ASU’s partnership with James Turrell’s Roden Crater has much to teach museums

June 20, 2019 |

When James Turrell flew the skies of Arizona in 1974, not yet acquainted with the volcano that would soon become his life’s work, he piloted his tiny plane over the nearby sites of Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument. The former is a hulking cinder cone that built up after dramatic eruptions around the turn of the first millennium, when lava spewed forth in red and yellow hues said to have inspired its name. The latter was home to settlements of ancient indigenous peoples known as the Sinagua—so described for their ability to live “without water”—whose desert descendants today include Hopi and Navajo natives.

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