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A Late Summer Stroll Through Turrell and Thannhauser at the Guggenheim Museum
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A Late Summer Stroll Through Turrell and Thannhauser at the Guggenheim Museum

- In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers

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A Late Summer Stroll
Through Turrell and Thannhauser
at the Guggenheim Museum

At the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
(Guggenheim New York Website)
1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street
NYC, NY 10128

Media: Guggenheim Press Office

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 15, 2013

I was able to catch the James Turrell exhibit at the Guggenheim, about a week before it closed. The Guggenheim was packed with long lines to view Turrell’s incredible concept, called “Aten Reign” (2013), of turning the rotunda into a viewing space of shifting colors and shapes, in red, pink, blue, yellow, green, purple, brown, gray, and white. Artificial and natural lights played on Frank Lloyd Wright’s interior architecture. The spiral walkways that one usually traverses, to see the paintings and art works displayed in expansive largesse, were all closed, as that spiral was wrapped to form a spiraling sphere of illuminated color, a totally zen experience. Visitors were lying on the lobby floor, looking up and around, or sitting on the circular lobby benches, enjoying the warmly colored ambiance.

In the enclosed galleries, Turrell’s other works, that explore the manipulation and perception of space, by shining a white light into a bare dark room, were fascinating. With “Afrum” (White) 1967, visitors see a white cube of light that appears to float, mid-air, in a corner of the room, and the entire optical illusion is mesmerizing. Another work, “Prado” (White) 1967, looks like a visitor could see right through the wall into another space. "Ronin" 1968 looks like a tall vertical tube of light. This exhibit is developed with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. (Assisted by Guggenheim Museum web notes).

No visit to the Guggenheim is complete without re-acquainting with the Thannhauser Collection, a collection of rare and renowned paintings by French Impressionists, Post Impressionists, Italian Futurists, with works by Picasso, Kandinsky, and more. I lingered by Cézanne’s "Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug”, created in 1877, with its bold shapes, angular lines that lead the eye, and the suggestion that an impending picnic of wine, bread, and fruit, is about to commence. The Guggenheim Museum is a lovely, lively, visual, and aesthetic experience, enjoyed best at leisure, when there’s time to reflect, browse, and stroll.

James Turrell, "Aten Reign", 2013
Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable
Installation view: James Turrell,
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,
June 21-September 25, 2013
Courtesy of David Heald
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

James Turrell, "Prado (White)", 1967
Projected light, dimensions variable
Collection of Kyung-Lim Lee Turrell
Courtesy of Florian Holzherr

James Turrell, "Ronin", 1968
Fluorescent light, dimensions variable
Collection of the artist
Installation view: Jim Turrell, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam,
April 9-May 23, 1976
Courtesy of Florian Holzherr

Paul Cézanne, "Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug"
("Fiasque, verre et poterie"), ca. 1877.
Oil on canvas, 18 × 21 3/4 inches (45.7 × 55.3 cm).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,
Thannhauser Collection, Gift,
Justin K. Thannhauser, 1978, 78.2514.3
Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Courtesy of Florian Holzherr

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at