James Turrell

As you may have seen in my last post, I was at Rice recently to see the amazing “Unwoven Light” exhibit. Prepping for the trip that morning I was poring over the Rice campus map on Google maps, trying to decide if I should park right by the Gallery or park further away and give myself a little campus tour, and I noticed a notation that said “James Turrell’s ‘Twilight Epiphany’ Skyspace“. Pulled that up online to have a look, and it turned out to be more artistic beauty, mere steps from the Rice Gallery!

Here it is “at rest” during the day.



And at night.


My friend and I went back Friday night and enjoyed the light show, which consists of very slow and deliberate color changes projected on the inside of the white roof. It starts out very slow, and more than one person could be overheard muttering – “Do you think this is a psychological experiment? They want to see how long we’ll sit here and look at Nothing?!” But start it does, and before long the colors are sliding in and out of one another, changing not only the white roof, but also the slice of sky that can be seen between the roof and walls. They don’t let you take any photos during it, so as not to interfere with the lights, and I’m not doing a stellar job describing it, but you can see an official video here:

Though it is almost certainly one of those things best experienced in person, with a warm night breeze caressing your face. The way the pavilion was designed keeps the interior relatively pleasant even during the hottest summer months – marble benches, lots of shade, great ventilation.

I briefly toyed with the idea of returning to see the sunrise show the following morning, but 5:56am comes early, and my friend lives 30 miles NW of Rice, so that will have to happen on a future trip.

Another thing I did on Friday just before embarking was pull up the MFAH website and see if there were any irresistible exhibitions I should stop and see Saturday morning before heading out of town.


There were indeed, and I noted down a few different small photo and print exhibitions I wanted to check out:
Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop (I think of it as “Yin”…)
After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age (…and “Yang”)
Playing with Process: Explorations in Experimental Printmaking

Then, lo and behold, I scrolled a little further right and came to this.
James Turrell: The Light Inside

Isn’t synchronicity a glorious, cosmic joke? I never heard of this guy or his work, and now I have the chance to see an outdoor installation and a retrospective, all in 24 hours! Luckily I found the reference before leaving Austin, because this exhibition required a reservation to enter (since it’s limited to a small number of viewers at any time), and if I had just run across it once at MFAH, I wouldn’t have been able to get in!


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