Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: James Turrell



John Knuth, Angeles Crest, 2015

Ultimately, it’s about God, or at least a whiff of the divine. And also about not getting shit on your hands.

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Diana Thater

Los Angeles County Museum of Art


In Diana Thater’s survey “The Sympathetic Imagination,” organized by the National Gallery’s Lynne Cooke and LACMA’s Christine Y. Kim and gathering work made between 1992 and the present, the artist floods many of her exhibition spaces with colored light. This technique and its philosophical implications may remind visitors of James Turrell’s use of light in his 2013-14 LACMA retrospective. Color is fundamentally illusory;  it is humans who make the sky blue, thanks to the cones in our retinas. Further, in an environment saturated with blue light, every other perceptible color is revealed to be contingent. The absolute purity of nature is impossible, Thater shows; all is culture, or something between nature and culture. Read the rest of this entry »

James Turrell

CAPE HOPE (S. Africa) Elliptical Wide Glass, 2015

CAPE HOPE (S. Africa) Elliptical Wide Glass, 2015


In the Skyspace meeting room at Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery in Los Angeles, James Turrell is telling me about the Antikythera Mechanism. In the spring of 1900, a group of Greek sponge divers discovered the sunken wreck of a Roman cargo ship off an island in southern Greece. Among the coins, jewelry, glass and statuary that they recovered was a corroded hunk of bronze and wood, about a foot in width. An archaeologist at the time suggested it might be an astronomical clock, but its complexity did not fit with its estimated date—a century before Christ. Read the rest of this entry »

James Turrell

James Turrell, Afrum (White), 1966, © James Turrell, photo © Florian Holzherr

“This used to be my studio!” announces James Turrell to the customers of Starbucks in Ocean Park, Santa Monica. The coffee drinkers seem nonplussed. Little do they know that this white-haired, extravagantly bearded figure has a triumvirate of retrospectives this summer at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim Museum, New York, as well as a solo exhibition at LA’s Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery.

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First published: Financial Times, May 24 2013