Breathing light and seeing colors: experiencing James Turrell’s installation at LACMA

As a kid, I had a nagging obsession: do other people see color the same way I do? Is my notion of “pink” the same as everybody else’s, or is my experience of color an entirely personal one? 

Perception of color is an elusive beast, as stepping foot inside James Turrell’s Breathing Light installation at the LACMA sets out to demonstrate. In the few minutes you spend nearly alone in the subtly shifting colored lights, your surroundings seem to transform.

james turrell lacma pink
 
james turrell lacma blue

The black room behind you morphs into other, brighter shades, your friends get draped in funky auras, and the white background calls to you, challenging your perception of space and distance. It’s a trip, really. And I wish I could share pictures of my experience, but cameras are not allowed in there - which kind of makes sense, considering last time someone took photos of James Turrell’s installation, we ended up with the video for Drake’s Hotline Bling.

Run to LACMA, and book your entry ticket at the kiosk near the ticketing booth!