Sneak peek: Take a look inside Keith House, James Turrell’s ‘skyspace’ in Fort Worth
James Turrell’s work has inspired Drake, been shown off by Kendall Jenner and been purchased by Hugh Jackman. And now, Fort Worth has a new, permanent installation of one of the highly sought-after artist’s works.
Situated on two acres adjacent to Trinity Trails and the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork, the newly opened Keith House, billed as a “modern-day meeting space,” is home to one of Turrell’s famed skyspaces.
“Rather than be someone who depicted light or painted light in some way, I wanted to have the work be light,” he told the Guggenheim Museum in a 2016 interview.
From the outside, the roof looks like a typical gabled structure, but inside the ceiling appears to float above the walls, ascending from each of the four corners with vertical seams that are barely visible to the naked eye.
Weather permitting, the structure’s roof opens, revealing an 8-foot-by-8-foot aperture that allows light to enter and travel through the space. A dynamic light sequence moves in tandem with the natural light as the sun’s position shifts in the sky.
When the aperture is closed, a shorter light sequence cycles through the space.
Turrell’s use of light is married with design principles from Quaker meeting houses where the pews are oriented to face the center of the room.
“Being able to sit and talk face-to-face as opposed to … an auditorium style setup, I think we hope will engender a different tone of conversation,” Keith House’s director Janelle Montgomery said.
“Because it’s so quiet, because it’s so calm and so peaceful, you just chill out a little bit.”
The venue and art installation are “a gift to the entire community” in memory of the late Meta Alice Keith Bratten from the foundation named in her honor.
Nonprofits are able to book the space for events and, eventually, Keith House will have regular hours for visitors to relax and reflect inside the space. For now, visits to the space are by appointment only.
Adelaide Leavens spearheaded the project and is the executive director of both the Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation and Entrada of Texas, DBA Keith House, which owns and operates the venue. By her estimation, the space is about 90% complete as it awaits finishing touches by the artist.“It’s (as if) the Kimbell Museum is built, but until you hang the pictures in it, then it’s not really completed,” Leavens said.Even so, the venue has already hosted a couple of events and the installation still impressed its guests.
“It was a cloudless night and it got darker and darker, and even with just the limited light and the single color (installed) … the sky was already taking on the different colors,” she explained. “And there was a moment where it was a really dark green, and despite the people giving a really good presentation, (everyone) was starting to look up.”
Editor’s Note: Adelaide Leavens is executive director of the MAKB Foundation, which is a financial supporter of Fort Worth Report.
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.