Dividing the Light

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Dividing the Light
Dividing the Light exterior.jpg
Artist James Turrell
Year2007 (2007)
Medium Granite, steel [1]
Movement Light and Space
Location Pomona College, Claremont, California, United States
Coordinates 34°05′51″N117°42′45″W / 34.097619°N 117.7124122°W / 34.097619; -117.7124122 Coordinates: 34°05′51″N117°42′45″W / 34.097619°N 117.7124122°W / 34.097619; -117.7124122 [2]

Dividing the Light, colloquially the Pomona College skyspace, is a 2007 skyspace art installation by James Turrell at Pomona College, his alma mater. [1] It consists of a courtyard with a fountain nestled between two academic buildings with an illuminated canopy framing the sky above.



James Turrell graduated from Pomona College in 1965. [3] Starting in the 1970s, he created a series of skyspaces that framed the sky. He was approached by the college when it was designing the Lincoln Hall and Edmunds Hall academic buildings and asked to create an installation for the Draper Courtyard located between them. [4]


Interior courtyard Dividing the Light interior.jpg
Interior courtyard

Red granite benches line a partially-enclosed courtyard with a shallow black granite infinity pool. [4] [1] A thin brightly-colored steel canopy covers the installation, with a nearly 16-square-foot (1.5 m2) cutout or aperture, that contains an LED lighting array. [5] [1] At night, the hidden LED lights illuminate the canopy. Every hour between sunset and sunrise, they "chime", rotating through a series of colors over three minutes, and longer light shows take place daily at sunrise and sunset. [3] [6] The shows slightly vary with each day to match changing conditions over the course of a year. [4] Short trees and other landscaping surround the exterior.


The work is Turrell's first public installation in Southern California. [1] It cost US$2.26 million to complete. [1] It was constructed in consultation with Marmol Radziner, AIA, and Amazing Steel. [1] It underwent maintenance work in 2018. [7]


Illuminated pink at dusk Dividing the Light at dusk.jpg
Illuminated pink at dusk

The installation received critical praise. A Los Angeles Times review called it "one of the best works of public art in recent memory", lauding "Turrell's capacity to pull experiences of sensual refinement out of the heavens". [1] Other critics noted its easy accessibility. [8] It is associated with the Light and Space movement that originated in Southern California in the 1960s, and of which Turrell is a prominent member. [1]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pagel, David (21 October 2007). "Turn on the light". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  2. "Dividing the Light". James Turrell. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  3. 1 2 "James Turrell Skyspace". Pomona College Museum of Art. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. 1 2 3 Allen, David (4 September 2018). "It's always some enchanted evening with Pomona College's Skyspace". Daily Bulletin. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  5. Gopnik, Blake (14 March 2017). "James Turrell Makes the Sky Look Like a Pantone Chip". artnet News. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  6. William-Ross, Lindsay (14 February 2010). "Art to Look Up to: Turrell's Skyspace at Pomona College". LAist. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  7. "Turrell's Skyspace reopens after closure for maintenance | Claremont Courier". Claremont Courier . 3 July 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  8. Sutton, Frances (22 May 2020). "Framed: Sky's the limit at James Turrell's Skyspace". The Student Life . Retrieved 23 May 2020.