Pictorial> Illuminate SF setting San Francisco aglow

Architecture, Art, Lighting, On View, Urbanism, West
Thursday, November 20, 2014
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Flaming Lotus Girls, SoMa (Jason Chinn)

Flaming Lotus Girls, SoMa (Jason Chinn)

For the second year, San Francisco Travel (the city’s marketing organization) is organizing Illuminate SF, a two-month series of light art installations around the metropolis. This year’s version, taking place now through the end of the year, features 16 glowing pieces—11 of them permanent—including works by James Turrell, Ned Kahn,Vito Acconci, and James Carpenter. Many are integrated into San Francisco buildings, such as Morphosis’ San Francisco Federal Building, KMD’s SF Public Utilities Commission, the grain elevator at Pier 92, and various terminals at SFO. Cities like Cleveland and New York have held similar festivals in recent years.

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Architects of Air Build Inflatable Cathedrals of Psychadelic Space

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

To build an inhabitable luminaire you need little more than colored plastic sheeting and an air compressor and the ability to expose said construction to natural light. The finished products are far greater than the sum of the parts, producing results that seem to suggest a series of more elaborately ornamented James Turrell installations. They are the brainchildren of Architects of Air (AoA), a British company that has erected temporary luminaires throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

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James Turrell Exhibit Opens Friday at the Guggenheim

East
Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Aten Reign, James Turrell's largest museum installation ever, fills the rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. (David Held/Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

Aten Reign, James Turrell’s largest museum installation ever, fills the rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. (David Held/Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It’s a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim’s interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim’s fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience.

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James Turrell Captures a Slice of the Vast Texas Sky with Twilight Epiphany Pavilion

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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(Courtesy Rice University)

(Courtesy Rice University)

For many, work by American artist James Turrell is instantly recognizable. Using light and basic geometric forms as the material of his compositions, Turrell subtly alters space and perception for visitors, creating weight and depth through visual experience that evokes meditation and contemplation.

Turrell’s work is at its height when gazing skyward. Multiple iterations of his Skyspace series have appeared around the world framing a dramatic slice of the heavens in his pristine geometry. The work is, essentially, a skylight: an opening above a room or pavilion for viewing the sky above, but to reduce the work to its function would disregard the transformative power of a simple yet moving experience. In each installation, a confined aperture begins to decontextualize the sky, featuring the color and texture of what is seen as an element of the art.

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