After James Turrell completed Skyspace in a parking lot of Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts with funding from the Lannan Foundation in the summer of 1988, it was open every Friday evening around sunset so locals could get a look at the New Mexico sky from Turrell’s perspective.

Turrell was then a Flagstaff, Ariz., artist beginning to get traction with his experiential and monumental — yet deceptively simple — works of art that toy with light and other natural phenomena. He would win a MacArthur Fellowship the following year.

Now, at age 70, Turrell is world famous in contemporary art circles, often compared with environmental artists such as Walter de Maria — who died July 25 and is known for The Lightning Field in Catron County — and Christo — known for his “wraps” of landmarks and landscapes, with the next one scheduled on the Arkansas River in southern Colorado in 2015.

Popular in the Community