light show

To the skyspace and beyond: James Turrell's next big Houston art project? Holograms!

To the skyspace and beyond: James Turrell's next big Houston art project? Holograms!

ames Turrell Holograms
James Turrell, Untitled, 2010, holographic image on glass and plexi. Courtesy of Hiram Butler Gallery
ames Turrell Holograms
James Turrell, Untitled, 2010, holographic image on glass and plexi. Courtesy of Hiram Butler Gallery
James Turrell Hologram
James Turrell, bluering, 2012, Center, 62 x 40", Courtesy of Hiram Butler Gallery. Courtesy of Hiram Butler Gallery
James Turrell Hologram
James Turrell, IN, 2012, 24 x 16", Courtesy of Hiram Butler Gallery. Courtesy of Hiram Butler Gallery
ames Turrell Holograms
ames Turrell Holograms
James Turrell Hologram
James Turrell Hologram

As Rice University prepares for the public debut of his Twilight Epiphany skyspace Thursday night at sunset (8:23 p.m.), James Turrell is already looking to make waves in the Houston art community once again — this time with holograms.

That's right . . . Years before Tupac and Bill Murray brought the trippy 3D illusion back into the headlines, legendary American artist Turrell was using it to make "paintings" that can be viewed from almost any angle.

 A retrospective of the artist's work will open at the three simultaneous instructions in spring 2013 — the Guggenheim in New York, the LA County Museum of Art and MFAH. 

Starting July 14, the Hiram Butler Gallery will display six pieces from the Turrell's recent output of holographic work in the first exhibition of his "transmission light" pieces to be mounted in Texas.

While fine art holograms have been few and far between since Salvador Dali dabbled in the medium during the '70s, Turell surprised the New York art scene in 2009 with a series of large-scale holographic pieces at PaceWildenstein.

Typically used as a sort of modern-day trompe l'œil to create the illusion of a three-dimensional form, holography for Turrell has served as a means to explore the very nature of light. The collection of pieces arriving in Houston primarily focuses on simple abstract shapes that appear to float mysteriously atop a black backdrop.  

A long-anticipated retrospective of the artist's work will open at the three simultaneous instructions in spring 2013 — the Guggenheim in New York, the LA County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Both the Rice installation and the Turrell-designed Live Oak Friends Meeting House will be part of the innovative national show.

Located at 4520 Blossom, the Hiram Butler Gallery will hold an opening reception for James Turrell: Holograms on Saturday, July 14, starting at 10 a.m. The rare exhibit will run through August 15 and will be on view Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.