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The Art of Light + Space


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Table of Contents

7 Preface 8 Introduction 17 Robert Irwin 67 James Turrell 95 Maria Nordman 117 Douglas Wheeler 131 Bruce Nauman 151 Eric Orr 175 Larry Bell 189 DeWain Valentine 205 Susan Kaiser Vogel 219 Hap Tivey 245 Afterword 247 Notes 254 Acknowledgements 256 Selected Bibliography 266 Index

About the Author

Jan Butterfield is currently head of Access, a consulting firm for artists in Santa Monica, California. Previously she was executive director of Lapis Press and public relations director for the Fort Worth Art Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A well-known art critic, she has contributed to Art in America, Artnews, and many other publications; she is also the author of numerous catalogs. Jim McHugh, who is a contributing photographer with People magazine, lives in Los Angeles and has been photographing artists for the last ten years.


Light and Space, a movement originating in California in the 1960s, defined its art by its very experiential existence and usually consisted of ephemeral installations. The task of documenting and critiquing this work, now seen throughout the world, is admirably handled by Butterfield, head of a Santa Monica consulting firm for artists. Using a combination of installation photographs, comments by artists and critics, and language that captures the works' evocative nature without lapsing into meaningless jargon, she focuses on ten key artists and through their work traces the development of Light and Space art from its early, experimental phase to its mature expressions and present acceptance in the form of major public commissions. Highly recommended for collections of contemporary art.-- Martin R. Kalfatovic, Natl. Museum of American Art/Natl. Portrait Gallery Lib., Smithsonian Inst., Washington, D.C.

Light and Space art, a movement that began in Southern California in the late 1960s, uses glass, cast acrylic, phosphorescent materials, floor lights and so forth to evoke the ripple of sunshine on water, the flicker of light through the trees, a splash of moonlight. In this profusely illustrated, entrancing survey, art critic and artists' consultant Butterfield investigates an art that takes shape through the viewer's directed perception. Examples include Robert Irwin's mysterious, luminous spun-aluminum discs, Maria Nordman's geometrically planted trees that redefine public spaces, James Turrell's hovering three-dimensional cube of light and Eric Orr's transmutation of alchemy, Egyptian ruins and kabbalistic lore into ``silent, awesome, magical'' installations and environmental sculpture. This album showcases a movement that deserves to be better known. (July)

"Light and Space art is the meditative, austerely sensual wing of conceptual art, and Jan Butterfield knows it better than anyone. The Art of Light and Space documents a highly elusive genre about as skillfully as it can be done, through rich description, interviews, extracts from the artists writings, philosophical epigraphs, and on-site photography...Butterfield's blend of history and criticism has great personal immediacy; her ability to convey the impact of these powerful but ephemeral works without forcing them into any mold is admirable." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

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