Press Release - 23 September 2013


AUSTIN, TEXAS – James Turrell, one of the world’s most highly regarded living artists, will unveil The Color Inside, a permanent Skyspace on the rooftop garden of the Student Activity Center at The University of Texas at Austin on Saturday, Oct. 19th. 

Commissioned by Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, the Skyspace is an elliptical structure of white plaster with an opening in the ceiling through which visitors, seated on a bench, can see the sky. The Skyspace features custom LED lights that unleash brilliant washes of color at sunrise and sunset.

In naming The Color Inside, Turrell said, “I was thinking about what you see inside, and inside the sky, and what the sky holds within it that we don’t see the possibility of in our regular life.” 

The saturation and vibrancy of colors is further intensified by the intimacy of the space, which seats up to twenty-five people. 

“I can’t begin to do the experience justice,” said Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, after getting a sneak preview of the Skyspace. “As the hour-long program evolved slowly, the space was saturated with hues of gold and purple and green while the sky went from scudding, grey clouds to impossibly intense complementary hues of red, blue, purple. At one moment you’re seeing clouds, at another you're looking at a swirling sphere of hues that looked more like Jupiter than anything on Mother Earth.”

Andrée Bober, founding director of Landmarks, selected James Turrell for this site-specific installation. The university’s student body was developing the building program for the Student Activity Center, which opened in 2011. On the list of things the students imagined for the center was a “reflection room.”

“Beyond introducing an important example of contemporary art, The Color Inside offers beauty, grace, and inspiration to its visitors,” said Bober. “The Skyspace is accessible to audiences of many backgrounds and interests, even those who aren’t familiar with contemporary art. It encourages the kind of quiet reflection that cultivates attention.”

The optimal viewing times for experiencing Turrell’s art are at sunrise and sunset, during light sequences that last approximately an hour. The Skyspace is available for observation during other times of day as a quiet, contemplative space for the campus community and visitors.

The Color Inside opens Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. All viewings are FREE and open to all members of the university community and the general public. Hours of operation shift throughout the year.  Free reservations are encouraged around the opening of the Skyspace. For hours, reservations, and more information, visit

Audiences are invited to join a FREE public conversation with James Turrell on October 18th at noon in the Student Activity Center Ballroom.  No reservations are required; limited seating is available. 

Special events surrounding the grand opening of The Color Inside:
Note: SAC stands for Student Activity Center
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
Landmarks Conversation with James Turrell at SAC Ballroom

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
6:25 a.m.–10 p.m.
Public Opening of The Color Inside on SAC rooftop garden
2 p.m. & 3 p.m. & 5 p.m. 
Walking tours to the Harry Ransom Center and Blanton Museum of Art to view additional works by James Turrell; tours meet on SAC rooftop

3 p.m., 4 p.m.,
String quartet performs composition by music student Joel Love inspired by the Skyspace; performances on SAC rooftop
Please note: Free reservations are strongly encouraged for opening day of the Skyspace and the following few weeks. For hours, reservations, and more information, visit No reservations are required for the 10/19 walking tours to the HRC and BMA.

About James Turrell

James Turrell, who is known for his use of light as a medium, is one of the world’s most highly regarded living artists. His work has been the subject of hundreds of exhibitions for which he has received prestigious awards from the Guggenheim, Lannan, and MacArthur foundations. In 2013 he became the first artist to have three concurrent solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York.  Turrell’s most ambitious project is Roden Crater, an observatory created inside an extinct volcano in Arizona.

About Landmarks

Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. In 2008, Landmarks was launched with the purpose of developing a cohesive collection of public art from a curatorial perspective. Its projects are located throughout the main campus and are viewed by thousands of people every day. The first initiative brought to the university twenty-eight modern and contemporary sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since then, more than thirty works of art have beautified the main campus, engaging visitors and the university community with art of the highest quality. Recent installations include works by Sol LeWitt and an architectural projection by Ben Rubin (see press kit for complete list of artists and projects). Growth of the university’s public art collection is supported by a policy that sets aside one to two percent of ongoing capital improvement projects for an acquisitions fund, one example being Turrell’s new Skyspace.

Download the press release.