Light leak

Too much light on the subject? Rice University reduces glare on James Turrell's skyspace

Too much light on the subject? Rice University reduces glare on James Turrell's skyspace

015_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, lights, illumination.jpg
James Turrell's skyspace at Rice University has an unexpected adversary: Lights from the intramural fields.  Photo by © Michelle Watson/

James Turrell's Twilight Epiphany skyspace on the Rice University campus has had an unexpected adversary this semester: Lights from the university's intramural fields, which have had an unfavorable effect on the artist's light show. 

"Most people didn't notice, it's very nuanced," said Emily Stein, manager of the skyspace. She explained that the effects of the lights were picked up on by Turrell, who requested the changes. 

The Rice Thresher notes that the university has worked with a light consultant to minimize light spillage by replacing and readjusting light fixtures and adding visors to block the glare.

As Glasstire's Bill Davenport points out, the university's response differs greatly from a similar situation at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, where Turrell's site-specific skyspace, Tending, (Blue)has been closed thanks to the encroachment of the neighboring 42-story Museum Tower

Alterations to the Rice lights are expected to be complete by the end of October; in the meantime, the university's Recreation Center has rescheduled some games and the skyspace has been closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Stein told CultureMap that, after this week's Rice Centennial Celebrations and a few days of closures due to maintenance next week, the schedule should be back to normal — free and open to the public daily, with the exception of Tuesday.
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