James Turrell

James Turrell, Sustaining Light, 2007 Wood, computerized neon setting, and glass, 62 ¼ × 46 ½ inches (158.1 × 118.1 cm)© James Turrell

James Turrell, Sustaining Light, 2007

Wood, computerized neon setting, and glass, 62 ¼ × 46 ½ inches (158.1 × 118.1 cm)
© James Turrell


For more than forty-five years, James Turrell has explored the myriad possibilities of using light as a medium of perception. His formally simple works draw attention to the limits of seeing while seeking to expand the wordless thought that they provoke. Throughout these permutations, the light that is normally used to illuminate other things is assigned form and structure, making it the subject of the revelation. Since pursuing studies in perceptual psychology during the 1960s, Turrell has been exploring a variety of perceptual phenomena, ranging from sensory deprivation to intense optical effects. Early works such as Afrum-Proto (1966) and the Mendota Stoppages (1969–1974), which employed planes of light in relation to architecture, became the basis for ongoing investigations. He continues to use light as his primary subject and material, with its inherent allusions to painting and sculpture.

James Turrell was born in 1943 in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. in 1965 from Pomona College, California, and his M.A. in 1973 from Claremont Graduate School, California. Recent solo exhibitions include “Infinite Light,” Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona (2001); Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2001–02); Hausler Kulturemanagement, Munich (2001–02); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (2002); “Light and Land,” Sonoma County Museum, California (2003–04); Kunsthaus Zug, Switzerland (2003–04); Institute Valencia d’Art Modern, Spain (2004–05); “Alta White,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2006); Musee de Grenoble, France (2006); “A Life in Light,” Louise T Blouin Institute, London (2006–07); “The Roden Crater Project by James Turrell,” University IUAV of Venezia, Italy (2007); “Beyond the Light,” Villa and Collection Panza, Italy (2008); Oroom Gallery, Seoul Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (2008, traveled to Musee Shuim, Korea); “The Wolfsburg Project,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2009–10); Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Colorado Springs (2012); Art Academy Museum, Maryland (2013); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2013); “The Light Inside,” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2013); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013); “Gard Blue,” Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence (2013–14); and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2014, traveled to National Gallery of Australia, Canberra).


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