Shelby's Social Diary

Star struck: James Turrell's Rice skyspace draws sellout crowd that overflows to the lawn

Star struck: James Turrell's Rice skyspace draws sellout crowd that overflows to the lawn

002_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Raymond Brochstein, Suzanne Deal Booth, Charles Szalkowski, Molly Hubbard.jpg
Raymond Brochstein , Suzanne Deal Booth , Charles Szalkowski , Molly Hubbard Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
001_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Fabené Welch, C.C. Conner, Jonathon Glus, Tara Lewis.jpg
Fabené Welch , C.C. Conner , Jonathon Glus , Tara Lewis Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
011_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Josh Pazda, Delise Ward, Craig Lidji.jpg
Josh Pazda , Delise Ward , Craig Lidji Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
013_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Philamena Baird, Arthur Baird.jpg
Philamena Baird , Arthur Baird Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
012_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Vinod Hopson, Jennifer Ward, Otis Ike.jpg
Vinod Hopson , Jennifer Ward , Otis Ike Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
008_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Ann Johnson, Susan Cooley.jpg
Ann Johnson , Susan Cooley Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
005_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Bradley Houston, Mark McCray, Bill Arning.jpg
Bradley Houston , Mark McCray , Bill Arning Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
004_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Deborah Velders, Victoria Lightman, Judy Nyquist.jpg
Deborah Velders , Victoria Lightman , Judy Nyquist Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
007_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Sis Johnson, Cindy Fitch, David Fitch.jpg
Sis Johnson , Cindy Fitch , David Fitch Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
002_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Raymond Brochstein, Suzanne Deal Booth, Charles Szalkowski, Molly Hubbard.jpg
016_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, lights, illumination.jpg
001_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Fabené Welch, C.C. Conner, Jonathon Glus, Tara Lewis.jpg
026_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, lights, illumination.jpg
009_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Jeanie Kilroy, Ed Becnel.jpg
011_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Josh Pazda, Delise Ward, Craig Lidji.jpg
010_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Dan Piette, Doreen Stoller.jpg
013_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Philamena Baird, Arthur Baird.jpg
012_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Vinod Hopson, Jennifer Ward, Otis Ike.jpg
008_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Ann Johnson, Susan Cooley.jpg
005_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Bradley Houston, Mark McCray, Bill Arning.jpg
004_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Deborah Velders, Victoria Lightman, Judy Nyquist.jpg
007_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, Sis Johnson, Cindy Fitch, David Fitch.jpg
033_Turrell Skyspace opening, June 2012, lights, illumination.jpg

With a standing-room-only turnout, James Turrell's Twighlight Epiphany skyspace on the Rice University campus officially opened Thursday night on a comfortable, breezy evening that could not have been more perfect for the meditative LED light happening.

"Tonight is the night when we launch to the public," said Molly Hubbard, Rice University art director. "But we've been doing some previews leading up to this and people are actually stunned with this new project in Houston and so happy that they're going to be able to experience it all the time and into the future . . . the way that art should be part of our lives."

 Suzanne Deal Booth, the Rice graduate who provided the $5 million funding for the project, was back to see the light show for her 10th time or so.  

Close to 240 had reserved seating including 75 guests of the Houston Arts Alliance, who gathered early for a cocktail reception.

Suzanne Deal Booth, the Rice graduate who provided the $5 million funding for the project, was back to see the light show for her 10th time or so. "I'm thrilled to be back and see it again and again," she said. Was she happy with the results? "It exceeds my expectations. I'm really happy with it."

In the brief program that preceded the opening of the skyspace, Hubbard, Houston Arts Alliance CEO Jonathon Glus and Rice art committee chairman Raymond Brochstein gave welcoming remarks. Brochstein announced, in a surprise to Booth, that the Twilight Epiphany would also be named the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion in honor of her gift and of the university's 100th anniversary.

"It is one of my great joys in life to give back to Rice University," Booth said.

The art-minded crowd included Contemporary Arts Museum Houston director Bill Arning, Houston Ballet's C.C. Conner, gallery owner Hiram Butler, HAA board members Judy Nyquist and Philamena Baird, Houston Museum of Fine Arts Houston board member Jeanie Kilroy, Fotofest's Vinod Hopson, Hermann Park Conservancy's Doreen Stoller, Stages' Libby Cagle, Inprint Inc. board member Sis Johnson and collector Victoria Lightman.

For those who didn't make the reservations cut for seating in the structure, the university provided plenty of folding chairs around the exterior of the grassy pyramid. As one who has observed the light sequences from both inside the structure and from the lawn, I can say that viewing the light program from all angles is rewarding.

Reservations for the skyspace sunrise and sunset light sequences are available here.