Artist James Turrell’s masterpiece, Roden Crater, is a monumental backdrop for Kanye West


Quotes from “Why Kanye West used a remote crater in the desert as the set for his new film”

By Patrick Sisson,

“Amid the many noteworthy and attention-grabbing aspects of West’s new album drop is the shooting location of the new promotional film—the Roden Crater. Currently under construction, the project designed by light artist James Turrell is less a work of art than a literal monument, at a scale that recalls the work of ancient kings and pharaohs.”

“Simply put, it’s a mile-and-a-half-wide crater in the desert near Flagstaff, Arizona, that’s being rebuilt by Turrell as a personal sky observatory that “will bring the light of the heavens down to earth, linking visitors with the celestial movements of planets, stars and distant galaxies,” according to his artistic statement. Needless to say, it’s a passion project, one that’s been in the works since 1977.

“It’s perhaps the most highly anticipated example of a genre of modern art known as Land Art, a movement born in the ’60s that literally cuts large-scale sculptural designs into the landscape. Turrell is sculpting a 600-foot-tall cylinder of earth and stone, a kind of large-scale telescope that will frame the sky’s changing light, a pursuit that’s taken decades and required large construction crews. In addition to the main work, there will be 20 or so additional viewing spaces and installations arranged throughout the site, including a water-filled chamber that reflects the sunrise and a space that will “allow visitors to see their shadow from the light of Jupiter.”


Read the full article here:

2019 James Turrell Lecture: How to sell a hole in the roof

On Wednesday, February 6, Hiram Butler, James Turrell’s long-time friend and agent, will talk about how James Turrell’s brilliant ideas are made real – from the epic Roden Crater to the intimate Chestnut Hill Skyspace. Hiram, a native Texan who helped build Houston’s Live Oak Friends Meeting with a Skyspace, introduced Chestnut Hill Quakers to Turrell and helped guide the process over the thirteen years it took to build their new building with its Skyspace in the worship room. He will have slides and answer questions.
Hiram Butler
Hiram’s contemporary art gallery in Houston, founded in 1984, has represented many of the art world’s greatest artists. He graduated from the University of Texas and Williams College, worked at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, and has brought sacred spaces by Jennifer Bartlett and Ellsworth Kelly to public life.

To buy a ticket to this lecture, click to visit the registration page. The lecture begins at 7:00pm.

Latest James Turrell news

Suddenly James Turrell, creator of the Skyspace at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, is in the news a lot. Below are a link to new developments at his Skyspace at PS1 and downloads of two articles about his Roden Crater project in the Arizona desert.

Article from about a Skyspace disruption at PS1: James Turrell’s Famous MoMA PS1 Skyspace Interrupted by Neighboring Luxury Condo Development. If there were ever to be development on a property adjacent to ours, we would be concerned about building height that affected our Skyspace.

Kanye West makes $10 million donation to Roden Crater project after visiting. (Download PDF of this Wall Street Journal article)

WSJ article about the history and future of Turrell’s Roden Crater project (download PDF)

2018 Skyspace Lecture: “Jim Turrell, Me, and the Aerial View”

Turrell and Burko about to look for craters in Arizona; 1970s.

YOU ARE INVITED! Please join us to hear Diane Burko speak at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, February 6 at 20 E. Mermaid Lane. Our annual mid-winter lecture is titled “Jim Turrell, Me and the Aerial View.” The event is free but donations will be gratefully accepted at the door. Invite a friend!

Diane Burko's book cover

The cover of Diane Burko’s book about her work.
Click the image to visit the book’s website.

In the 1970s, renowned Philadelphia environmental artist Diane Burko flew around Arizona with James Turrell as he was scouting land for his monumental Rodin Crater installation. The aerial views inspired Burko’s own work which has concentrated on seeing, painting and photographing the earth’s changing climate from above.

Burko collaborates with scientists, using their data and bearing witness by traveling to the world’s largest ice fields in Greenland, Antarctica, Patagonia and Alaska as well as exploring melting glaciers in New Zealand’s southern alps. Many of her canvases are aerial views, a perspective she first discovered flying with Skyspace creator James Turrell.

Burko’s depictions of glaciers and other land masses form the core of her work, which has been exhibited in over 100 painting and photography shows throughout the country. Most recently she was studying underwater reefs in Hawaii when she experienced the false nuclear missile warning! Through slides of her adventures and her paintings, she will talk about her work, her passion for art and for the environment. She will also sell and sign copies of her recent book, Glacial Shifts, Changing Perspectives — Bearing Witness to Climate Change.

You don’t need to register in advance to attend. Donations will be gladly accepted at the door to help maintain the Skyspace.

About the Skyspace

Located between Mt. Airy & Chestnut Hill in Northwest Philadelphia, the Skyspace at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting offers visitors from all walks of life a place of peace.

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