James Turrell's art installation turns Guggenheim Museum into 'skyspace'

Site-specific project, Aten Reign, will fill the volume of the rotunda with shifting displays of natural and artificial light.

May 24, 2013 |

James Turrell, an artist whose projects are more properly defined as "light sculptures," will have a major installation at the Guggenheim Museum this summer, turning Frank Lloyd Wright's famed serpentine atrium into a show of shifting colors and textures. The site-specific project, Aten Reign, will run from June 21 to September 25, and will fill the volume of the rotunda with morphing displays of natural and artificial light. According to museum PR, the installation will be characterized by "intense, modulating color, creating a dynamic perceptual experience that exposes the materiality of light."

Daylight will enter from the oculus and will light a massive assembly suspended from the ceiling, incorporating a series of interlocking cones lined with LED fixtures. Five elliptical rings of light will echo the museum's ramps.

The museum's Annex Level galleries will contain other Turrell projects during the course of the exhibition, which is offered in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. According to Turrell, the project is also related to the Roden Crater project, which has been under construction near Flagstaff, Ariz., since 1979. The artist hopes to turn a natural volcanic crater into an open-air observatory; like the Guggenheim project, the plan involves the theme of a circular space with an opening to the sky.


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