Light, Meet Light. Bruce Munro and James Turrell at Cheekwood

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L: Blue Pesher, by James Turrell. R: Field of Light, by Bruce Munro
  • L: "Blue Pesher," by James Turrell. R: "Field of Light," by Bruce Munro

It would be criminal to talk about Cheekwood's Bruce Munro exhibit Light without also talking about James Turrell's “Blue Pesher.” Maybe that's unfair to Munro, a relatively unknown artist whose résumé boasts more lighting design jobs than capital-A Art — especially after Turrell opened his own major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art just two days after Cheekwood unveiled Munro's second-only North American exhibition.

But that's all the more reason to enjoy the Munro exhibit — as I did at Friday night's opening reception — from inside Turrell's giant vessel. I recommend that all visitors to Cheekwood do the same, and combine a visit to “Blue Pesher” with every trip to Light.

Turrell is an important figure in California's Light and Space art movement of the ’60s and ’70s, and “Blue Pesher” is an example of all the reasons why he's so celebrated: It's at once a futuristic, Kubrick-esque temple to the sky, and a minimalist meditation on solitude. If Light is a Baz Luhrmann-worthy party, "Pesher" is the spaceship that crash-landed in the backyard.

Look for a feature-length review of Munro's Light in an upcoming print edition of the Scene. For more on Turrell, watch this Art21 video.

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