A Monumental Work of Environmental Art

Artist James Turrell is transforming an extinct volcano into a cathedral of light

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“We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially. Seeing is a very sensuous act—there’s a sweet deliciousness to feeling yourself see something.” —James Turrell, Limn (#4)

Just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, overlooking the Painted Desert, James Turrell is transforming an extinct volcanic cinder cone into a monumental work of environmental art, a place where humans can meet the sky and revel in space and light. The renowned light artist found Roden Crater 26 years ago, and he is now carving tunnels, walkways, rooms, and openings that allow light—moonlight, sunlight, ancient starlight—to enter the volcano’s interior. Contemporary art collector Count Guiseppe Panza di Giumo has called his project “The Sistine Chapel of America.” The crater, which includes a four-bedroom guest house, opens to the public in late 2000.

For more information, contact the Skystone Foundation, 114 North San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, 520/226-0937 (www.rodencrater.org).