Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Your Own Private Light Show Inside Perceptual Cell at LACMA!

Experience your own private light show inside a Perceptual Cell, created by Light artist James Turrell, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) beginning May 26th.

Your own private light show! Inside a sphere!!

James Turrell is the subject of a new special exhibition at LACMA, opening on May 26th. His contributions to the Light and Space movement in 1960s and 70s southern California were instrumental to the shaping of the genre, and this full retrospective of early geometric light projections, prints and drawings, installations with light that appears to be undiluted or modulated from its source, and holograms will certainly be a sensory treat.


This Art Nerd is beyond giddy about the exhibition’s special interactive installation, however. Light Reignfall, as it is titled, is part of the artist’s Perceptual Cells series. The cell is a freestanding enclosed sphere that offers a light-centric visual performance for one viewer at a time. LACMA’s description of the installation explains:

“Assisted by an attendant, an individual viewer enters a spherical chamber on a sliding bed. A program of saturated light (operated by a technician) surrounds the viewer for twelve minutes, allowing the visitor to experience the intense, multidimensional power of light and the complex seeing instrument of the human eye.”

Can you imagine?! The only way that you could ostensibly have an idea of the coolness of having your own little capsule of pure light for twelve whole minutes is if you were lucky enough to be encapsulated in Sylvie Fleury’s 8, another freestanding sphere that had an interior of black velvet, crystals, and sparkling lights with a campy soundtrack, during MOCA’s Ecstasy: In And About Altered States in 2005 (this Art Nerd was lucky enough to have this experience).

Popular expectation and stakes are high for James Turrell’s sphere; tickets for the experience (staged at 20 minute intervals) cost a prohibitive $45.00 for the general public rather than the normal $20.00 special exhibition admission, and are already sold out through the end of June. That being said, it is worth it to book your ticket now and anticipate the experience until then. Just be sure to leave the really psychedelic drugs at home when you visit, because 12 minutes of bliss is probably not worth the other several hours you’ll be wandering around post-museum wondering what happened to all the pretty lights.

Images courtesy LACMA and James Turrell’s official facebook page.

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