February 16, 2019

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James Turrell Asks MoMA PS1 to Close Installation

James Turrell Asks MoMA PS1 to Close Installation
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First, they came for the graffiti artists. Now it’s a famed installation maker.

MoMA PS1 has temporarily closed an installation by the artist James Turrell after construction nearby crept high enough to be visible when experiencing the work, which is meant to offer an uninterrupted view of the sky.

“James Turrell’s ‘Meeting’ is currently closed at the artist’s request, and it will remain closed until the temporary construction scaffolding is no longer visible from the work,” the museum’s director of marketing and communications, Molly Kurzius, said in an email. The installation has been closed since Friday.

The construction in question is for a pair of luxury apartment buildings that are going up at 22-44 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.

The real estate developer behind those buildings, Jerry Wolkoff, pointed out that the construction has been going on for a while. “Whatever I have there to my knowledge has been there for the last two years,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Mr. Wolkoff says that the structure visible in pictures taken at the installation — a hoist used to move building materials — will be taken down by May.

The pictures are believed to have been reported on first by Gothamist.

The condos were already the subject of consternation from artists: They’re being built on top of what was previously the building known as 5Pointz, a warehouse once prized as a haven for legal graffiti. Last year, 5Pointz was the subject of a lawsuit when Mr. Wolkoff, who owned the building, was fined $6.7 million for painting over the works of 21 graffiti artists in 2013. The building was demolished in 2014 to make way for the apartment buildings.

It’s not the first time a high-rise development has led to the closure of Mr. Turrell’s work. The artist previously asked the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas to shutter another, similar installation, “Tending, (Blue),” because a luxury condo tower had intruded on the view.

Ms. Kurzius said that “Meeting” will remain inaccessible to the public until the view is no longer obstructed, adding that the construction was “only visible from a part of the installation.”



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