Beautiful Picture: Turrell at the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim has been taken over by the mind-bending explorations with light of James Turrell. Both the NYTimes’ Roberta Smith and that picky eater over at the New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl, seem to have flipped their wigs over it, in particular “Aten Reign” which takes over the spiral and bathes it in a 60-minute light show.

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James Turrell’s exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum will probably be the bliss-out environmental art hit of the summer. This is primarily because of the ravishing “Aten Reign,” an immense, elliptical, nearly hallucinatory play of light and color that makes brilliant use of the museum’s famed rotunda and ocular skylight. The latest site-specific effort from Mr. Turrell, “Aten Reign” is close to oxymoronic: a meditative spectacle.



Imagine this summer’s show at the Guggenheim Museum as air-conditioning for the eye and, if you’re gamely susceptible, the soul.

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Definitely seems like something to see. Years ago, I caught an Ellsworth Kelly show at the Guggenheim in which the ramp was aglow with reflections from the wonderful primary colors in his paintings. But Turrell takes that idea to a new dimension.

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Ellsworth Kelly at the Guggenheim.

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