James Turrell: Night Life



ISBN: 9781921503986 Category:


For more than half a century, American artist James Turrell has worked with light and space to create powerful artworks that play with viewers’ perceptions. Among many strands of his practice are the monumental architectural light works, which give a new, nocturnal life to buildings around the world.

As the Brisbane sky shifts to dusk, James Turrell’s Night Life 2018 illuminates the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from within. The first of the artist’s architectural light works to be completed in Australia, its shifts in tempo, hue and intensity of colour invite us to consider how we are affected by light. A decade after GOMA opened, this work realises the architects’ vision of animating the building’s facade, with its 88-minute sequence that pulses across the building from sunset to midnight.

The publication James Turrell: Night Life documents the most complex and valuable public art project ever realised by QAGOMA – Night Life 2018 by James Turrell – and features an extensive interview with the artist, conducted by QAGOMA Director Chris Saines. The publication also acknowledges the vital support of benefactors and government in realising this significant commission, an architectural light work which is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Gallery commissioned Florian Holzherr, Turrell’s long-time photographer, to document Night Life’s full spectrum of colours especially for the publication.

Additional information

Weight 963 g
Dimensions 24.9 x 30.8 cm
Publisher name Queensland Art Gallery
Publication date 1 January 2020
Number of pages 120
Format Hardback
Contributors Contributions by Chris Saines CNZM, Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow, Diana Young, and Florian Holzherr
Dimensions 24.9 x 30.8 cm
Weight 963 g


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Chris Saines CNZM is Director, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. For James Turrell: Night Life, he conducted an extensive interview with the artist. In a separate essay, he discusses GOMA's commission in terms of the concept of cities and buildings 'dressing up' at night.

Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow is Curatorial Manager, International Art, QAGOMA. For James Turrell: Night Life, she explores the sensory experience of the work.

Dr Diana Young is Senior Lecturer in Museum Anthropology, University of Queensland. For James Turrell: Night Life, she connects Night Life with Turrell's other architectural light works around the world.

Florian Holzherr is a German photographer who has collaborated with James Turrell for 20 years, documenting the artist's most notable works, including Roden Crater in Arizona. He has photographed many internationally renowned buildings by some of the world's most esteemed architects, as well as the work of significant international artists, such as Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Olafur Eliasson. Holzherr's photographs feature on James Turrell's website and in various publications on the artist, including: Extraordinary Ideas - Realized: James Turrell, Hatje Cantz, 2018, James Turrell: A Retrospective, Prestel, 2013, and James Turrell, Guggenheim Museum, 2013.