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Deep inside James Turrell's Roden Crater, an art exhibit made in an extinct volcano

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Roden Crater
Roden Crater

James Turrell is known in the art world for creating pieces that can be both spectacularly innovative and highly disorienting. Take his Perceptual Cells — a large sphere where a person can lay down and be bombarded by lights so bright you can see the biological structure of your own eye. The New York Times has just published an in-depth look at Turrell's career as the artist prepares for three huge exhibitions planned to launch simultaneously in New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. The extensive profile digs deep into Turrell's polarizing art, and the author is even invited to visit Roden Crater — an extinct volcano on his own massive ranch in Arizona. Turrell has spent decades excavating it in an effort to turn it into a massive art installation and naked-eye observatory; it's never been opened to the public and invites are extremely hard to come by. As most of us won't get a chance to see it for ourselves, writer Wil S. Hylton's depiction of the "perfect, and incomplete" Roden Crater does a good job of summing up the impact of Turrell's work.