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Popular Science Explains the Science Behind the Art of James Turrell '65, Who Has Simultaneous Shows at LACMA and the Guggenheim

Ganzfeld Effect Bridget's Bardo, 2009, Installation view at Kunstmuseum Wolfburg, Germany, 2009. (c) James Turrell. Florian Holzherr via LACMA

Ganzfeld Effect Bridget's Bardo, 2009, Installation view at Kunstmuseum Wolfburg, Germany, 2009. (c) James Turrell. Florian Holzherr via LACMA

Popular Science explains "The Mind-Bending Science of James Turrell's Art" in a story posted on Sept. 24. "Turrell, whose solo exhibit at the Guggenheim closes Wednesday, doesn't just play with the way our eyes work; he exploits how our mind processes images to reveal that at a fundamental level, everything we see is an illusion," says writer Shauncy Ferro.

A native of Los Angeles who grew up in Pasadena, California, Turrell studied perceptual psychology at Pomona College receiving his degree in 1965. He earned an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate School in 1973.

In 2007, Pomona became home to the the Turrell Skyspace "Dividing the Light," the only Skyspace open to public viewing in Southern California. Called “one of the best works of public art in recent memory” by the Los Angeles Times at its opening, "Dividing the Light" gathers visitors on benches beneath a canopy that frames a window to the sky. At dusk and dawn a lighting program bathes the canopy in changing colors, from goldenrod to turquoise, altering the viewer’s perception of the sky. One moment it’s a dreamy lavender, another it’s an ominous tablet of black. A shallow pool centered beneath the opening to the sky mirrors the daytime sky and reflects a dark echo of the night sky.

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