James Turrell

Studio – Flagstaff, AZ
James Turrell, Bridget’s Bardo, 2009

James Turrell, Bridget’s Bardo, 2009. © James Turrell. Photo: Florian Holzherr

“My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you can confront that space and plumb it. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into a fire."

Portrait of James Turrell. © James Turrell. Photo: Florian Holzherr

Beginning in the 1960s, James Turrell’s work is primarily an exploration of light and space. By making light the subject of the revelation, Turrell’s work challenges the very nature of how and what is perceived and, in particular, how what is perceived affects and forms the reality lived. One part meditative and another confounding, Turrell’s works heighten the viewer’s very sense of seeing and place the viewer in a realm of experience.

Residing in Flagstaff, Turrell is working on Roden Crater, an artwork of unprecedented scale within a volcanic cinder cone in the Painted Desert region of Northern Arizona. Representing the culmination of the artist’s lifelong research in the field of human visual and psychological perception, Roden Crater is Turrell’s magnum opus. It is a work that, in addition to being a monument to land art, functions as a naked-eye observatory of celestial and planetary events.

Turrell’s work has been exhibited in art institutions across the world, including solo shows at MASS MoCA, Massachusetts (2021-25); Fundación Jumex, Mexico City (2020); Asia Society, Hong Kong (2019); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013); Museum Frieder Burda, Baden Baden (2018); the Long Museum, Shanghai (2017); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2013, 2016); the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1983, 2014); the National Gallery of Art, Canberra (2014); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1980) and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1976). Recently, Turrell received a major commission to present his new installation AKHU (2021) at Superblue Miami’s inaugural exhibition ‘Every Wall is a Door’.

Turrell is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1984); the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture (2007); the National Medal of Arts (2013) and the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale Award for Sculpture (2021).