James Turrell’s Light Reignfall at LACMA

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If you had the chance to experience Light Reignfall, James Turrell’s Perceptual Cell at LACMA then you are most likely familiar with the two viewing modes that are presented to you before entering the cell, labeled as: “hard” and “soft.” If you have not been to LACMA and have no idea what Turrell’s Peceptual Cell is and/or looks like, note the image at the top of this post. Light Reignfall is a work you enter while lying on your back (in a position one may assume while getting an MRI) to view a sequence of lights and sounds while inside a spherical cell structure. The viewing options “hard” and “soft” refer to the different light sequences that one can experience while in the cell. Only one mode plays at a time. Each viewer must make a decision. I went against my natural tendencies and opted for the “hard” mode which includes more pulsing strobes of light, more flashing psychedelic patterns and more of an outer body experience then the “soft” mode which is said to be more of a primal experience. The viewer is more likely to turn inward while experiencing single, formless colors of sustained light during the “soft” viewing … read more

James Turrell Retrospective at the Guggenheim

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It is a super hot day in New York City. We are all sweating. Even those people who don’t look like they are sweating are sweating. Luckily there are no lines to enter the James Turrell exhibition at the Guggenheim this Wednesday. I easily walk in one of only two accessible entryways to the museum left open (by Turrell’s design I presume). All other entryways are blocked off so to limit the natural light that can enter the museum. I imagine having only two open entryways is a logistical nightmare for the museum staff and museum visitors most days of the week.   I buy my ticket at the $22 price tag and I somehow don’t entirely mind the double-digit cultural expense. I feel grateful for my day organized around this trip to see Turrell’s work. Though it is hard to stomach that Bangladesh garment factory workers make $15 more then this ticket price for a month’s worth of work. I recognize this uneasy feeling in my stomach and still hand over my plastic card and the numbers get transferred.   I enter the infamous Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda, which at this point in my collective art viewing experience is getting … read more

James Turrell Retrospective at LACMA

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I recently went and saw James Turrell’s retrospective at LACMA. The exhibition in total was…immersive and stimulating, and a slowing reminder of the power of perception. When it comes to personal realities I like to remind myself that the words “reality” and “illusion” can be synonymous and perception of course is central to being able to experience any so-called reality. Turrell’s retrospective takes you deep within the workings and sensory experience of perceived light. The writing below attempts to share with you the reality my perception created when I experienced a few of Turrell’s more affective works. Also included is a personal antidote recalling a pilgrimage to Roden Crater in 2002.   I was first pricked then slowed by an unusual piece within a new series of Turrell’s Holographic series. Strangely these pieces are the only Turrell works that have the appearance of seeming “dated” (although they are literally some of his most recent works in the exhibition). The first piece situated amongst a set of three holograms (behind a wall in small side-gallery gallery in the LACMA exhibition) is a large wall piece about five feet tall and 3 and a half feet wide with a warm glowing circle/sphere … read more