James Turrell

b. 1943

"Hologram #10," 2008

Mixed-media hologram and glass construction, electrified
Titled to a gallery label affixed verso; projector marked: 700mA BUCKPUCK 3023-D-E-700 LUXDRIVE
55" H x 40" W x 2.5" D

  • Provenance: The Artist
    Private Collection, acquired from the above
    Sold: Christie's, New York, NY, "Post-War and Contemporary Art," November 16, 2017, Lot 824
    Private Collection, acquired from the above
  • Notes: A field of blue light emanates from a backlit square pierced by an obtuse triangle. While composed of simple geometric shapes, James Turrell's "Hologram 10" evokes an expansive, ethereal ambiance reminiscent of the work of Mark Rothko. In lieu of paint and canvas, however, Turrell's homage to the master of the prior generation relies upon holographic projection. His striking installation dramatizes light and heightens form in a theatrical, even ceremonial manner. The present work, executed in 2008, relates to a broader series exploring visual illusion. His shapes appear to float weightlessly, yet their dimensionality, entirely defined by radiating light, renders them sculptural. James Turrell was raised in the Quaker faith, a contemplative religion that privileges silence and equates light with religious experience. It has been suggested that the spiritual quality of his work may be a nod to this upbringing. Native to Los Angeles, Turrell was later among an avant-garde group of artists who founded the Light and Space Movement in the 1950s. Pairing an interest in conceptualism with an emphasis on luminosity, they were inspired by Minimalism in New York. Still, they transformed the aesthetic to respond to Southern California's sunny, atmospheric surroundings. Other inspirations for Turrell and the Light and Space artists included the region's burgeoning aerospace industry and experimental psychology. Turrell studied training as a pilot and delved into research on human perception, sensory deprivation, and other pioneering practices related to cognition. Each discipline informed his expanding artistic approach; these sources gave rise to the ephemeral qualities and optical significance that pervaded his oeuvre. In addition, light and Space artists often looked to found objects and unlikely materials associated with new technologies and local industry—Turrell fully ascribed to this ethos. Finally, Turrell and his circle appropriated the concept of the sublime, most often connected with nineteenth-century romanticism, to produce artwork capable of eliciting a sense of transcendence and awe. Also known as the "Cool School," Turrell and the Light and Space artists left an indelible mark on contemporary art. Turrell's work continues to be shown in institutions worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles, among others. Since the 1970s, Turrell has been working on his pièce de résistance, a celestial light observatory at the Roden Crater in Arizona.
  • Condition: Condition report available upon request.

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November 1, 2022 12:00 PM PDT
Monrovia, CA, US

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