James Turrell's New York-based Skyspace installation Meeting, a permanent installation housed inside MoMA PS1, has reopened after being closed for six months due to scaffolding from a neighboring Long Island City development temporarily obstructing the piece.
The piece, which was the first of Turrell's in the United States (it has been there since the '80s), features a rectangular hole in the ceiling, an unobstructed aperture revealing a sublime slice of sky. It's framed by undulating LED lights which change in tune with the sun's movements, making the sky and everything around you appear to shift optically.
In January, Gothamist reported that there was an obstruction, pictured in the photographs above and below, protruding from the gargantuan high-rises going up across the street from PS1, at 22-44 Jackson Avenue (residential buildings which replaced the former legendary graffiti haven 5Pointz).
PS1 then confirmed to Gothamist that "after further conversation with James Turrell, we have closed Meeting at the artist’s request and it will remain closed until the temporary construction scaffolding is no longer visible from the work."
Neighboring development can be seen poking through this Turrell piece. Used with permission by Edwin Allen.
That work is now done, and the exhibit was officially reopened Thursday morning. “The construction elevator was recently removed, so the view is no longer obstructed,” the museum’s director of marketing and communications, Molly Kurzius, told the Times.
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Summer sunsets courtesy of James Turrell🌄 . Thanks for reopening it! @momaps1💥 #skyspace #meeting #jamesturrell #moma #summer #sunsets #summerrain #nyc #art #scene #potd #summernights #perception #explorations #volume #curves #meditative #iconic #artist #opticon #artnyc
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In MoMA's oral history series, Turrell said that he lived in a tent under an open roof while he worked on Meeting, using a sizable chunk of his own money to complete it in 1986. The name is a reference to his Quaker roots, and "the idea of the meeting of the space inside to the space in the sky, and feeling that juncture, having it be a visceral, almost physical, feeling, as though there were material or something there," as he noted. Several years ago he restored the piece, and reopened it again at PS1 in 2016.
Things could have gone worse for the piece: Turrell had previously shuttered Skyspaces for other similar, unexpected protrusions. One installation was permanently closed in 2013 when a luxury condominium in Dallas, called the Museum Tower, encroached upon the view of Tending, (Blue). Turrell called that piece "destroyed" (but has created another design to go up in its stead, without the tower in sight).