IMAGES: (left) James Turrell’s Sky Pesher and (right) Mongo Thomson’s Skyspace Bouncehouse.
The contemporary arts quarterly X-Tra calls Mungo Thomson’s Skyspace Bouncehouse “a nod” to James Turrell’s Skyspace pavilions. Other words come to mind — “knockoff,” “ripoff” or the more charitable “tribute.” Turrell’s Sky Pesher, commissioned by the Walker and unveiled in 2005 to mark the Walker’s reopening, could have served as Thomson’s blueprint. But if Richard Prince can reframe others’ creations and cast them as his own art, Turrell might as well save on the attorneys’ fees — he doesn’t have a case. And as a colleague here was quick to point out, Thomson’s version seems “more fun.”
X-Tra points out that Turrell’s work draws on his experiences as a Quaker, adding that, “by adding the opportunity to bounce and jump in the Skyspace, Thomson provides a way to exorcise the demons within us–and if you bring your iPod with a downloaded Black Flag track, you can rock your world, in deep contrast to the pious quiet and pacifist underpinnings of the Turrell Quaker pavilions.”