James Turrell (b.1943, Los Angeles) received his B.A. in 1965 from Pomona College, California, and his M.A. in 1973 from Claremont Graduate School, California. For over forty-five years, Turrell has explored light as a medium of perception. 

In his works, light that is normally used to illuminate other objects is assigned form and structure. Influenced by perceptual psychology, and by his own experiences as a trained pilot, Turrell has been exploring perceptual phenomena ranging from sensory deprivation to intense optical effects. Early works such as Afrum-Proto (1966) and the Mendota Stoppages (1969–1974), which employed planes of light in relation to architecture, became the basis for his ongoing investigations. In 1977 Turrell began a monumental project at Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in northern Arizona. He sculpted the dimensions of the crater bowl and cut a series of chambers, tunnels and apertures within the volcano. Agua de Luz, a series of Skyspaces and pools constructed within a pyramid in the Yucatán, and forthcoming projects around the world, from Ras al-Khaimah to Tasmania, integrate principles and features embedded within Roden Crater.


Turrell’s works are featured in notable collections including the Tate Modern, London, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The James Turrell Museum opened in Colomé, Argentina in 2009. Turrell has had solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C, Kunsthaus Zug, Switzerland , Institute Valencia d’Art Modern, Spain, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Musee de Grenoble, France, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (that travelled to National Gallery of Australia, Canberra), among others.


Turrell is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship (1974), MacArthur Fellowship (1984), and the Wolf Prize in Sculpture (1998).