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Mark winter solstice with James Turrell's Skyspace art

James Turrell’s Joseph’s Coat is a permanent installation in the courtyard of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. Viewers experience a subtly changing sky overhead during the day and as the sun sets and the sky darkens. Shifting LED lights surround the aperture in the ceiling.

Ringling Museum

James Turrell’s Joseph’s Coat is a permanent installation in the courtyard of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. Viewers experience a subtly changing sky overhead during the day and as the sun sets and the sky darkens. Shifting LED lights surround the aperture in the ceiling.

The observation of the winter solstice (Dec. 21) is an ancient tradition that recognizes the period when sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon — in other words, the shortest day and longest night of the year.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, greets the solstice with "Greet the Light," which celebrates the second anniversary of James Turrell's Skyspace installation Joseph's Coat. The artist, whose medium is light, has installed numerous Skyspaces around the world. Each is unique but is based on an enclosed space with an opening in the roof through which the changing sky can be viewed. For Joseph's Coat, sited in the courtyard of the museum, Turrell also installed artificial light and water features.

The event, from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, is in the courtyard and features live music with food and drinks for purchase. Tickets are $15.

"Greet the Light" also kicks off "nowHERE: Finding Our Way in the 21st Century," a three-month cycle of performances and art exhibitions that continue through the vernal equinox on March 22, when day and night are about equal length.

We'll have more information about the first in the series, beginning Jan. 21, but sooner, enjoy the Turrell work. Space is limited so advance purchase of tickets is suggested. ringling.org or (941) 359-5700.

Lennie Bennett, Times art critic

Mark winter solstice with James Turrell's Skyspace art 12/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 5:59pm]

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