I have studied James Turrell’s work, and seen it in person at the installation in the Guggenheim museum in NYC. As the 3rd paragraph in the NY Times article excerpt below indicates, you are sitting in a very, very dark room waiting for your eyes to adjust. This is the output of the “… one of the greatest living artists”? Go sit in an interior bathroom for 20min and tell me what you see from the light sneaking around the door jam. Hey, now you are one of the greatest living artists too!!
The primary installation in the Guggenheim was a stretch fabric stepped cylindrical thing with LED fixtures shining on it. Pleeeeeeease. My freeking living room often exhibits the same “nuke blue” from LED lights for which Turrell was being praised. Why are people so taken by simple lights hung on custom truss with stretch fabric? Sorry, this is not wonderful artistry. It is brilliant salesmanship.
Want to see Turrell type work? Please send me a commission, or stop by my house sometime and I’ll setup some LEDs in the living room. Please don’t mind the cat box by the front door.
Quoting from the NY Times:
“… James Turrell, the US light sculptor.
Turrell, who must be counted as one of the greatest living artists, is a rare presence in Britain. His work demands three primal givens that are generally in short supply in the contemporary art world: space, time and sky. All three are available at Houghton Hall, where a beautiful mix of old and new pieces results in the pop-up show of the summer.
The Marquess of Cholmondeley has been commissioning work from Turrell since 2000. The first piece to be built here was a Skyspace, one of his mysterious wooden pagodas with rectangles cut in the roof through which you can watch the changing colour of the sky. I’ve seen the heavens turn black in several of these Skyspaces around the world, and can confirm that Houghton Hall’s is the most elegant and best.
Another work permanently on show in the grounds is in an old water tower. To experience it, you need to walk into what appears to be total blackness. Five minutes later, it’s still black. Ten minutes later, still black. Fifteen minutes later, something purple begins looming up before you. Twenty minutes later, you find yourself sitting in front of three Rothko-ish purple fogs. The light hasn’t changed. Your eyes have. ”