Honoree James Turrell speaks onstage during LACMA 2015 Art+Film Gala Honoring James Turrell and Alejandro G Iñárritu. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for LACMA)

James Turrell’s MoMA PS1 Exhibition Is Closing, At His Request

Give me perfectly unobstructed lightscapes, or give me death!

by Emma Specter
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Jan 29 2019, 3:41pm

Honoree James Turrell speaks onstage during LACMA 2015 Art+Film Gala Honoring James Turrell and Alejandro G Iñárritu. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for LACMA)

James Turrell is a man who knows what he wants, whether it’s a series of tunnels and apertures in the middle of the Painted Desert or an audience with Kanye West himself.

Now, it’s what Turrell doesn’t want that’s dictating the future of his art—specifically, he’s not so into the scaffolding from a luxury condo development in Long Island City impeding the view from his Meeting installation at MoMA PS1.

MoMA describes Meeting, one of Turrell’s Skyspaces that was first installed in 1980, as “a site-specific installation that invites viewers to gaze upwards toward an unobstructed view of the sky,” holding regular sunset viewings of the artwork. “After further conversation with James Turrell, we have closed Meeting at the artist’s request and it will remain closed until the temporary construction scaffolding is no longer visible from the work," PS1 told Gothamist.

An “unobstructed view of the sky” sounds divine, but that undertaking is easier said than done in New York; particularly in the formerly industrial Long Island City, where the advent of Amazon’s HQ2 is already spiking interest in open houses and is predicted to drive up rents, according to the New York Times .

The construction obstructing Meeting’s view isn’t Amazonian in nature, but in a sadly ironic twist, this isn’t the first time it’s impeded access to art; the luxury condos being built are replacing the former 5Pointz graffiti mural, ArtNet reports. Meeting is expected to reopen when construction is completed in approximately six months, but still, maybe planning a trip to Flagstaff’s soon to open Roden Crater is the only way to experience James Turrell’s works as he truly intended them to be seen.