Site Plan, Roden Crater II
Not on view
Sheet: 16 × 25 7/8in. (40.6 × 65.7 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Jack E. Chachkes Bequest
Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate
In his gallery-based work, James Turrell explores the play of natural and artificial light in controlled architectural spaces. “There is no object and there is no image,” says Turrell, speaking as both engineer and philosopher. “I use the material of light in its tangible, physical presence, [but] my medium is your perception.” The perception of light is the subject of the Roden Crater Project, a celestial observatory the artist built in an extinct Arizona volcano. He discovered the Roden Crater while performing an aerial survey in 1974, bought it in 1979, and has been working on it ever since. Site Plan, Roden Crater II is a mixed media composite of the crater. This photography-based image shows an aerial perspective of the crater, whose opening is 3,000 feet in diameter and which incorporates underground viewing chambers that Turrell has built inside the volcano. From within the crater, visitors can see light from stars billions of years old creating an array of perceptual and spatial illusions.