Light and space artist James Turrell '65 is in the spotlight

Pomona College Magazine, "The Summer of Turrell" by Suzanne Muchnic

The master of light and space delivered the remark with a smile. “I have a business of selling blue sky and colored air,” James Turrell ’65 told a group of arts reporters after they had previewed his long-awaited retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. But if he counts exhibitions as sales, business is extraordinarily good this year. While Dividing the Light, Turrell’s Skyspace at Pomona College, continues to attract students, alumni and visitors to Draper Courtyard, celebrations of his work are popping up from coast to coast.

The centerpiece of the “Turrell festival,” as LACMA director Michael Govan calls it, is a trio of major museum exhibitions in Los Angeles, Houston and New York. LACMA’s James Turrell: A Retrospective is a five-decade survey, composed of 56 works, including sculptures, prints, drawings, watercolors, photographs and installations. “This is the largest exhibition of works by this artist assembled anywhere at any time,” Govan says. And it will have an unusually long, 10-month run (ending April 6, 2014), so that the expected thousands of visitors can experience the artist’s mind-bending installations as he wishes—slowly, silently, and singly or in small groups. As the museum director reminds guests, “The slower you go, the more you get.”