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James Turrell: you who look

8 minutes

James Turrell’s singular quest to transform a crater into a natural-light observatory

‘Every evening we unfold the light, and every morning, fold it back, to return the blue to the sky.’

The US artist James Turrell has made a career of manipulating light and space, creating ‘new worlds’ that force viewers to confront the fluidity and fallibility of their own visual perception. Born into a conservative Quaker family, Turrell got his start building meeting houses – quiet, simple structures where Quakers are meant to ‘greet the light’. James Turrell: You Who Look is a visual and verbal paean to the artist’s celebrated career, with an emphasis on Roden Crater near Flagstaff in Arizona, a ‘place between the Earth and the cosmos’, a ‘natural-light observatory’ built into an extinct volcano – a work that has been 45 years in the making and is still unfinished.

Director: Jessica Yu

Producer: Izabela Frank


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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
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Essay/
Art
Is it really a Leonardo?

Forensics can’t be sure. Provenance can be fudged. This is why the expert eye still rules the game of art authentication

Noah Charney

Essay/
Cultures & Languages
Black Achilles

The Greeks didn’t have modern ideas of race. Did they see themselves as white, black – or as something else altogether?

Tim Whitmarsh