Color into Light

James Turrell, “The Light Inside”, 1999. Electric lights, wires, metal and paint, site-specific permanent installation at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Color into Light opened today at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). The exhibition of approximately 90 works explores the ways that artists have used color as a “liberating force,” from the “high modernist era of the 1940s and 1950s to today’s digital revolutions.” By embracing artists who have worked across the globe, the show offers alternative ways to tell the story of Modernism.

A section of the exhibition specifically dealing with perception and illusion begins with Acro (1968), an installation by James Turrell (Season 1). This piece is new to the MFAH collection and, like other works by the artist, uses projected light to create the illusion of tangible form and explore the phenomenology of perception. Turrell’s The Light Inside (pictured here) was commissioned by MFAH in 1999. The work is made to transform the walls of a tunnel between the Museum’s Beck and Law Buildings into vessels for conducting light. The passageway is thus “an exploration of color and space.” Color into Light is on view in the Law Building through March 22, 2009.

Nicole J. Caruth is managing editor of the ART21 Magazine. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including ARTnews, C Magazine, Gastronomica, Public Art Review, and the Phaidon Press books Vitamin Green and Vitamin D2. A regular contributor to this site since 2008, she joined the ART21 staff in 2013.
  1. Looks awesome wish I could check it out!


  2. Makenzie says:

    It was AMAZING!


  3. As an artist intrigued with light, color and form (or the illusion of form), I’d love to have seen this.


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