James Turrell

Visual Artist
James Turrell receiving an award from Barack Obama

Photo by Jocelyn Augustino.


James Turrell is recognized for his groundbreaking visual art. Capturing the powers of light and space, Mr. Turrell builds experiences that force us to question reality, challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us.

James Turrell is known for his work with light and space. Over the course of his career, he has had more than 20 solo exhibitions at museums such as the National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 1974, Turrell began his project at Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in northern Arizona where he has sculpted the dimensions of the crater bowl and cut a series of chambers, tunnels, and apertures within the volcano. He continues to work on this project and has also created 86 unique Skyspaces, which are chambers with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky. He has installed works in 22 countries and in 14 states. His numerous awards include National Endowments for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Katherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Science, membership in the National Academy of Arts and Letters and American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Smithsonian Archives of American Art Medal.