James Turrell’s Skyspace installation at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is a subterranean light installation that features a view of the sky altered by LED lighting effects, highlighting changing weather conditions outside. This is Turrell’s first skyspace to take on the form of a stupa, a traditional Buddhist architectural form.
The installation is located in a grass-covered hill in the Osher Sculpture Garden, and visitors can walk through a tunnel to enter the cylindrical space carved out of the hill. At the center of the space is a rough-hewn, black basalt stupa form, which visitors can enter through a door to sit on a stone bench and view the sky through an oculus in the roof of the chamber.
The LED lighting system inside the chamber and changing weather conditions outside alter visitors’ perceptions of the sky’s color.