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James Turrell: Exhibitionist or Artist?

March 10, 2002

According to the article on James Turrell ("At Play With Night and Day in the Desert," by Wade Graham, Feb. 17), art is an expression of "faith in the possibility of liberation through a deep experience of the world." Really? Whose experience and whose world? Do we have to destroy the world to save it? What I see in Turrell is arrogance and hubris of the highest order. His $20-million Roden Crater project is an appalling desecration of nature and a waste of money. Is it a coincidence that it overlooks "the haunting expanses of the Painted Desert, adjacent to the Navajo and Hopi reservations"? Surely it is an insult to our Native American neighbors, who respect and honor the earth. It also speaks volumes about the foundations that throw money at this senseless exhibitionism. I'm an art lover, but the $20 million could have been used to create art centers for children and other public projects that enrich the community, promote creativity and enhance the public sphere.

Tanja Winter

La Jolla

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At last, an update on brilliant James Turrell's Roden Crater project. After attending his MOCA exhibit during the early days of the Santa Monica art scene, being awed by his giant aerial photos of the crater and landscape, and buying the fine museum show catalog that featured them, I developed a fascination with the mind-bending earthwork in Arizona, a place I hope to visit someday.

Joanne Hedge

Glendale

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