Artist James Turrell's Air Apparent

Photograph of Air Apparent by Brad Jones

The ASU Art Museum in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is pleased to announce that Arizona State University is home to Air Apparent, one of artist James Turrell’s extraordinary Skyspaces.

The ASU Skyspace is located near the intersection of Rural and Terrace roads, just northeast of the new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB 4), on the university’s Tempe campus. It sits adjacent to the newly dedicated Diane and Bruce Halle Skyspace Garden, designed by landscape architect Christy Ten Eyck.


“The university’s proven commitment to innovation, to engagement in the arts and to research that crosses boundaries are the reasons why James Turrell chose ASU to house this ambitious project,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Like much of the work that takes place here, the Skyspace is a project with roots in multiple disciplines – physics, the arts, philosophy – that transcends those categories to emerge as something unique and truly extraordinary. ISTB4’s design reflects the transdisciplinary spirit of ASU, accommodating research programs from both science and engineering, and by encouraging frequent interaction of both worlds.”

Faculty and research staff in ISTB4 are renowned for designing instruments to enable scientific exploration of other worlds. New and sophisticated laboratories for instrument development in ISTB4 will further increase ASU’s leadership in that regard. In addition to complex labs, ISTB4 provides public outreach spaces on the first and second floor that invite visitors into the scientific and engineering challenges that invigorate studies of Earth and the universe.

Turrell, an internationally renowned artist who is best known for his ongoing Roden Crater  project in northern Arizona, works with light and space to make art that heightens awareness by affecting the eye, body and mind, offering the public what critic David Pagel calls “a spa for consciousness.” His Skyspaces are contemplative architectural environments, usually intimate chambers, in which viewers are invited to experience light as an almost tangible presence.

Phoenix architect Will Bruder, whose team worked with Turrell on the project, noted that the architecture of the Air Apparent is “a contemporary interpretation of ancient Hohokam shade ramadas, pit houses and baskets. Redefined in a minimal sculptural formwork of 21st century concrete and steel, it is designed to give body to the work of James Turrell.”

ASU Art Museum Director Gordon Knox called Turrell “one of the most respected and revered artists working today, a genius at the intersection of art and science, whose work delivers the viewer to an unknown suspended place between earth and sky.”

Lisa Sette, director of the Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, which represents Turrell, said of Air Apparent, “This work will become a destination for students, the community at large and art lovers from around the globe, as is so often the case with a James Turrell work.”

Air Apparent was partially funded by a generous gift from Diane and Bruce Halle.

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The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America, is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. The museum is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe and admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. To learn more about the museum, call 480 965 2787 or visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu or asuartmuseum.wordpress.com.