James Turrell’s Summer of Light

Illumination at the MFAH and a Luminous Night at Louis Vuitton

Seth Vaughan. Photography Jenny Antill, Gary Fountain.  |  Photos by Jenny Antill, Gary Fountain
August 29, 2013
Event Date:
June 06, 2013

It was a two-day light-infused affair when artist James Turrell and wife Kyung arrived for the unveiling of an inspired survey of his work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as well as a celebratory cocktail party at the Louis Vuitton Galleria boutique. Accolades began at the MFAH, where Cornelia Long reigned over her last patron’s dinner as board chair before passing the torch to Rich Kinder. Post-cocktails, guests toured the exhibition spanning five decades of Turrell’s work, organized by contemporary curator Alison de Lima Greene; its unveiling coincided with openings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and NYC’s Guggenheim. Immersive instillations had patrons trading in their Manolos and John Lobbs for protective booties to enter the luminous chambers. Next, revelers traversed the museum’s permanent Turrell installation, The Light Inside, for a seated supper in the Beck Building’s second-floor galleries. Museum director Gary Tinterow and Turrell delivered remarks before City Kitchen’s swank dinner. Enlightened: Wally Wilson (the exhibition was dedicated to the memory of his late wife, Isabel Brown Wilson), Ransom Lummis and daughter Frances, Sara Paschall Dodd, LACMA director Michael Govan, Meredith Long, Nancy Kinder, Guggenheim curator Nat Trotman, Aliyya and Herman Stude, and Jereann Chaney. 
The next evening, the powers that be at Louis Vuitton congratulated the creator at an intimate cocktail fête. Vuitton bellmen offered champagne as connoisseurs toured (and shopped) the space that was recently reimagined by architectural great Peter Marino. (Turrell’s affiliation with Vuitton was taken to greater heights when he was tapped by the French house for a third commission, Akhob, above Vuitton’s Las Vegas CityCenter Maison; the lights went on earlier this summer. Swilling swells: Turrell’s Houston gallerist Hiram Butler and Andrew Spindler-Roesle, Clint Willour, Daphne Tan, Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff, Louis Vuitton VPs John Slavinsky and Kim Harrington with Houston manager Emily Paull, and Gail and Louis Adler.