Visual Arts

The Full James Turrell Experience in Houston

On Sunday, the James Turrell retrospective "The Light Inside" lands at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in an unprecedented examination of the American light artist's work.

It's just one of three independently curated, concurrent exhibitions that explore Turrell's five-decade career, the other two running at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Before the MFAH exhibition opens, you can get a preview of Turrell's work thanks to several commissions and installations in Houston by the renowned light artist. They're must-sees to get the full James Turrell experience in Houston before or during the show's four-month run.

Live Oaks Friends Meetinghouse Skyspace

Since 2001, James Turrell enthusiasts have been traveling to the Live Oaks Friends Meeting House in the Heights to experience one of the artist's 70-plus skyspaces -- an installation that plays with the changing light and conditions of the sky. It's also one of two such skyspaces in Houston.

Every Friday and Sunday evening, the meetinghouse is open to the public to come in, sit down and take in the sunset through a hole in the roof. But it's not just some fancy skylight -- thanks to an orange glow around the ceiling that deepens as the sun lowers in the sky, it's a peaceful experience that allows you to experience "a light that inhabits space, so that you feel light to be physically present," says Turrell. Feel free to lean all the way back and rest your head against the pew to take in the show.

Turrell, who grew up in a Quaker household, conceived of the meetinghouse, located at 1318 W. 26th Street. Weather permitting, it is open a half hour before sunset on Fridays and Saturdays, and stays open about another half hour after the sun sets. Private tours can be arranged as well. The MFAH is planning special programs with the meetinghouse in conjunction with its Turrell exhibition.