Artist James Turrell

Peter Campbell reviewed James Turrell’s show at Gagosian’s Britannia Street gallery in the December 16 issue of the London Review of Books. Although Turrell isn’t making maps, his work sounds really amazing; plus, one of his works uses map-related techniques. As Campbell writes:

“The gallery pieces are a reminder that Turrell’s first degree was in perceptual psychology; the Roden Crater prints and models that he studied astronomy and had a pilot’s licence at 16. The photographs of the crater and its surroundings (the closest conurbation is Flagstaff) were taken with the kind of large-format camera used for aerial mapping (read-outs of time and other data appear in the margins). Turrell made long flights over the desert before he found what he needed – a regular cone of modest size, not too close to horizon-occluding features. The observatory has been long in the making – a website says it may be open to the public next year; photographs suggest that, like Walter De Maria’s lightning field in New Mexico and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, it will become one of those places of pilgrimage, which for one practical reason or another are very difficult to visit except in the imagination.”

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