Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

James Turrell: Gard Blue

September 15 - August 3, 2014 | Central Court

James Turrell’s pivotal 1968 work, Gard Blue, will make a historic visit to the Spencer Museum of Art this fall. The work represents a transformative period in Turrell’s work, marking the crucial juncture when Turrell shifted the viewer’s attention to perception and the phenomenon of light rather than an object. “Light is not so much something that reveals as it is itself the revelation,” the artist has famously said.

Appearing in a large, box-like room constructed within the Central Court, Gard Blue is a projection of light. The clarity of Gard Blue’s presence is held by a single, arresting color. The work conjures a significant moment in the evolution of Turrell’s practice, encouraging sustained attention and demanding revelation. In the Spencer’s exhibition, holograms by Turrell will surround Gard Blue, representing this important American artist’s ideas, innovative methods and unwavering vision.

The exhibition builds on the momentum of a set of Turrell retrospectives at major museums nationwide, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Gard Blue sends a powerful message regarding the importance of innovation and artistic achievement. This essential work by James Turrell comes to the Spencer as a loan from distinguished friends Mark and Lauren Booth. Mark, a KU alumnus, and Lauren, an artist, continually extend their generosity to a broad range of programs at the Spencer Museum of Art, reflecting their deep commitment to contemporary art. Additional works have been generously loaned by Pace Gallery in New York. This exhibition is made possible with financial support from the William T. Kemper Foundation - Commerce Bank, Trustee, the Anschutz Family Foundation, Emprise Financial Corporation, Arthur Neis, David and Gunda Hiebert, and the University of Kansas Research Investment Council.


James Turrell Conversation Videos


Public Programs

9.15.13
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Presentation: Conversation Featuring Artist James Turrell
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, 309 Auditorium
The public is invited to join the world-renowned light artist for a conversation in the Spencer Museum auditorium right before JAMES TURRELL: GARD BLUE opens at noon in Central Court. The exhibition, exploring the limits and wonder of human perception, will remain on view through May 18, 2014.
3.6.14
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Lecture: A View from the Eye of the Crater: James Turrell's Roden Crater Project
7:00 – 8:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, 309 Auditorium
Richard Andrews, director of the Skystone Foundation, which supports ongoing development of Roden Crater, discusses the 400,000 year-old crater being transformed into a monumental work of art and naked-eye observatory by artist James Turrell. Tracing the evolution of Turrell's vision for the project and the three-decade-long path to completion, Andrews reveals what visitors can expect to experience within the Crater's spaces. Andrews previously served as director of the Visual Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts and director of the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle. This is a qualifying event in Visual Art for students seeking Arts Engagement Certification.
3.26.14
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Lecture: Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing
7:00 – 8:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, 309 Auditorium
Artists and scientists tend to think of their ways of probing the world as distinctly different. Such was not always the case. In the spirit of the Spencer's exhibition James Turrell: Gard Blue, longtime New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler—Emeritus Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and author of Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences—explores this subject, with side-discussions on artists David Hockney and (Turrell's fellow Light and Space master) Robert Irwin, subjects of two of his most recent biographies. This is a qualifying event in History of Art for students seeking Arts Engagement Certification.
4.6.14
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Activity: Optical Antics and Illusions
1:00 – 3:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, 3C1 lobby/hallway, Gallery 401, Gallery 405, Gallery 407
An afternoon of mind-bending illusions encourages visitors of all ages to explore the optical phenomena at play in works by James Turrell in the Spencer Museum’s Central Court. Optical antics of all kinds will amaze and astonish Natural History Museum visitors as well; families are invited to move back and forth between the two museums at their leisure.

Sponsored By: Spencer Museum of Art, Natural History Museum

4.16.14
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Lecture: Stepping into the Light – Shared Experiences with James Turrell
5:30 – 6:30 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, 309 Auditorium
Art historian, conservator and collector Suzanne Deal Booth discusses her personal and professional encounters with James Turrell, sharing unique insights into the mind of the artist. Deal Booth has worked at the Kimbell Art Museum, the Menil Collection and the J. Paul Getty Trust, among others. This is a qualifying event in History of Art and Visual Art for students seeking Arts Engagement Certification.

Press


Gard Blue, 1968
© James Turrell
Photograph by Florian Holzherr