James Turrell to Receive National Medal of Arts

Congrats to James Turrell.
Congrats to James Turrell.
Florian Holzherr

It looks like some pretty big congrats are in order for one of Arizona's own. On Tuesday, July 22, The National Endowment for the Arts announced that President Barack Obama would be awarding the National Medals of Arts as well as the National Humanities Medals on Monday, July 28, to a select group of artists throughout the United States, including Flagstaff-based artist James Turrell.

See also: James Turrell's Latest Skyspace Now Open to the Public in Tempe

Turrell, who first began his artistic career in the early 1960s in California, has spent the last 50 years building a body of work that transforms perception through an innovative manipulation of light and space.

He made his first mark on Arizona in 1974 with the reconstruction of the Roden Crater near Flagstaff (a project that he continues to work on to this day), and has since gone on to create solo exhibitions, permanent installations, and his signature skyspaces throughout the world, including two well-known Valley installations: Air Apparent near ASU in Tempe and Knight Rise at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Turrell has already received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Katherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Art, and a Smithsonian Archives of American Art Medal. He will receive the 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Obama on Monday, July 28, at 3 p.m. ET at a White House ceremony to be attended by First Lady Michelle Obama and live streamed at

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Air Apparent

850 S. McAllister Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

7374 E. Second St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251


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