July 23, 2014

Art alumnus James Turrell to receive National Medal of Arts during White House ceremony

Alumnus James Turrell (MFA, 1973) will receive the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House on Monday, July 28.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. It is awarded by the president of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.

In a statement, the White House praised Turrell for "capturing the powers of light and space," and for creating "experiences that force us to question reality, challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us."

First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the ceremony, which will be held in the East Room of the White House. Other medal recipients to be honored include composer John Kander, Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, and musician Linda Ronstadt.

The ceremony will be streamed live from the White House beginning at noon Pacific Time.

Read more about Turrell’s work in the Flame magazine.