James Turrell’s pivotal 1968 work, Gard Blue, will make a historic visit to the Spencer Museum of Art this fall. The work represents a transformative period in Turrell’s work, marking the crucial juncture when Turrell shifted the viewer’s attention to perception and the phenomenon of light rather than an object. “Light is not so much something that reveals as it is itself the revelation,” the artist has famously said.
Appearing in a large, box-like room constructed within the Central Court, Gard Blue is a projection of light. The clarity of Gard Blue’s presence is held by a single, arresting color. The work conjures a significant moment in the evolution of Turrell’s practice, encouraging sustained attention and demanding revelation. In the Spencer’s exhibition, holograms by Turrell will surround Gard Blue, representing this important American artist’s ideas, innovative methods and unwavering vision.
The exhibition builds on the momentum of a set of Turrell retrospectives at major museums nationwide, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Gard Blue sends a powerful message regarding the importance of innovation and artistic achievement. This essential work by James Turrell comes to the Spencer as a loan from distinguished friends Mark and Lauren Booth. Mark, a KU alumnus, and Lauren, an artist, continually extend their generosity to a broad range of programs at the Spencer Museum of Art, reflecting their deep commitment to contemporary art.