Architecture and Design

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

There's no more construction fencing around the installation by Arizona-based artist James Turrell on ASU's Tempe Campus, and if you have a minute to spare around sunset or sunrise, you're going to want to spend it on one of the benches inside.

The structure was designed and built by Turrell along with Phoenix-based architect Will Bruder, who designed Burton Barr Library, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Nevada Museum of Art (to name a few).

ASU representatives say more information, including a name, will be released about the installation "soon" and that the official unveiling will be in October. The site, at Rural and Terrace roads (just off the ASU Lightrail stop) doesn't have any signage, but finding it is fairly easy. Just look for the glowing light.

Turrell's work relies on light and environment. His series of "skyspace" installations (including the Knight Rise at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art) capture and frame the natural light and create a constantly changing visual experience for the audience.

His skyspace in Tempe is a slight departure, in that Turrell relies both on the light of the sky and on man-made light and color reflected on the large-scale frame that's suspended by a metal structure surrounding the installation. The colors change periodically and the best time to sit and watch the show is half an hour before sunrise and/or sunset, when the color of the sky and the color of Turrell's frame change most dramatically.

Turrell's other big, current (and ongoing since the 70s) project is in the Roden Crater in Northern Arizona, where he has reshaped the a volcanic crater into what he calls a "celestial vaulting." The visual experience of the audience inside of the crater is a dome-like appearance of the sky rather than the flat horizon. The crater is not open to the public, though Turrell has taken a few small private parties into the space to see what he's been working on.

We'll post more information about Turrell's latest work as soon as it's released by ASU. In the meantime, take the trip and watch the show.

(more photos after the jump ...)

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton