Jan 14, 2010


James Turrell's Meeting at PS1 was one of the most transcendental art experiences I have had in quite a while. Imagine: you enter a small, simple squarish room. There is a wooden bench built around the perimeter, leading into simple wood paneling about 1/3 up the wall. The rest of the wall is white, and curves gently toward the ceiling. However, the ceiling is actually a square cut out of the roof, framed by a bit of white wall. The sky is the canvas. The room is the frame. It is perfect. Upon entering, one could see people lying on their back on the floor, looking up. People on the benches, looking up. When people look up, there is a beauty and innocence about their gaze. They appear meditative, in another realm.

The work itself was, quite simply, a wonderful experience. I gazed upon that blue sky just before dusk, and the first hues were of a gradually deepening cyan, until finally any traces of green were replace with a richer, more magenta hue in the blue. At one point, it was the exact shade of Yves Klein blue. EXACT shade. And the effect of the slight golden cast on the white walls from the subdued lighting and the Yves Klein blue sky was that of an actual canvas protruding from above. Space and time collided in that simple installation. It was magic. No matter how carefully you studied that opening into space, it was impossible to visually grasp the exact hue for more than a moment. Then----it was gone.

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