James Turrell Museum Opens in Argentina



The new James Turrell Museum of the Hess Art Collection celebrated its opening on April 22, 2009 in Colomé, Argentina. The museum is the only one worldwide dedicated specifically to the work of James Turrell, who is regarded as one of the most important contemporary light and space artists. The new museum is based on a plan created by Turrell himself. Commissioned and built by Swiss businessman, wine producer and art collector Donald M. Hess, the museum showcases nine light installations representing five decades of Turrell’s career over 18,084 square feet (1.680 m2) of exhibition space.

Donald Hess has been collecting works by James Turrell for the past 30 years and has commissioned two new installations for the museum in Colomé: Spread (2003), a 4,000-square-foot walk-in environment of blue light, and Unseen Blue (2002), the world’s largest Skyspace. Other permanent works in the Hess Art Collection include Alta Green (1968), an early piece that demonstrates Turrell’s first experiments with light and architecture, as well as Lunette (2005), a corridor whose interior has been punctuated by a vertical portal to the outside sky and filled with natural and warm white neon light. Additional site-specific works include Stufe (White), (1967), City of Arhirit (1976), Slant Range (1989) and Penumbra (1992).The permanent exhibition is supplemented by numerous drawings and prints. All works on display are drawn from the Hess Art Collection, Bern, Switzerland, in which James Turrell is represented with 22 pieces.

Donald Hess is one of the world’s major collectors of contemporary art. His impressive collection spans five decades of recent art history from Abstract Expressionism through current positions. It contains over 1,000 pieces by 65 international artists including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, Gilbert & George, Franz Gertsch, Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Motherwell, Yue Minjun, Shigeo Toya, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella, James Turrell and Ouattara Watts among others.

Beginning in 1989, Hess began sharing his passion for art with the greater public by exhibiting his collection in museums built on wineries owned by the Hess Family Estates. The first museum opened at the Hess Collection in Napa Valley, California, USA in 1989 and the second at Glen Carlou in Paarl, South Africa in 2006. The third and newest – The James Turrell Museum of the Hess Art Collection, opened on April 22, 2009, at Bodega & Estancia Colomé, in the Province of Salta in northwestern Argentina. A fourth museum is planned for the Peter Lehmann winery in the Barossa Valley, Australia. All are free of admission and offer guided tours.

A newly updated, comprehensive catalogue of the Hess Art Collection will be published by Hatje Cantz in Autumn of 2009.

Bodega and Estancia Colomé, Ruta Provinvial 53, Km. 20, 4419 Molinos, Salta Province, Argentina