Leslie Rankow Fine Arts


Airport, please! Australia welcomes Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Narcissus Garden

Narcissus Garden
Yayoi Kusama
Sydney Museum of Art

Yayoi Kusama is known for her immersive installations that carry the viewer into a sense of the infinite. Her work’s appearance at galleries all over the globe attract queues of viewers looking to snap up a coveted IG pic or to simply lean in to the void and feel swallowed up by the eternal.

Narcissus Garden, one of Kusama’s many famous works, has had many incarnations over the years and is now floating in to Sydney on a mini tour of our city’s historical buildings and museums. The installation siphons Kusama’s obsession with infinity (and, well, dots) into a series of high-shine orbs that reflect the surrounding visible world and each other in a never-ending loop. True to the Greek myth that the installation takes its’ title, you can see your own reflection in the many balls of Narcissus Garden.

Adding to the reflective concept of Narcissus Garden is the colonial context in which it is being exhibited. Sydney Living Museums (SLM) is bringing the work to Museum of Sydney and then on to the heritage haunts of Vaucluse House and Elizabeth Bay House. The intention is for the viewers’ reflections to extend beyond themselves and the room in which it is installed also to reflect the historical style and architecture of these colonial spaces.


Named after a myth by Ovid named Echo and Narcissus, Kusama’s intention was for everyone to appreciate their appearance. According to the myth, Narcissus stood over a body of water and, upon looking at his feet, saw his reflection. So beautiful was his reflection in the mirror that he was unable to turn away.. By creating these orbs, Kusama is empowering you to see your own reflection and, in turn, fall in love with it.

In these strange times of distancing and isolation, it is particularly positive if you appreciate and care for yourself.


Essay by Danielle Shang

Today there are few female artists who are more visible to a wide range of international audiences than Yayoi Kusama, who was born in 1929 in Japan. Kusama is a self-taught artist who now chooses to live in a private Tokyo mental health facility, while prolifically producing art in various media in her studio nearby. Her highly constructed persona and self-proclaimed life-long history of insanity have been the subject of scrutiny and critiques for decades.

Yayoi Kusama
Infinity Room


Kusama arrived in New York City from Japan in 1958 and immediately approached dealers and artists alike to promote her work. Within the first few years she began to exhibit and associate herself with seminal artists and critics, such as Donald Judd, Joseph Cornell, Yves Klein, and Lucio Fontana who later was instrumental in her realizing Narcissus Garden.

In 1965, she mounted her first mirror installation Infinity Mirror Room-Phalli’s Field at Castellane Gallery in New York. A mirrored room without a ceiling was filled with colorfully dotted, phallus-like stuffed objects on the floor. The repeated reflections in the mirrors conveyed the illusion of a continuous sea of multiplied phalli expanding to its infinity. This playful and erotic exhibition immediately attracted the media’s attention.


In 1966 at the 33rd Venice Biennale, Kusama was not officially invited to exhibit. She did receive encouragement and financial support from the great Italian Arte Povera artist, Lucio Fontana and permission from the chairman of the Biennale Committee to stage 1,500 mass-produced plastic silver globes on the lawn outside the Italian Pavilion.

The tightly arranged 1,500 shimmering balls constructed an infinite reflective field in which the images of the artist, the visitors, the architecture, and the landscape were repeated, distorted, and projected by the convex mirror surfaces that produced virtual images appearing closer and smaller than reality. The size of each sphere was similar to that of a fortune-teller’s crystal ball. When gazing into it, the viewer only saw his/her own reflection staring back, forcing a confrontation with one’s own vanity and ego.

Kusama at the Venice Biennale
Narcissus Garden, 1966

During the opening week, Kusama placed two signs at the installation: “NARCISSUS GARDEN, KUSAMA” and “YOUR NARCISSIUM [sic] FOR SALE” on the lawn. Acting like a street peddler, she sold the mirror balls to passersby for two dollars each. Her interactive performance and installation received international press coverage. This original installation of Narcissus Garden from 1966 has often been interpreted as Kusama’s commentary on the commercialization of art.


New York Botanical Gardens
Narcissus Garden




Airport, please! A visit to the impeccable Axel Vervoordt’s Hong Kong gallery

Chung Chang-Sap

For more than half a century, Axel Vervoordt’s relationship to art and antiques has been a way for him to share his flawless perception and aesthetic. He believes the best way to fully inhabit a space is to be surrounded by architecture, furniture, art, and objects that represent the honesty of their materials and the purity of intent in their creation.


Axel Vervoordt Gallery space, Hong Kong

In March 2019, Vervoordt, a legendary antiquaire, art dealer, architect and true visionary, who integrates the best of the past with a minimal sensibility of the present, announced a move to a new gallery space in Wong Chuk Hang. Five years after opening his first overseas venue in a prime location in Central Hong Kong’s Entertainment Building, Axel Vervoordt Gallery relocated to an expanded two-level space in Wong Chuk Hang, the dynamic artistic hub on the south part of Hong Kong Island. 


From February 6 to May 8th, the extraordinary space is dedicated to an exhibition of the uniquely resonant paintings and objects by Korean artist, Chung Chang-Sup, (1927-2011), a leading member of the Dansaekha movement that began in South Korea in the 1970s. The pioneers of Dansaekhwa were born between 1913 and 1936. They rejected any references to Western representation in their work creating primarily monochrome and minimalist paintings. The artists also attempted to break away from the legacy of Japanese imperialism and Western abstraction. Their influence and presence in the international art market has grown thanks to the exhibitions at such galleries as Blum & Poe and Tina Kim, and of course Axel Vervoordt.

CHUNG Chang-Sup

Chung Chang-Sup

Chung Chang-Sup is a prominent figure of the Dansaekhwa monochrome movement, a synthesis of traditional Korean spirit and Western abstraction, which emerged in the early 1970s. His oeuvre reflects his Taoist belief that the artist must balance material and nature in the unified act of making in order to reach harmony.

After the world has suffered from the effects of the pandemic, feeling constricted at best, isolated, alone, and vulnerable economically and physically at worst, an exhibition of the quietly transformative beauty and peace found in the work of Chung Chang-Sup is more meaningful than ever.


Dansaekhwa, which remains a driving force in Korean contemporary art, has gained international recognition over the past few years. Although the Korean monochrome painting style has never been defined with a manifesto, the artists affiliated with it primarily share a restricted palette of neutral hues—namely white, beige, and black—hence the umbrella term dansaekhwa (single color). However, monochrome as such has not been the main focus nor the raison d’être of any of the Dansaekhwa leaders, whose unique ascetic vocabularies led to an overall aesthetics that is formally comparable to that of Western minimalism: process prevails. Artists of the Eastern Dansaekhwa movement and Western minimalism reacted to the intensity and gesture of abstract expressionism and sought to clear art of self-expression or the emotional outpouring that single strokes and vibrant colors evoke.

The term Dansaekhwa, or “monochrome painting,” may elude readers unfamiliar with Korean, but it represents arguably Korea’s most important art movement of the late 20th century. The artists who practiced this approach to painting began to emerge in the early 1970s, when the Republic of Korea was still under a military dictatorship. They included Park Seo-bo, Ha Chong-hyun, Yun Hyong-keun, Kim Whanki, Chung Chang-sup, Chung Sang-hwa, and Lee Ufan, among others. These painters were dissatisfied with the cultural lassitude in South Korea and began painting in a manner that challenged the normative aesthetic to which most Koreans were accustomed. At the outset, the artists worked independently without a group name or identity. It wasn’t until a 2000 exhibition at the Gwangju City Art Museum that the term Dansaekhwa was introduced.

The appearance of the word coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Gwangju uprising, an important moment in modern Korean history when protesters took to the streets to defy the military dictatorship in control at that time. In many respects this uprising was comparable to the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing nearly a decade later. Similarly, in Gwangju, armed soldiers opened fire on students and ordinary citizens in a series of clashes that cost  hundreds of lives. This sad but decisive historical event is generally cited as the end of the military government in South Korea and the beginning of a free democracy as the Republic is known today. Throughout the 1970s, prior to the Gwangju uprising, the oppressive regime was a binding force in the underground among the Dansaekhwa artists in Seoul.


The LRFA blog is whispering Airport, Please! in honor of the quiet beauty of this exhibit.


Airport, please! Artfields, a town in South Carolina, transformed into a cultural destination, reopens after the pandemic

April 23 – May 1, 2021

We believe art is a field that endures—through flourish and fallow. …Artfields

Spring has finally arrived. A time of regeneration. And there is nothing that represents the symbol of regeneration more than the town of Lake City, South Carolina. Today, the LRFA blog travels to a small town in South Carolina, by plane to Florence, SC and then 20 minutes by car, for an overwhelmingly engaging experience: ARTFIELDS: 2021, April 23-May 1st.

Artfields mural

The town itself, every shop, restaurant, The Inn at the Crossroads, the Library, the McNair Space Center, as well as three large gallery exhibition spaces established since Artfields was founded, is transformed into both indoor and outside spaces that display art, installation, video, sculpture, painting, photography, murals, and craft.


Darla Moore

Conceived and founded by visionary investor and philanthropist, Darla Moore, Artfields started in 2013 with a simple goal: to honor the artists of the 12 Southeastern states launching a phenomenal  annual art competition and festival to transform her once small, poor rural hometown into a thriving cultural destination. Passionate about the state of South Carolina and its rich legacy, Darla founded the Moore School of Business in its capital, Columbia, to further her commitment to education, in 2019 she endowed the Continuum, a 46,000 square foot center for tech education and workforce development in Lake City.

Moore Farms Botanical Garden

She founded and chairs the Palmetto Institute, a nonprofit think tank aimed at bolstering per capita income in South Carolina. She is the founder and chair of The Charleston Parks Conservancy, a foundation focused on enhancing the parks and public spaces of the City of Charleston, to highlight just a few of the commitments she has made to support and transform her beloved hometown and state.

Jones-Carter Gallery

The competition and exhibition offers over $100,000 in cash prizes. The winners of two People’s Choice Awards are determined by the votes of people visiting ArtFields; a panel of art professionals selects all the other awards, including the $50,000 Grand Prize and $25,000 Second Place award. Winners of the competition have had life-altering opportunities to engage in inspiring foreign travel, to exhibit in other venues and to develop their potential as professional artists.

Jamieson Kerr
Director, Artfields Collective

Up to 400 works of art are on display in locally-owned venues, from renovated 1920s warehouses and professional art spaces such as Jones-Carter Gallery and TRAX Visual Art Center to the library, the history museum, the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center, restaurants, boutiques and other shops. During ArtFields, Lake City, once one of South Carolina’s most prosperous agricultural communities, becomes a living art gallery as they recognize, celebrate and share the artistic talent of the Southeast.

Carla Angus
Education and Program Manager

As a visible way to show the power of art to revitalize and invigorate, the ArtFields Collective commissions artworks each year to enhance overlooked corners of the town. The Collective has commissioned over 9 murals and sculptures and an additional 9 artworks have been commissioned and contributed by other involved donors.

The ArtFields Collective is living, breathing proof of the power of art, a reminder that its beauty and soul and energy live within each of us—even in the harshest of seasons. In these divided and divisive times, Lake City’s Artfields has integrated its black and white, young and old, residents into a united, engaged community, working together to choose artworks, to welcome visitors and school groups to exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year  and to enjoy the rewards of living in the thriving town of Lake City.

Make ARTFIELDS a destination during the festival or at any time of the year. It is truly an enlightening, moving (and fun!) experience.

Lake City, South Carolina

Have a look at a huge selection of talent in this year’s competition!



Airport, please! Gagosian London reopens an extraordinary exhibit by Rachel Whiteread

Gagosian Gallery London
Grosvenor Hill

We’ve taken digital gallery hopping for granted, looking online at a great many exhibitions instead of seeing them in person and telling ourselves we “saw” the show. A familiarity with the theme of an exhibit, a new direction a familiar artist is exploring, seemed to suffice. Now that we have been so long deprived from an easy access to museums and galleries, the level of anticipation of viewing works in person is truly appreciated. Long may this last, a renewed appreciation of seeing contemporary shows in person and a significant increase in the very old habit of spending a day on the Lower East Side or Chelsea, or Mayfair or the Marais.

This week, London galleries have reopened from the pandemic quarantine with some extraordinary exhibitions. Airport, please! First stop, Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects, at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill. At last, a lockdown masterpiece, says The Guardian, in a recent article by Jonathan Jones reviewing the exhibition in London. As many of us have struggled with metaphorical ghosts in the loneliness and unease of lockdown, Rachel Whiteread has confronted her Ghost, a work she created in 1990, an icon of a new approach to sculpture, purchased by collector Charles Saatchi. Whiteread is celebrated for her ability to poetically capture the memory of a space.

Rachel Whiteread
Ghost, 1990
Plaster cast

In Internal Objects, Whiteread had revisited this early work during the lockdown, creating two remarkable new works, Poltergeist and Doppelganger. These works were not cast but assembled, two derelict exploding structures, shattered and abandoned, unified by being painted overall in a pure white.

The Guardian, Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects.


Rachel Whiteread


Dame Rachel Whiteread (born 20 April 1963) is an English artist who primarily produces sculptures, which typically take the form of casts. She was the first woman to win the annual Turner Prize in 1993.

Whiteread was one of the Young British Artists who exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Sensation exhibition in 1997. Among her most renowned works are House, a large concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian house; the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, resembling the shelves of a library with the pages turned outwards; and Untitled Monument, her resin sculpture for the empty fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2006 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to art.

Bio, Tate Modern


Ghost (1990) was Whiteread’s first large-scale sculpture and set in motion the ambitious, architecturally scaled works for which she is widely recognized today. Made by filling a room of a Victorian house in North London with concrete to create a solid cast that picks up the details of the walls, mantle, and windows, Ghost is a positive room-sized object that reveals itself gradually, as one encircles the huge form. Whiteread expanded on this working method in House (1993; destroyed 1994), cast from an entire Victorian terrace house. Whiteread created this work after all the other terraces in the row had been demolished, and it stood alone as a reminder of the working-class homes that once spanned the street. The sculpture sparked heated debates around issues of real estate, class divisions, and urban sprawl.

Gagosian Gallery, artist biography 



20 Grosvenor Hill has transformed a dated office building into a striking double height, day-lit gallery space. The entire 21,800 sq ft development has been let to the globally renowned Gagosian Gallery.

British architects TateHindle designed the exterior of the building replacing the old 1990s façade with handmade Roman bricks in a blue-grey palette. The design achieves a contemporary feel while also complementing the building’s historical context.

Award-winning architecture practice Caruso St. John created the interior scheme having previously designed galleries for Gagosian in Rome and Paris.

Grosvenor Hill and the surrounding area has been associated with the arts since the 1870s when Sir Coutts Lindsay opened the Grosvenor Gallery.  Gagosian Gallery at 20 Grosvenor Hill builds on this rich heritage.

Airport, please! Palazzo Luce showcases Italian design and art

Palazzo Luce

Opening this spring in the Italian region of Puglia, Palazzo Luce is a splendid Baroque palace, a triumph of art and design, a superb holiday residence in a historic city. A project conceived by a Milan collector, Anna Maria Enselmi, a collector of Italian design since the mid-nineties, Palazzo Luce is now open to the public showing this impeccable design and furniture collection and showcasing art that includes site-specific commissions curated by Italy’s powerhouse dealer, Lia Rumma.

William Kentridge
Head (Man Looking Left), 2017

The 20th Century furniture and international art are integrated into the renovated Palazzo dei Conti di Lecce, a sprawling 18th-century jewel with 13th-century foundations, located just behind the Duomo in Lecce, Puglia’s baroque capital. All of this is set in the context of an exceptional architectural restoration, in which antique maiolica tiles and fresco detailing, gilded and painted cornices and doors have been preserved, as has a walled garden with views over the city’s Roman amphitheatre.

David Tremlett
site-specific fresco

Every installation and juxtaposition of furniture and art is carefully conceived. While Enselmi may have steered the wishlist, the de facto artistic direction belongs largely to Rumma. “Nothing in this house is in its place by chance,” Enselmi says. “For Lia, the interactions between each work with the others, and within the environment, had to be flawless.

Everything is both reasoned and felt.” She cites the installment of 10 vintage gelatin prints of Marcel Duchamp, taken in 1972 by Ugo Mulas, as an example of that rigor: “She spent four solid hours on her feet while she shuffled the sequence. Not once did her concentration waver.”

This intersection of old and new is perfection personified. A stay at the Palazzo Luce will make the restrictions of Covid-19 a faded memory.


Gio Ponti
1940s chairs and table



Anna Maria Enselmi’s passion for design started as a student in Brera, at the heart of Milan’s design center, where she studied at the Brera Academy. A dedicated collector, Anna Maria Enselmi’s level of commitment and passion for Italian design is exemplified not only at the Palazzo Lecce but in her apartment in the Brera district of Milan. The former ballerina has been “captured” by design since she was a child. Instead of dolls and bracelets, I bought furniture magazines and I cut out the pieces I liked, and created binders with the title ‘I’ll have them’.



Lia Rumma Gallery was founded in Naples in 1971 with the solo show The Eighth Investigation by Joseph Kosuth. Since its inception, the gallery has played a fundamental role in discovering new artistic trends emerging from the international art scene such as Arte Povera, Minimal Art, Land Art and Conceptual Art and exhibiting emerging and prominent artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Haim Steinbach, Alberto Burri, Thomas Ruff, Anselm Kiefer, and William Kentridge.

The gallery has created a vibrant collaboration with galleries, curators, critics and collectors that has led to international prestigious events in museums and institutions both in Italy and abroad that include Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces inaugurated in 2004 at Hangar Bicocca in Milan; William Kentridge’s exhibitions Tapestries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2007) and at Capodimonte Museum in Naples (2009).

In 2010 a solo show by Italian renown artist Ettore Spalletti launched the opening of a new three level gallery space in Milan.


Puglia, a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. Capital Bari is an active port and university town, while Lecce is known as “Florence of the South” for its baroque architecture. Alberobello and the Itria Valley are home to “trulli,” stone huts with distinctive conical roofs. 

Airport, please! We’re off to Maryland, to experience Glenstone, a synergy of great art, architecture and nature

Glenstone Museum

Guided by the personal vision of its founders, Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales, Glenstone is a private contemporary art museum located in Potomac, Maryland, just 15 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.

Glenstone founders
Emily and Mitchell Rales

Glenstone opened its doors to the public in 2006 and has provided discerning visitors with an experience of great art housed in a phenomenal architectural series of building in a beautiful setting. Glenstone seamlessly integrates art, architecture and nature into a serene and contemplative environment. A great destination at any time, now that spring is here and given the seemingly endless restrictions of the covid-19 virus, Glenstone offers a memorable and safe outdoor experience.

Richard Serra

The art collection assembles post-World War II artworks of the highest quality that trace the greatest historical shifts in the way we experience and understand art of the 20th and 21st centuries. These works are presented in a series of refined indoor and outdoor spaces designed to facilitate meaningful direct encounters with the works.

Charles Ray
Horse Rider

The Gallery was designed by the legendary architect, Charles Gwathmey, a founding partner of Gwathmey Siegel. In addition, the Pavilions offer 50,000 additional square feet of exhibition space featuring changing shows focused on the work of a single artist.

The Pavilions Water Court

Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the eleven Rooms are unique, some hosting changing exhibitions and others conceived to show a particular artist’s work, thus deepening our understanding of the scope and breadth of the work and its place in the history of 20th and 21st Century art.

Michael Heizer

The rooms are connected by an enclosed passage that looks out onto an 18,000 square foot water court offering the viewer a chance to enjoy nature as well with its cultivation of seasonally changing plant life. In addition, 300 acres of landscape offer a thoughtfully conceived setting for the remarkable art and architecture that includes paths, trails, streams, meadows and forests as well as the extraordinary collection of contemporary outdoor sculpture.

Ellsworth Kelly

Next week, on April 8th, the museum will open its first touring exhibition of the works of the pioneer artist/quilt maker, Faith Ringgold. The collection of Glenstone Museum includes some of Faith Ringgold’s most politically powerful, flag inspired works. The paintings speak to America’s violent history of racism and injustice. Glenstone is the only venue in the United States for the exhibition which travels on to London’s Serpentine Museum and Sweden’s Bildmuseet.

“Faith Ringgold’s powerful depictions of the African American experience are as arresting today as they were when she first started making art nearly 60 years ago,” Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone, said in a statement. Rales, who is curating the Glenstone exhibition, continued: “Her art has had a strong presence at the museum ever since we displayed one of her iconic paintings in our inaugural installation at the Pavilions in 2018, so it only seemed fitting for Faith Ringgold to be the first touring exhibition hosted at Glenstone. We are thrilled to collaborate with the Serpentine and the Bildmuseet in touring this major retrospective around the world, and in bringing it to American audiences.”

Faith Ringgold
Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima?

In the South, many of the quilts made during the Civil War were made by African-America slaves on plantations. As an artist concerned with feminism and racem Ringgold had immersed herself in creating story quilts as an expression that acknowledges both cultural and personal history. Domestic arts—sewing, quilting, weaving—have long been associated with women, and her quilting reflects the folk traditions and the struggles and achievements of Black women.

All the more reason to make Glenstone a destination this spring!

Faith Ringgold The American Collection#6 The Flag is Bleeding #2, 1997

Protected: Airport, please! It’s spring break and we’re heading to Aspen, skiing, snowboarding and art.

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Heading west, with Airport, please! to the Desert X 2021 Art Biennial in Coachella Valley, CA

Coachella Valley, California
Nicholas Galanino
Indian Land

“As much as the desert is a state of place, it is also a state of mind. Its borders are not singular but multiple, and it is defined as much by social geography as physical boundary.”

Neville Wakefield

Ghada Amer
Women’s Qualities

The call of the outdoors, warmer weather and the austere beauty of Coachella Valley, California, are overwhelmingly tempting reasons to head west, to see the third edition of Desert X, a massive exhibition featuring large-scaled  site-specific works by artists who explore the desert as both a place and an idea.

Alicia Kwade
ParaPivot (sempiternal clouds)

Desert X is amongst one of the first art experiences in the region since the lockdown. Apart from the artist projects it has commissioned, DX21 offers a safe viewing experience for public art. The works explore the reality of those who live in the desert and the socio-political context that shapes their lives. Curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield, and co-curator Cesar Garcia Alavarez, Desert X 2021 features many newly commissioned works that challenge our society’s conventions while imagining a shared future. As we, at long last, see an end to the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic, this seems the perfect moment for these sculptural installations.

Eduardo Sarabia
The Passenger

Participating artists include Ghada Amer, Judy Chicago, Alicja Kwade, Oscar Murillo, and many others commissioned specifically for this project built on themes explored in previous iterations, looker deeply at ideas essential to the sustainability of our future, our identity and our history.

DX21 acknowledges the Cahuilla People as the original stewards of the land and pays its respects to the Cahuilla nation, past, present and emerging, whose identity is linked with the Coachella Valley since its inception. Projects will explore the themes of land rights and ownership, the desert as border, migration, and the racial narratives of the West.

Serge Attukwei Clottey
The Wishing Well

Neville Wakefield is a distinguished curator interested in exploring the ways in which art behaves outside of institutional venues. This interest led him to co-found Elevation1049, a site-specific biennial in Gstaad, Switzerland, and, for the last three years, to organize the recurring Desert X exhibitions in the Coachella Valley region of Southern California. As senior curatorial advisor for PS1 MoMA and curator of Frieze Projects, he gained a reputation for challenging the conditions that shape art in both commercial and noncommercial contexts. He has worked extensively with international institutions, including the Schaulager in Basel where he curated the Matthew Barney retrospective Prayer Sheet with the Wound and the Nail.

Kim Stringfellow
Jackrabbit Homestead

The LRFA blog recommends a stay at Two Bunch Palms, a contemporary wellness escape, famous for its lithium rich geothermal hot springs and lush grounds.  You’ll return to our constrained daily life truly refreshed.

Two Bunch Palms

Airport, please! James Turrell’s Skyspaces: down memory lane in today’s LRFA Blog post


Live Oak Quaker Meeting House
Houston, Texas


The LRFA Blog is looking forward to the James Turrell installation at Mass MoCA that opens in May.

“I can make the sky any color you choose.” — James Turrell

Thirty years in the making, James Turrell’s largest free-standing circular Skyspace opens on the MASS MoCA campus in May 2021. Measuring 40 feet in diameter and 40 feet high, this repurposed concrete water tank transforms into one of Turrell’s signature immersive light installations, carving out a small piece of the sky and framing it as a canvas with infinite depth. Skyspace joins Into the Light, a long-term retrospective of Turrell’s work, making MASS MoCA the only North American institution offering a comprehensive overview of the artist’s career.

The LRFA blog was reminded of a marvelous adventure a long time ago in Houston, when Texas seemed a safer destination than now. Then, any and all art-related trips were welcome, some spontaneous, most planned, to include client visits, seeing collections, visiting galleries and heading to the local museums. A memorable and beloved detour was a trip to the outskirts of the city of Houston. As an avid James Turrell fan, I was determined to visit as many of Turrell’s Skyspaces as possible, and also to pay tribute to a great client and friend who had visited Turrell’s Roden Crater and commissioned the artist to create a skyspace at his children’s school, The Greenwich Academy, in Connecticut.

The Skyspace project at Live Oak Friends Meeting House was completed in 2001 and incorporates two James Turrell installations. The first, Meeting House 2000, later re-named One Accord,  is open to the sky in clear weather. The second installation, called Night Piece, uses neon lights to simulate the evening sky. Created by James Turrell — one of the most important artists to pioneer the use of light as a medium, and himself a Quaker – the Skyspace is designed to allow viewers to experience what Turrell has called “a light that inhabits space, so that you feel light to be physically present.”

Quaker ideas about light are integral to Turrell’s practice.

“We use the vocabulary of light to describe a spiritual experience. One of the tenets in Quaker meditation is that you ‘go inside to greet the light.’ I am interested in this light that’s inside greeting the light that’s outside.”

Recommended reading: Art21’s Interview with Turrell on the Live Oak Quaker Meeting House.



James Turrell was born into a devout Quaker family in Los Angeles in 1943. He tells a story of sitting in the Quaker meeting house with his grandmother when he was five or six years old. When everyone closed their eyes at the beginning of the meeting, he asked his grandmother what they were supposed to be doing. She told him: “Just wait, we’re going inside to greet the light.'”

Turrell was part of a generation accustomed to enormous advancements in technology and the excitement of the space race. In 1968 and 1969, he, along with artist Robert Irwin, worked on the Art and Technology program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with Ed Wortz, a scientist at a Southern California aerospace firm. Turrell was considered a member of the Light and Space Movement, that includes Mary Corse and Larry Bell.

James Turrell
Roden Crater

The Roden Crater, though unfinished, has already been transformed over the past thirty years into a celestial observatory that intertwines art, architecture, and astronomy. Roden Crater is a 380,000-year-old extinct volcano in Arizona’s Painted Desert that Turrell acquired in the late 1970s. The land artist has spent nearly 50 years turning into his largest Skyspace  project yet, removing millions of cubic yards of earth to change its shape, and adding tunnels and chambers from which to view the sky. When completed, the project will contain 21 viewing spaces and six tunnels. While this project is not yet open to the public, several smaller projects of independent architectural spaces (Skyspaces) emulate chambers in the Roden Crater. Over 100 Skyspaces can be viewed in museums and countries across the world. Kanye West’s film Jesus is King, allowed us a glimpse into the Roden Crater since it served as the location for the film.

Jesus is King
Kanye West
Roden Crater


The LRFA blog recommends a pilgrimage to visit as many of James Turrell’s Skyscapes as possible, for now at least online. A very good Rx for the isolating and claustrophobic effects of quarantine restriction.



Airport, please! to see Bill Viola’s Journey of the Soul at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow


The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts Moscow, Russia

Good morning! Grab your coat. It’s bitter cold in New York and, interestingly, slightly warmer in Moscow.

Airport, please! is excited to be heading to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts to see the extraordinary video master, Bill Viola, The Journey of the Soul. This exhibition represents the first solo presentation of Viola’s work in Russia and the first significant exhibition of media art at the Pushkin Museum. Who better to represent this artistic genre than the pioneer of media art, Bill Viola?

The Pushkin State Museum

Bill Viola, The Journey of the Soulis part of the ongoing “Pushkin XXI” project, which focuses on bringing together classical tradition and contemporary practice to offer new ways of engaging with art. Since the early 1970s, Viola has used video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.

Bill Viola
Fire Woman

Bill Viola has been instrumental in establishing video as a vital form of contemporary art, and in expanding its scope in terms of technology, content, and historical reach. Bill Viola, The Journey of the Soul is curated by Olga Shishko, Head of Cinema and Media Art Department, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and Kira Perov, Executive Director, Bill Viola Studio.


Bill Viola
Martyrs (Earth, Fire, Water, Air)

More than 20 signature artworks presented in the exhibition were created in the period from 2000 to 2014. They demonstrate the artist’s mastering of moving image technology.  In the Museum’s main exhibition halls, visitors will see for the first time such large-scale works as Fire Woman (2005), Catherine’s Room (2001), The Quintet of the Astonished (2000) and four works from the Martyrs series (2014). This retrospective of Viola’s work of the last 14 years was curated by the Head of Cinema and Media Art Department, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Executive Director of the Bill Viola Studio.

For further information, contact James Cohen Gallery, New York, astuart@jamescohan.com


Bill Viola is a recognized master who has been a pioneer of video art since the 1970s. One of the most influential American artists living today, for more than four decades he has been creating single-channel videotapes, video and sound installations, acoustical environments, as well as media works that accompany large-scale concerts and opera productions. Viola represented the USA at the Venice Biennale in 1995; selected solo exhibitions were held at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1997), the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2003), the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2006), the Grand Palais, Paris (2014), the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2017), the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (2017), the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2019), the Busan Museum of Art, South Korea (2020); and in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) (2014), and the video-triptych Mary(2016) were installed as permanent installations.

Bill Viola
Catherine’s Room


The Pushkin Museum of the Fine Arts is the largest museum of European art in Moscow, located on Volkhonka Street, opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The building was designed by Roman Klein and Vladimir Shukhov and its construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1912. Its permanent collection of French art once belonged to the legendary Moscow collectors, Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov, and represents one of the most famous collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist and avant-garde art of the 20th Century, featuring masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso.

The Pushkin State Museum