The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
(SMoCA), presents a stunning exhibition of works by visionary artist James Turrell (dubbed the greatest artist of the
21st Century by The London Times). Titled JAMES TURRELL: Infinite Light, the show occupies all seven of the
Turrell describes his work as ...not minimalism and not conceptual work (but) perceptual work... His remarkable
creations isolate light, giving it form, depth and mass. He achieves this by manipulating the properties of light and
of human perception.
Infinite Light at SMoCA includes five of Turrell's room-sized light works, where forms seem to float in the air
and spaces gradually fill with light, as well as Turrell's perceptually-based gallery installation, GasWorks, which
immerses viewers within a sphere of light. At the same time, Scottsdale's new, permanent Turrell-concieved elliptical
Skyspace will make it's public debut.
The exhibition also includes an overview of the artist's Roden Crater Project, tracing its development from
conceptual stage, through structural changes of the Crater's Eye, Sun and Moon Space, East Portal, Alpha Tunnel and
Since the 1970s, Turrell's attention has been consumed by the Roden Crater Project, a mammoth extension of
his perceptually-based artworks. Located in Northern Arizona, Roden Crater is a volcanic crater which has been
reshaped and modified to create celestial vaulting (a phenomenon in which the eye sees the sky as a dome rather
than a flat expanse causing viewers to feel as though they are standing on the edge of the earth). Designed as an
observatory, Roden Crater will also feature a series of tunnels and chambers that provide viewing opportunities
during times of significant celestial events.
In February 2001, the first Skyspace for the new century will open at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary
Art (SMoCA). Siting the work in Arizona was an occasion of celebration as it is the first permanent public work by
Turrell in the state where he resides. The elliptical Skyspace (unnamed at this writing) is pure white, faced with an
opalescent plaster containing bits of seashells. Installed within the museumís sculpture court, the Skyspace is set
against a striking glass Scrim Wall designed by James Carpenter.
Carpenter's Scrim Wall fills the space with prisms of colored light which play off of the Skyspace's exterior. The
structure and site plan were created by SMoCAís architect Will Bruder and his associates in collaboration with Turrell.
The marriage of the museum architecture, Scrim Wall, and the Skyspace have created a compelling and dramatic
setting. SMoCA's Skyspace provides an enduring link to the elliptical Skyspace in Turrell's Roden Crater.
JAMES TURRELL: Infinite Light is organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by
Robert E. Knight, SMoCA Founding Director and Debra L. Hopkins, Curator of Exhibitions, and made possible by a
grant from the Flinn Foundation. Partially underwritten by Dorie and Paul Sternberg and sponsored by APS,
Kaufman & Broad of Arizona, Inc., the Arizona Republic, Nordstrom and Howard S. Wright Construction Co.
Promotional support is provided by ScottsdaleLife magazine and the Arizona Republic.
Wide Out, 1998