Earlier this month, James Turrell celebrated his 71st birthday. “That can’t be right,” I thought when I heard the news. “He just celebrated his 70th when we opened his exhibition.” It seems like just yesterday that James Turrell: A Retrospective opened at LACMA, filling the second floor of BCAM and a third of the Resnick Pavilion for 11 months. The popular show finally closed in April, and is now just weeks away from opening at its next venue—the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. (It will continue to circumnavigate the globe with subsequent stops in Australia and Japan.)
While the exhibition has left L.A., Angelenos still have reason for joy: one artwork is staying put at LACMA. Breathing Light, the large, room-sized Ganzfeld installation in the Resnick Pavilion, was commissioned expressly for the museum and was acquired for the permanent collection thanks to the generosity of Kayne Griffin Corcoran and the Kayne Foundation. It will remain on view at LACMA for one more year.
The artwork is now included in the cost of a general admission ticket. (Don’t forget—we’re free after 3 pm on weekdays for L.A. County residents; kids are always free, and can bring an adult for free as a benefit of their NexGen membership). Ganzfeld is limited to a few people at a time, so you’ll want to check in with the Ticket Office when you arrive at the museum to reserve your timed entry.
I had the chance to interview LACMA trustee Suzanne Kayne last year, where she revealed herself to be a devotee of Turrell’s work: she and her family have traveled around the world to see Turrell’s Skyspaces and other works, sometimes to remote locations. She experienced her first Ganzfeld at the Turrell Museum in Colomé, Argentina. “It was just like an out-of-body experience,” she told me. “It’s an emptiness filled with light that allows the viewer to feel its physicality.”
But the remoteness of many of Turrell’s works weighed on Kayne. “We thought, this has to be shared by other people. This can’t be kept for just the few people who get to the [Turrell] museum.” Thanks to her generosity, LACMA—and Los Angeles—now has a Ganzfeld to keep.