President Barack Obama awarded 22 people National Medals of Arts and Humanities earlier this week. One of the honorees was Flagstaff visual artist James Turrell.
For more than four decades James Turrell has worked to transform an extinct volcano outside Flagstaff into a work of art. Few have been allowed to see it. The public opening has been postponed several times but his objective is no small feat. He aims to bring celestial movements down to Earth.
The rarely seen artist made an appearance at the White House to receive his award. Obama told the illustrious group: “we can’t forget the wonder we feel when we stand before an incredible work of art … Moments you help create, moments of understanding, or awe or joy or sorrow they add texture to our lives. They are not incidental to the American experience. They are central to it.”
The White House awarded James Turrell a Medal of Arts for “his groundbreaking visual art capturing the powers of light and space. He builds experiences that force us to question reality challenging perceptions not only of art but of the world around us.”