For my first post on the art world, I wanted to introduce you to my sister Maggie’s new art gallery, Kayne Griffin Corcoran. Her partners, Bill Griffin and Jim Corcoran, have been showing amazing artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha and David Lynch in Santa Monica for decades. Their gallery space was an aircraft factory in the 1950s; it has 22’ high ceilings and 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, so they can mount exhibitions that only a handful of other commercial galleries in the world could pull off.
For their first show together, Maggie and her partners decided on a micro-survey of James Turrell. The exhibition is called Present Tense and will only be on view for a few more weeks-until December 17th, so stop in while you can!
Turrell is most famous for his masterpiece-in-progress, the Roden Crater – an extinct volcano that he’s turning into a modern American Stonehenge. He started experimenting with light in the 1960s as one of the pioneers of a movement in the Southern California art scene called “Light and Space.” He first figured out a way to use high-powered projectors to cast shapes on walls that looked either like floating, 3-D figures or geometric doors you could walk through into pure light. Two of these works are on display at the gallery—a white polygon called Carn White from 1967, and a blue “door” from 1968 called Phantom Blue. These forty-year old projections are as mystifying as ever; from a few yards away I thought they were solid sculptures.
Also in the Main Gallery is a more recent work called Present Tense, which the whole exhibition is named after. It’s a room that reverses the effect of the projection pieces. When you walk in, you see what looks like a flat magenta rectangle on a curved wall. But when you walk up to the rectangle, you find out that it’s actually a hole called an “aperture”, that opens onto a room filled with what looks like colored mist – and you can’t tell where it ends. It’s like you’re looking into infinity-totally disorienting and amazing to experience.
After passing through the Main Gallery, you’ll find my favorite pieces in the show, called Yukaloo, in the West Gallery. It’s a new piece from Turrell’s Wide Glass series. In these pieces, Turrell hides rows of LED panels behind a pane of etched glass. The lights cycle through a carefully programmed, constantly changing color sequence about three hours long. Be sure not to lose track of time if you decide to take a seat on the bench in front of Yukaloo—it’s easy to get lost in the colors, like watching a sunset or sunrise.
I hope you can catch the Turrell show and check out Maggie’s gallery if you have the opportunity. It is the most beautiful and visually exciting show I’ve seen in a long time and of course I want to support my sister and introduce her to all of you. The Kayne Griffin Corcoran is located at 2902 Nebraska Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404. For more information on the gallery, their show, or James Turrell, check out www.kaynegriffincorcoran.com. xxJKE