James Turrell: Sensing Space

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James Turrell, Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light. Temporary site-specific installation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York © James Turrell. Photo: David Heald © SRGF

Lectures & Symposia

James Turrell: Sensing Space

Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

In this half-day symposium, scholars present on topics that cover the range of James Turrell’s work including the nature of perception, conditions of site-specificity, and the philosophy of aesthetics. Individual presentations by Thomas Crow, Miwon Kwon, and Mark Taylor are followed with a conversation moderated by Nat Trotman. The program concludes with an exhibition viewing of James Turrell.

This event is sold out. Standby numbers are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning 30 minutes before the event. Each person is given one number (good for one ticket), and may hold a number for one other person. After ticket-holders have been seated, numbers will be called in order and standby tickets will be sold as space allows. Please contact 212 423 3587 for more information.

Watch a live online broadcast of this program beginning Friday, September 20, 3:30 pm EDT. 



“The Young Turrell: War Resister and Reluctant Artist,” Thomas Crow, New York University
Imbued with the pacifism and an ethic of service he inherited from his Quaker family, James Turrell's early formation as an artist cannot be separated, either aesthetically or practically, from his social activism, which led to him facing federal prosecution.

“Light is Material,” Miwon Kwon, University of California, Los Angeles
A consideration of James Turrell’s practice as less a dematerialization of the art object, as is often said, and more a unique endeavor to materialize light as a confluence of visual, sculptural, and architectural phenomenon.

“Refiguring Vision,” Mark Taylor, Columbia University, New York
A discussion of Turrell’s Roden Crater Project in relation to 19th- and 20th-century philosophy and technologies of perception as well as native American religious rituals. Special attention will be given to the relationship between the work of art and ritual practice.

About the Speakers

Thomas Crow is Provostial Fellow for the Arts and Humanities and the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Previously, he served as Director of the Getty Research Institute and taught at various universities. The recipient of numerous awards, Crow has written extensively on 18th-century French art as well as modern and contemporary American art.

Miwon Kwon is Professor and Chair in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research and writing on contemporary art are informed by her training in architecture and photography and engage other disciplines including public art and urban studies. She is the author of One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity (MIT Press, 2002). In 2012, Kwon cocurated Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Mark Taylor is Chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. A leading thinker on postmodernism, he has written on diverse topics including art, architecture, philosophy, literature, religion, science, financial markets, and education. Taylor has received numerous awards and contributes to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among other periodicals.

Nat Trotman is Associate Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and cocurator of the exhibition James Turrell. Over the past decade he has organized numerous exhibitions for the Guggenheim, including Paweł Athamer: Almech (2011), Found in Translation (2011), and Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance (2010, with Jennifer Blessing). Trotman has worked closely with several artists on site-specific projects for the Guggenheim rotunda and has written extensively on performance, photography, and time-based art.