James Turrell’s first exhibition in a New York museum since 1980 focuses on the artist’s groundbreaking explorations of perception, light, color, and space, with a special focus on the role of site specificity in his practice. At its core is Aten Reign (2013), a major new project that recasts the Guggenheim rotunda as an enormous volume filled with shifting artificial and natural light.
One of the most dramatic transformations of the museum ever conceived, the installation reimagines Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic architecture—its openness to nature, graceful curves, and magnificent sense of space—as one of Turrell’s Skyspaces, referencing in particular his magnum opus the Roden Crater Project (1979– ).
“For his installation in the Guggenheim’s rotunda, Turrell has essentially created a very elaborate structure that visitors will enter into from below and newly experience the light and air that fills the void of the museum.
The piece is built as a series of cones that proceed through the space, starting about 25 feet above the floor of the museum and proceeding almost to the top of the space. Between the viewer and the daylight, there are five concentric rings of LED fixtures that shine upwards, filling five separate conical chambers with slowly changing light.
Like many of Turrell’s works, the piece is intended to create a contemplative or meditative atmosphere” Nat Trotman (associate Curator of Guggenheim Museum) says.
Other works from throughout the artist’s career will be displayed in the museum’s Annex Level galleries, offering a complement and counterpoint to the new work in the rotunda. This exhibition is curated by Carmen Giménez, Stephen and Nan Swid Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, and Nat Trotman, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
“James Turrell” is organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. June 21 – September 25, 2013