Tag Archives: Site-specific art

LA Holiday: James Turrell Retrospective at LACMA…

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It’s been a looooooooooong time since I have had anything worth while to blog about. School has kept me INSANELY busy and I haven’t really had the chance to engage in any creative or artistic pursuits since moving to Eugene… so, I am really glad that I went back to Los Angeles to see my father for holiday!

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I have a school mate who is interested in James Turrell (a major artist of the 1960s/1970s Light and Space movement) so I wanted to make sure that I got in to see his retrospective that is on exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) so I could report back. Obviously, Turrell has produced a monumental amount of work, what I didn’t know (mostly because my head is always stuck in Medieval Byzantium) is how scientific Turrell’s work is– it’s on a completely different level then where my mind naturally operates, and because of that, I find Turrell FASCINATING.

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Sooooo…. technically, I was not allowed to take pictures…. but what kind of Art Historian would I be if I didn’t sneak a few? 😉 It’s all for educational purposes anyway… The exhibition was separated into two parts, housed in two separate spaces at LACMA. Part one (BCAM, level 2) basically traced Turrell’s artistic evolution chronologically, starting with his early geometric light projections, prints and drawings, and then moving to the installations that challenge and explore the sense (specifically sight) with what seems to be unmodulated fields of colored light as well as his recent works that incorporate holograms.

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Part two (Reznik Pavilion) is then devoted to the Turrell’s magnum opus Roden Crater, a “site-specific intervention into the landscape just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, presented through models, plans, photographs, and films.” (LACMA website) Turrell has been working on Roden Crater for 40 out of the 50 years of his professional career. AMAZING.

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Turrell’s Breathing Light was a complete trip!! You walk up stairs into this space that is just filled with light front front to back and lose all sense of space and depth… I had a weird moment where I thought to myself, “This must be what Heaven feels like…” It was as if I was floating in the space… totally weird and amazing.

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[top: James Turrell, Raemar Pink White, 1969, Shallow Space, Collection of Art & Research, Las Vegas, Installation view at Griffin Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA, 2004]

[Bottom:  James Turrell, Breathing Light, 2013, LED light into space, Los Angeles County Museum of Art]

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I HIGHLY recommend this retrospective. Dear, Lord. YES. GO. Make sure you buy tickets in advance though… or good luck getting in. I ended up purchasing a membership for $30, which somehow got me a ticket to Turrell and to Calder’s show even though both were sold out… it ends up being cheaper to buy a membership than to buy a general admission ticket and also  tickets to the special exhibitions separately…. ENJOY!