5.21.2006

Turrell at UIC

From a friend who keeps her ear to the wire, news that there is a new skyspace up at UIC. Both the UIC campus and James Turrell are on my lists of Favorites (different lists, same notebook), so I can't wait to check it out.

Those of us at the University of Washington in the early 2000s had the chance to see and walk through a number of Turrell's installations, and a skyspace was constructed there circa 2003:


(.jpg from henryart.org

If you don't know Turrell's work, you don't have far to go to catch up to those of us who do: he's an environmental artist who works with light. A lot of his projects are inside, but he does work outside, too, including this crater (read: light observatory) he's working on.

"Uh, yeah, I'm working on a crater."

For fellow Midwesters/Midwesterners (I'm entirely unsure which term to use), there's this nice Turrell at the Indianapolis Museum of Art; what at first appears to be a gray rectangle on the far wall turns out to be a separate space behind the wall: what appears gray is simply diminished light back behind the false wall. I guess his work is a little bit about illusion, but not nearly as much as it's about glow, brightness/dimness, and color (in subtle transition).


Jennifer Price, writing about the Nature Company, says she wants this from her readers:
I'll be very pleased if readers ask a few new questions about their encounters with nature in everyday life—Where did this table come from? Why are all the Nature Company stores in glitzy upscale malls? Why are nature shows on the Discovery Channel so slow, with low-voiced male narrators and lots of flute music? Why do the trains in this park go to these places? Has this river always been straight? In sum, I'll be pleased if they question anything about their encounters with nature that they've taken for granted ...

Turrell insists on this kind of questioning, too—and that the new skyspace is on the UIC campus makes perfect sense given the dedication, on that campus, to art in interactive public space. Coming from a campus that is not urban, not very diverse, and seems to me more concerned with preservation than innovation in public space, I feel a kind of rejuvenating re- or dis-orientation every time I stroll around the UIC campus. Now with the skyspace, that rejuvenation will be twofold.

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