James Turrell Skyspace “Twilight Epiphany”
Six days a week, at sunrise and sunset, the James Turrell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace becomes awash in multicolored light that echoes the coming and passing light of the day. Seen from afar, it looks like a flying saucer landing in an open courtyard on the Rice University campus. During the day it feels foreign – a stark white pavilion on a grassy slope amidst old brick buildings, reminiscent of a Mesoamerican Pyramid. But this only helps to draw the attention to it that it rightfully deserves.
Attending a light show is an interesting and communal experience as many other Houstonians gather under the waning sunlight to experience the interplay of art and nature. The square opening in the roof, known as a “Skyspace,” offers contrast between natural sky coloration and the light around it. The color sequence frames the sky and incorporates nature into the artist’s palate. Light shows last about 40 minutes and the light sequences were custom programmed by the artist to interact and synergize with the Houston sunrise or sunset. The guide explains that the space is supposed to be, “a good place for meditation and mindfulness.”
James Turrell, the artist who made the art installation, was recently awarded with the National Medal of Arts and Houston is no stranger to his thought-provoking and breathtaking installations. Houston has two other installations by Turrell and three altogether – the most of any city. “The Light Inside,” a light tunnel at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Live Oak Friends Meeting House Skyspace are well-known and well-loved by Houstonians.
The “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace, like other James Turrell installations around Houston, puts a major emphasis on experiencing art in an immersive environment. Sitting inside of the “Twilight Epiphany,” it is easy to get caught up in the changing light and color, meditating on the beauty of life in Houston which reminds one that there are many extremely beautiful places in Houston. Like the “Twilight Epiphany,” they may take some seeking out to find, but the search makes the experience all the more worthwhile.
• Visitors are supposed to make a reservation for evening light shows, but no one checks.
• Space is limited, so arrive early for a seat in the lower area.
6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005
Wednesday through Monday, one hour before sunrise to 10 p.m.