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Artist James Turrell To Receive 37th Annual Thomas Jefferson Medal In Architecture At The University Of Virginia


March 27, 2002-- James Turrell, internationally renowned for his installation art examining light's relationship with the natural and built environment, will receive the 37th annual Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal in Architecture and give a talk at the University of Virginia during its Founder’s Day celebration on Friday, April 12.

Turrell’s public lecture, "The Other Horizon," will be at 3:30 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall auditorium. An exhibition of his work will be in the School of Architecture April 8-23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"The selection of Turrell to receive the Jefferson Medal in Architecture reflects our desire to honor an artist whose work has informed the study and development of architectural space and the natural landscape through the study and manipulation of light," said Karen Van Lengen, dean of the School of Architecture. "Turrell’s experiments in light have explored the use of artificial and natural light as a means of demonstrating the changing effects of light in the environment as well as its universal qualities. We are grateful for his contributions to the general field of architecture and landscape architecture."

Turrell’s largest and most ambitious work ¾ the Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Ariz. ¾ will open in 2003. Since 1972, he has been transforming a natural crater into a large-scale work of art, exploring light’s natural association with the landscape. A network of tunnels and chambers will enable people to experience light's relationship with the surrounding sky, land and culture. The project is being funded through grants from the Dia Art Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

After graduating from Pomona College in California with a degree in perceptual psychology in 1965, Turrell turned his interests to art as a graduate student at the University of California at Irvine. There he first experimented with perceptual interpretations of light as an art form.

Turrell's first light piece, Afrum-Proto, used projected light to create a three-dimensional floating cube image in the corner of a room. In 1974, he began work on his first large Skyspace, an aperture cut into the roof of a building altering the visible plane of the sky.

His work has been shown around the world, from Denmark to Japan. Retrospectives were held in 1980 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and in 1985 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

The Jefferson Medal in Architecture and its counterpart in law are for lasting contributions in fields that deeply interested the University’s founder. They are the highest outside honors offered by U.Va., which grants no honorary degrees. Seth P. Waxman, former Solicitor General of the United States, will receive this year’s Jefferson Medal in Law.

The awards are sponsored jointly by the University and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation.


For more information, contact Derry Voysey at (434) 982-2921 or



1966 Mies van der Rohe

1985 Leon Krier

1967 Alvar Aalto

1986 James Stirling

1968 Marcel Breurer

1987 Romaldo Giurgola

1969 John Ely Burchard

1988 Dan Kiley

1970 Kenzo Tange

1989 Paul Mellon

1971 Jose Luis Sert

1990 Fumihiko Maki

1972 Lewis Mumford

1991 John V. Lindsay

1973 Jean Labatut

1992 Aldo Rossi

1974 Frei Otto

1993 Andres M. Duany

1975 Sir Nikolaus Pevsner

& Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk

1976 I.M. Pei

1994 Frank O. Gehry

1977 Ada Louise Huxtable

1995 Ian L. McHarg

1978 Philip Johnson

1996 Jane Jacobs

1979 Lawrence Halprin

1997 Jaime Lerner

1980 Hugh A. Stubbins

1998 Jaquelin T. Robertson

1981 Edward Larrabee Barnes

1999 Lord Richard Rogers

1982 Vincent Scully

2000 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

1983 Robert Venturi

2001 Glenn Murcutt

1984 H. H. The Aga Khan

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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