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James Turrell's Roden Crater and Autonomous Structures on view at Pace Gallery
James Turrell, Craignour. Cast, plaster and wood, 30" x 33-5/16" x 33-5/16" (76.2 cm x 84.6 cm x 84.6 cm)© James Turrell, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo by: Kerry Ryan McFate / Courtesy Pace Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Pace presents an exhibition of work by James Turrell in anticipation of his unprecedented three-venue museum exhibition on view concurrently at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this spring. Known for his work with light and visual perception, Turrell is among the most influential artists of the past fifty years. He has been represented by Pace since 2002. This is the gallery’s fifth exhibition of his work.

James Turrell: Roden Crater and Autonomous Structures is on view at 32 East 57th Street from March 15 through April 20.

The exhibition focuses on the Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in the Painted Desert of Northern Arizona that Turrell has been transforming into a monumental work of art since the 1970s. One of the most ambitious projects ever envisioned by an artist, Turrell’s masterwork will convert the inner cone of the 400,000-year-old crater into a massive naked-eye observatory, designed specifically for viewing and experiencing skylight, solar, and celestial phenomena. Pace presents bronze and plaster models of spaces within the crater, as well as photographs of the project by Turrell, including the first known aerial photo of the Roden Crater, taken from the artist’s plane.

The exhibition also features fiffeen Autonomous Structures, freestanding chambers designed for experiencing visual phenomena and connecting visitors with the movements of the cosmos. As Turrell explains, “Autonomous Structures are just containers for the light; the art is in the experience of the viewer.” Made between 1989 and 2010, the models evolved from spaces Turrell built and designed within the Roden Crater and, like the crater’s chambers, contain Skypaces (apertures to the sky carved into an enclosed space) or Ganzfeld pieces (unmodulated field of light that dissolve architectural space). Influenced by the design of ancient observatories, including Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids, the structures are simultaneously ancient and futuristic. Though most of the Autonomous Structures are unrealized, four of the models on view have been built, including Light Reign (2003) for the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. In 2012, the Autonomous Structures Twilight Epiphany was realized at Rice University in Houston.

James Turrell (b. 1943, Los Angeles) attended Pomona College, where his studies concentrated on psychology and mathematics. Since 1966, he has created art works made primarily out of light. In 1973 he received a Master's degree in Art from Claremont Graduate School. His work is represented in international public collections including the Tate Modern, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum, New York; Chichu Art Museum, Naoshima Island, Japan; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The James Turrell Museum opened in Colomé, Argentina in 2009. His solo exhibitions include Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1976); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1980); Israel Museum (1982); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984); MAK, Vienna (1998–99); Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh (2002–03); and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2009–10). In 2011, Pace and the Garage Center for Contemporary Art organized a major retrospective of Turrell’s work in Moscow.

In May and June 2013, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York will concurrently present three separate exhibitions highlighting the achievements of James Turrell. Independently curated by each presenting institution, the three simultaneous and complementary exhibitions together offer a full sense of Turrell’s oeuvre, and explore different facets of his five-decade career. Audiences at all three exhibitions will be able to see and experience an unprecedented range of his work—from a retrospective in Los Angeles, to work from the extensive permanent collection and commissions in Houston, to a monumental site-specific installation in New York. The LACMA exhibition will be on view from May 26 – April 4; the MFAH exhibition from June 9 – September 22; and the Guggenheim exhibition from June 21– September 25.

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