Three Gems by artist James Turrell is arguably one of the best-hidden sculptures in SF. Even the process of finding this immersive sculpture feels like stumbling upon a hidden treasure.
Turrell is internationally known for his work using natural and artificial light in combination with custom-designed spaces. Natural light plays a central role in this space, and because of this, no two days –or moments, are the exact same.
Visitors are invited to sit on a bench that runs along the interior of the chamber and view the sky through an oculus in the ceiling. Changing light and weather conditions along with LED lights, alter the viewer’s perception of the sky’s color. The result is that each viewer’s experience of the artwork is personal and unique.
The de Young Museum commissioned Turrell to design and build this installation for their grand reopening in 2005. Three Gems is known as a Skyspace, which is part of a series of structures defined by the specific proportions of the chamber and aperture in the ceiling, open to the sky.
Turrell wrote, “My work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing. I’m also interested in the sense of presence of space; that is space where you feel a presence, almost an entity — that physical feeling and power that space can give.”
Three Gems is free and open to the public Tuesdays – Sundays, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Location: de Young Museum Sculpture Garden, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA
Featured Image: Gary Sexton/@deyoungmuseum