Friday, 23 July 2010


James Turrell is one of the world's leading artists. His forty year exploration of light enables him to make thought-provoking and beautiful contemporary art works which often have an emotional and uplifting effect on viewers.

Born in 1943 in Los Angeles, James Turrell studied astronomy, psychology, mathematics, fine art and art history at Pomona College, Claremont and the University of California.

His background in aircraft construction and flight navigation, together with a rigorous knowledge of optics, eye physiology and perceptual psychology, have each informed his work over the last four decades.

In 1966, Turrell rented the former Mendota Hotel in Ocean Park, California: sealing the building from the sound and light outside, he experimented with projected light, gradually introducing shafts of moon and sunlight into the spaces. This important period of experimentation and development provided the basis necessary for all subsequent works.

Following his first international solo exhibition aged 33 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Turrell has continued to exhibit in major museums internationally.

In 1984 he was awarded the prestigious 'genius' award - the Katherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, France in 1991; the Friedrich Prize, Germany in 1992; an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London in 2003; and membership of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

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