“I like to use light as a material, but my medium is actually perception,” said James Turrell (b. 1943). “I want you to sense yourself sensing —to see yourself seeing.” Turrell’s exhibition at the Guggenheim in 2013 was his first solo display in New York City since the 1980’s, and he was ready to catch Manhattan’s eye. In his skyscape titled Aten Reign, the Light and Space artist transformed the museum’s iconic rotunda into an enormous oculus that could only be viewed from the ground floor. The installation emanated the full spectrum of color, hypnotically shifting from hue to hue.
“Aten Reign, a series of suspended oval armatures and sheer scrims that span the entire cavity of the building, is so overwhelming, meditative, beautiful and suited to the space that you actually forget you’re in the Guggenheim, where it’s almost architecturally impossible to do so,” wrote Times Quotidian of the work. Turrell joked that Frank Lloyd Wright might not have approved of this radical alteration of the structure’s design. His revolutionary but ephemeral artistic statement is captured in this large-scale archival pigment print. Like the masterwork it depicts, this 44-by-65-inch piece has its own gravitational pull.
Matthew Szösz and Michael Petry exhibit exquisite glass sculptures in our sister gallery, form & concept. Szösz recently debuted the solo exhibition Minimal Tension, featuring new works from his ongoing series Inflatables and Ropework. The artist calls some of his experiments “material/process investigations” and others “bad ideas.” Either way, the key is to set up novel conditions in the studio, shifting heat, humidity and other variables to see how the glass responds. It’s a winding process—part scientific, part artistic—that has yielded significant treasures
Works from Petry’s installation piece Joshua D’s Wall are currently on display at form & concept. Originally installed in the Palm Springs Art Museum, the work featured a field of 250 hand-blown glass stones that are scattered over the museum floor. Joshua D’s Wall alludes to the Biblical story of Joshua and the crumbling walls of Jericho. Resembling small boulders, these glass stones evoke the earth’s magma and the many colors found therein, as well as Petry’s own artistic impression of the natural environment. An installation view of these works appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s guide to Santa Fe this spring.