I have been looking forward to checking out this installation for quite a while. James Turrell is an enigmatic American artist I had read about a couple of years ago when I was living in the US (really good NY times article here). He has been working on turning a huge crater in Arizona into a vast piece of art. He takes commissions around the world to finance work on the crater which has been going for 30+ years. This was his first work in Australia and seeing as how we were spending Christmas in the Southern Highlands it was only going to be another 90 minutes down the Hume to the National Gallery.
Well I wasn't to be disappointed here. This is an amazing piece of work and must be seen to be truly appreciated. Turrell is famous for his 'skyspaces' which are basically big rooms with a hole in the roof. His one in Canberra is called "Within without" and is located inside a big earthen pyramid on the site of the old carpark. You go down a path inside the pyramid and see this big stone stupa inside, this is where the viewing room is. It would be great to be here at dawn or dusk but we enjoyed our visit in the early afternoon.
A great way to end the year art wise. Points - 3 for Turrell, if I had the cash (and the space) I would want a skyspace. 2 for the NGA - thumbs up for commissioning this new work. 1 point to my little art critics who were reasonably well behaved on our visit (and didn't splash in the reflecting pool too much!)