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Art of Fontainebleau – James Turrell

Third Eye (From the Tall Glass Series) 2008
LED Light, etched glass, and shallow space 
Each aperture: 4'7" by 12'4" 
Viewable at the Chateau Front Desk and Concierge Desk

Fontainebleau Hotel’s original architect Morris Lapidus broke with the conventions of his times to create what he called “an architecture of joy.” Fontainebleau has since been recognized as a masterpiece of Modernist architecture, but Modernism with an edge, and with plenty of humor and plenty of art. Fontainebleau Miami Beach was honored and voted #1 in the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects, “Florida Architecture: 100 Years, 100 Places.”

James Turrell’s work involves explorations in light and space that speak to viewers without words, impacting the eye, body, and mind simultaneously. His subject is infinity. “I want to create an atmosphere that can be consciously plumbed with seeing,” says the artist, “like the wordless thought that comes from looking in a fire.” Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell’s work allows us to see ourselves “seeing.” Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming interior spaces with his light works, Turrell’s art places viewers in a realm of pure experience.

Turrell has been the subject of more than 140 solo exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide. Since 1968, he has been the recipient of 19 major awards in the arts, including The MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1984. Turrell has also spent the last 35 years transforming an extinct volcano in Arizona’s Painted Desert— Roden Crater—into a celestial observatory that will compete with Stonehenge and the Mayan temples as perhaps the greatest conduit between man and the heavens conceived in modern times. Six pieces from James Turrell’s most recent and most technologically advanced series of light works have been specially commissioned for the lobby area of Fontainebleau® Miami Beach. The Tall Glass series consists of specially programmed LED panels behind etched glass. Over the course of several hours, each Tall Glass work subtly shifts through a constantly changing cycle of color themes and patterns. The physical apparatus of the installation is completely invisible, and as a result, the viewer sees nothing but mesmerizing, meditative fields of colored light.

The Tall Glass works commissioned for Fontainebleau® are historic in three ways: they are the first horizontal Tall Glass works created by Turrell; the single work in the VIP Alcove is the first ever curved Tall Glass work; and the remaining five pieces – one triptych and one diptych behind the main reception and concierge desks, respectively— are the first multi-panel Tall Glass works. No other installations of Turrell’s are integrated with such drama into a commercial space. Fontainebleau® Miami Beach thus stakes its claim in art history.