can see, are almost painfully beautiful, but they’re tough. They’re rugged, vernacular, raw, American industrial buildings,” said Thompson. “So the work we show here can either stand up to that or it looks beautiful in juxtaposition to that.” The building’s ‘rugged’ and ‘raw’ aesthetic is preserved, but not without a few alterations. Columns were removed where necessary and replaced with “ghosts,” or wooden caps in the floor. New steel columns were placed to bear the burden of their ‘ghosted’ brethren and were painted with white fire-protectant paint, standing in stark contrast to their weathered wooden neighbors. Rather than disguise the alterations to preserve the building’s character, each intrusion was highlighted as a visual index of the building’s new life. “I think you can be too tentative and have too much respect for the old when it doesn’t deserve it,” said Forney. “This building was altered and changed to accommodate whatever operation it had going so we started to see this as just a continuation of all the changes that had happened over time. It was about preserving this living museum instead of preserving each wall or each window.” The new space promises to be an intriguing precedent for future museums and, if nothing else, will be a great place to get your steps in walking the almost four miles of galleries. MASS MoCA will open Building 6 on May 28 and will house works from James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, Gunnar Schonbeck, and many others. For more information about the museum and to visit the new space, visit MASS MoCA’s website here.
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James Turrell’s “Meeting” re-opens at MoMA PS1

After a three-year restoration and renovation, James Turrell’s Meeting re-opened at MoMA PS1 just last Saturday, October 8. The oculus, carved out of the ceiling, was originally commissioned in 1976, completed in 1980, and modified through 1986, ultimately becoming a prototype for a series of what the artist calls ‘Skyscapes,’ which invite viewers to gaze up at an unobstructed view of the sky. The re-opening at MoMA PS1 will feature a modulated lighting program at sunset, utilizing LED lights that gradually brighten and dim to contrast the sky in transition. The LED fixtures, common in Turrell’s more recent works, are controlled by a computer program that automatically aligns the sequence to the setting of the sun as it shifts throughout the year. He has also maintained the original tungsten bulbs for its stark yellow tones, according to a press release from MoMA PS1. The Museum of Modern Art acquired Meeting as a gift from Mark and Lauren Booth, who provided major support for the ongoing restoration and renovation processes in honor of the 40th anniversary of MoMA PS1. Turrell was involved intimately in the project’s revival, which included the repair of weather-related deterioration and components of a mechanical roof that covers the work when it is not open for viewing. Turrell also designed more durable teak wood seating to replace the original plywood, according to The New York Times. MoMA PS1 will be hosting a series of twenty after-hours sunset viewings for Meeting which require a free advanced ticket through November 5, 2015. Beginning on November 6, the program will fall within regular museum hours.
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Lautner’s Sheats Goldstein Residence has been gifted to LACMA

James Goldstein has donated his landmark house, located on Angelo View Drive, Los Angeles, and designed by prolific West Coast architect John Lautner to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In addition, the dwellings contents and surrounding estate has also been included in the donation. In Pop-Culture, the house is most widely recognized for its appearance in the film The Big Lebowski. The dwelling commonly known as the Sheats Goldstein Residence includes an "infinity tennis court" (best not to hit it out of bounds), a James Turrell Skyspace, entertainment complex, and an extensive array of landscaped tropical gardens. Included as part of the contents of the house will be architectural models of the house, artistic works, and a 1961 Rolls Royce (pictured below). "Over the course of many meetings with Michael Govan, I was very impressed with his appreciation for the history of the house and the role it has played in the cultural life of Los Angeles, as well as with his vision for continuing that tradition when the house becomes an important part of LACMA's collections," Goldstein said. "Hopefully, my gift will serve as a catalyst to encourage others to do the same to preserve and keep alive Los Angeles’s architectural gems for future generations.” https://vimeo.com/30456390 "Great architecture is as powerful an inspiration as any artwork, and LACMA is honored to care for, maintain, and preserve this house, as well as to enhance access to this great resource for architecture students, scholars, and the public," said LACMA CEO Michael Govan in a press release. "We are excited to collaborate with other arts institutions on events that speak to Jim’s interests and that connect and reach across creative disciplines—architecture, film, fashion, and art." The residence represents the unique relationship Goldstein and Lautner shared for more than three decades. Originally constructed in 1963 for Helen and Paul Sheats, Goldstein purchased the house in 1972 and began working closely with Lautner in 1979. Together they modified the house "according to Lautner’s and Goldstein’s ultimate vision," replacing all the glass to amplify the disparity between indoor and outdoor space. Other alterations saw the introduction of bespoke minimalist concrete seating (the seats we see "The Dude" aka Jeff Bridges sit on in The Big Lebowski), as well as glass and wood furnishings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShUhcBroF5Y The James Turrell Skyspace, named Above Horizon was added in 2004 and rises above the property's tropical gardens. Above Horizon also links to other works by Turrell in the LACMA domain, such as Ganzfeld Breathing Light, and the Perceptual Cell Light Reignfall.
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The Rockwell Group gets in touch with their emotions at the pop-up Museum of Feelings

Usually, strong smells wafting from the Hudson River are bad news. This time, though, there's nothing to worry about: household fragrance maker Glade has partnered with the Rockwell Group to create a pop-up branding exercise on the waterfront outside of Brookfield Place. The Museum of Feelings ask visitors to reflect on how the senses, especially smell, contribute to emotion. It's like raving with James Turrell at the Yankee Candle factory outlet store—plus crystals. Like a groovy mood ring, a board on the exterior of the museum changes colors to reflect the current mood of the city. Rage triggers like the weather forecast, stock market indices, and flight delays are tracked in real time. The "mood" is translated into color and light. On opening day, the colors, pale blue and deep purple, indicated calm. This being New York City, one wonders whether "calm" is a proxy for "low-level resentment and deep-seated apathy," a more ambiguous emotion that often masquerades as serenity.  Inside, feelings are compartmentalized into five zones, each themed with a different emotion and corresponding scent. The first room, Feel Optimistic, is inspired by the soon-to-be-released Radiant Berries fragrance. Before entering the room passageway of hanging cloth panels, staff members hand out reflective (and scented) cards that trigger and reflect bursts of pink and blue light reflected off of strategically placed interior crystals. Ambient music, not dissimilar to Music for Airports, is intensified or diminished as visitors enter or leave the space. The "Balsam & Fir" room invites you to Feel Joyful. The hanging LED light forest invites comparisons to Yayoi Kusama's installations. The strands emit a piney scent when touched, and it's impossible not to touch. According to a museum staff member, Blue Odyssey, the "marine scent" of the next room, is designed to invigorate. Upon entering the space, an oscillating LED halo encircles the floor around each visitor. The halo moves with its owner, vibrating as subwoofers beneath the floor thump with a bass-heavy beat. Visitors can swap halos by jumping into someone else's halo. The scent in this, and other rooms, was released through wall-mounted scent diffusers that resemble tissue under a microscope. "Feel Exhilarated" is a kaleidoscope of floor-to-ceiling video screens that project patterned peony and cherry blossoms, the base of the room's fragrance. Touch screens arranged around a central panel allow visitors to manipulate the floral patterns. One visitor remarked, "if you stare at the ceiling long enough, you feel nauseous, in a good way!" After exhilaration comes calm. "Lavender & Vanilla" fragrance permeates a candy purple and pink space. The powerful fog machine creates a sight radius of approximately three feet, giving visitors ample opportunity to bump into one another or trip over small children rolling on the heavily carpeted floor. What museum would be complete without a gift shop? The "retail lounge" gives visitors the opportunity to buy small and large Glade candles. The true treat, however, is the "MoodLens." Visitors place their hand on a sensor connected to a large screen and camera. The sensor allegedly reads emotion and generates a "mood selfie" based on that emotion. The selfie is printed out (for free!) on scratch-and-sniff paper that matches the emotion. Selfies are uploaded to the museum's website to create an archive of feelings. The Museum of Feelings is open through December 15th.
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Aarhus Bling: James Turrell working with Schmidt Hammer Lassen to design ARoS Art Museum Expansion

While the world has been discussing how much Drake’s “Hotline Bling” music video borrowed from James Turrell’s installations (Hint: a lot*), ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark announced that the artist is collaborating with Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen on the museum’s new expansion. “The Next Level” expansion project will contain a 12,900-square-foot subterranean gallery and two semi-subterranean art installations, The Sphere and The Dome. Intended to “bring the museum into the elite world of modern art museums,” the extension will cost an estimated $32 million. Schmidt Hammer Lassen originally designed the space in the early 2003 and is working with the museum and the artist to retain the building’s original integrity so the expansion will feel seamless and natural. The firm also worked with Olafur Eliasson on Your Rainbow Panorama, which opened last year. “The Next Level project will develop the museum horizontally in contrast to the existing vertical movement and it is exciting to work with the great lines spanning from the river to the square of the Aarhus Music Hall. Our studio is not just designing a new room for a new artwork, we are co-creating the space and the installation simultaneously with James Turrell,” Morten Schmidt, founding partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen said in a press release. It seems that Turrell is having quite the week. In addition to the AroS expansion, it was also reported that Yvette Lee of the Guggenheim and Whitney Museum will be the new director of the Roden Crater in Arizona (The crater’s completion date has still not been released.) Responding to Drake's video set*, Turrell had a few select words. "While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me," wrote Turrell in a statement from his lawyer via Vice, "I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the ‘Hotline Bling' video." If you want to decide for yourself, we recommend watching the music video below and then glancing at a few installations. (If you want to go further down the bizarre rabbit hole, AN has also previously reported rumors from CityLab that “Hotline Bling” is about poor city planning.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxpDa-c-4Mc
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Analysis shows rapper (and urban planning enthusiast?), Drake, loves cities, is really sad about suburban sprawl

Brentin Mock at CityLab has produced an absolutely insane and brilliant interpretation of Drake's 2015 single, "Hotline Bling." It turns out, according to Mock, that Drake is not signaling an appreciation for James Turrell, nor is he sad about an ex-girlfriend. Instead, Mock's line-by-line exegesis reveals that Drake is "sad about poor city planning." Mock suggests that Drake is in anguish because the song's subject, "Kid Suburb," left Baltimore for the suburbs, and her new environment has changed her for the worse. The analysis uses demographic data, cell service maps, commuter tax credits, urban history, and neighborhood rezoning policy to support his conclusion. For instance, take this excerpt from "Hotline Bling" and Mock's interpretation:
Ever since I left the city, you/ You got exactly what you asked for/ Running out of pages in your passport.
"When Kid Suburb [the ostensible subject of the song] lived in the city, it couldn’t get a federal grant to save its life," Mock wrote. "Since she left, the city has received 18 Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants totaling roughly $1.8 million, another $5 million in Community Development Block Grants, and about $20 billion in federal low-income housing tax credits worth of funding. (Her county’s council just passed a resolution banning any of those tax credits from being used in any of its jurisdictions, but that’s another story)." Just, wow.
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Pictorial> Illuminate SF setting San Francisco aglow

For the second year, San Francisco Travel (the city's marketing organization) is organizing Illuminate SF, a two-month series of light art installations around the metropolis. This year's version, taking place now through the end of the year, features 16 glowing pieces—11 of them permanent—including works by James Turrell, Ned Kahn,Vito Acconci, and James Carpenter. Many are integrated into San Francisco buildings, such as Morphosis' San Francisco Federal Building, KMD's SF Public Utilities Commission, the grain elevator at Pier 92, and various terminals at SFO. Cities like Cleveland and New York have held similar festivals in recent years. The San Francisco event includes the return of Leo Villareal's Bay Lights, the world's largest LED light sculpture covering the Oakland Bay Bridge's 1.8-mile-long West Span. Soma, by Flaming Lotus Girls, was originally displayed at Burning Man, and will be illuminated every night from sunset until 2:00 a.m. Accompanying events for Illuminate SF include film screenings, art walks, tours, light shows, Christmas Tree lightings, and even parades. Enjoy a slideshow of the phenomenal installations below.  
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Architects of Air Build Inflatable Cathedrals of Psychadelic Space

To build an inhabitable luminaire you need little more than colored plastic sheeting and an air compressor and the ability to expose said construction to natural light. The finished products are far greater than the sum of the parts, producing results that seem to suggest a series of more elaborately ornamented James Turrell installations. They are the brainchildren of Architects of Air (AoA), a British company that has erected temporary luminaires throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. On their website, AoA cites Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals as inspirations behind their structures. While at times they wear these influences on their sleeves (or most often on their walls), at other times they appear capable of producing wholly alien experiences. Outside light filters through custom-made semi-translucent PVC. Each structure's walls are rendered in four colors which are used to produce the variety of hues that bath the interiors. The process is akin to creating a stained glass, a similarity occasionally made quite explicit through confetti-filled design flourishes that evoke cathedral windows. The exteriors of the blob-like structures are generally sheathed in silver and bear a closer resemblance to the traditional bouncy castle. AoA CEO Alan Parkinson first began experimenting with pneumatic sculptures in the 1980s, his first steps in the creation of what would eventually become luminaria. Since 1992, over 2 million visitors in 40 countries have stepped through the inflated doors of AoA's creations. In 2014, 6 different models will be touring in North America, Europe, and Australia.
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James Turrell Exhibit Opens Friday at the Guggenheim

Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It's a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright's famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim's interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim's fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience. In addition to Aten Reign, the exhibition features several of Turrell's older works that focus on light and perception. Afrum I (White) (1967) presents viewers with a glowing white cube that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be simply two intersecting planes. The Single Wall Projection Pado (White) (1967) turns a section of wall into what appears to be a luminous opening to another realm. Litar, one of Turrell's Space Division Constructions, troubles the viewer with a rectangle of uncertain description. Is it a flat panel of color? A foggy void? Or an opening into another chamber? James Turrell runs from June 21, 2013 until September 25, 2013.
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James Turrell Captures a Slice of the Vast Texas Sky with Twilight Epiphany Pavilion

For many, work by American artist James Turrell is instantly recognizable. Using light and basic geometric forms as the material of his compositions, Turrell subtly alters space and perception for visitors, creating weight and depth through visual experience that evokes meditation and contemplation. Turrell's work is at its height when gazing skyward. Multiple iterations of his Skyspace series have appeared around the world framing a dramatic slice of the heavens in his pristine geometry. The work is, essentially, a skylight: an opening above a room or pavilion for viewing the sky above, but to reduce the work to its function would disregard the transformative power of a simple yet moving experience. In each installation, a confined aperture begins to decontextualize the sky, featuring the color and texture of what is seen as an element of the art. A few weeks ago, a new Turrell Skyspace was completed at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The work, entitled Twilight Epiphany, features Turrel's unique understanding of perception while building dramatically upon prior installations. A gently-sloped pyramidal mound carpeted in turf rises from the surrounding courtyard. A knife-edged white square floats above the hill, appearing as a horizontal plane without vertical dimension, into which a square aperture has been cut. From the top edge of the pyramid, LED lights wash the underside of the ceiling plane in color. To receive the full experience of the light compositions, visitors enter the structure from the two opposite sides, either decending down a ramp into an interior void or ascending staircases to sit in a ring around the outside rim of the pyramid. "If you take a photo of the sky in this skyspace, the color you see in the opening is not actually going to show up in your camera because in fact it is not there," Turrell said in a statement. "This is a gentle reminder that because we give the sky its color and then change the color of the sky, we create the reality in which we live." Besides the surreal light shows, Twilight Epiphany has been designed as an acoustics-conscious performance space. Twelve speakers are embedded in the pyramid's interior walls, offering musicians a chance to compose for the unique space, fitting since the pavilion is located alongside the Shepherd School of Music.