“In the 1960s, by manipulating light rather than paint or sculptural material, James Turrell introduced an art that was not an object but an experience in perception. It examined the very nature of seeing. Over the next half century, Turrell has become known not only for his light projections and installations but especially for his continued work for more than three decades on his Roden Crater project—the conversion of a natural volcanic crater on the edge of the Painted Desert in northern Arizona into one of the most ambitious artworks ever envisioned by a single artist.”
It epitomizes a fusion of ancient and modern forms. It’s huge in size, but antimonumental in its relentless horizontality and its sinuous, continuous curves. It’s also unphotographable and impossible to capture in its totality. It has to be experienced in time and space — over time, and distance.
Today L.A. may be home to the most important concentration of contemporary artists in the world. Only time will tell, but with proper patronage and institutional focus, we could be living in a great time and place for art to be made–like New York in the 1950s and 60s, Paris or Vienna around the turn of the twentieth century, or even the cities of the Italian Renaissance.
– Michael Govan, Director of LACMA, to me in my email inbox.