James Turrell’s ‘Meeting’ Skyspace Will Reopen at MoMA PS1 This Summer, Following Renovations

James Turrell, Meeting.COURTESY MOMA PS1

James Turrell, Meeting, 1986.


When MoMA PS1 shut the doors to James Turrell’s Meeting (1986), a large installation work in a former classroom on the third floor of the Queens institution, in 2013, it meant visitors could no longer experience the artist’s first-ever public skyspace—the name he gave to his signature type of work that can, through a careful calibration of light and angles, make the colors of the sky burn with an otherworldly intensity.

Now the museum’s director, Klaus Biesenbach, announced at a press breakfast at MoMA this morning that Meeting will reopen this summer, following renovations. Its return coincides with the 40th anniversary of the opening of PS1 and a resurgence in interest in the artist following his well-received retrospectives over the past few years at the Guggenheim, the MFA Houston, and LACMA.

Meeting was commissioned by PS1 founder Alanna Heiss in the 1970s, and the installation opened to the public in 1986. It was immediately a hit with patrons, widely increasing the West Coast artist’s stature in New York, but in the ensuing decades, the incandescent lights required to create the pigments of the skyspace began to burn out, and a retractable cover meant to protect the work from rainfall proved wonky.

An article in the New York Times from last year tracked the hush-hush closure back to late summer 2013, during a period when Turrell was in New York to oversee the Guggenheim exhibition. In the report, Turrell told the reporter that renovations could be completed in “well under a year,” though it appears questions raised in the article regarding the source of funding and the choice of architect to oversee the project contributed to the delay.

No specific reopening date has been announced, but a representative for PS1 said the institution was “aiming for June.” And it is unclear who was involved in funding the rehabilitation of the work.

Turrell’s work received another swell in attention earlier this year when the rapper Drake, who is no stranger to these pages, appeared to look to the artist’s Ganzfeld works as inspiration for the set in his new music video. A statement Turrell apparently gave his lawyer indicated that the artist was “flattered,” but had no involvement in the video’s creation.

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