James Turrell Museum
Inspired by Dr Zeuss and the long weeks of confinement, I have been taking imaginary trips to all the places I hope to see soon. From small museums to wide-open spaces, from restaurants and wineries to eclectically curated shops and perfectly balanced buildings, this biweekly series is a journey around the world in search of the cultural must-sees, the one-of-a-kind destinations for the ultimate art lover, food finder, and off-the-beaten-path traveller.
The James Turrell Museum in Colomé, Argentina
Getting to this week’s destination will need more than just a plane ticket, but rest-assured that any visitors will be well and truly socially distant. According to the map, once we land in Buenos Aires, we will need to drive for about 20 hours, or three days, to the north-western part of Argentina where the village of Colomé can be found.
Intrigued? Hop on board as we venture to the south of South America to the James Turrell Museum, located amongst the highest vineyards in the world, it is the only museum dedicated exclusively to the work of the acclaimed American artist James Turrell.
At first glance, this could sound like an bizarrely inaccessible destination for a museum, but for Turrell, the landscape and the vastness of the Salta Province in Argentina seemed like the perfect setting to have his work experienced without the restrictions of time or space and with a deep connection to nature and the local landscape.
Built by collector and businessman Donald Hess, in collaboration with the artist, the museum counts nine of Turrell’s immersive light installations including the largest of his Skyspaces, Unseen Blue (2002).
But the museum is not the only reason this trip is totally worth the drive. Once in Colomé it is possible to stay in the vineyard’s Estancia, a small luxury retreat with magnificent views of the desert, a restaurant and an open-air pool from which to admire the sunset. And the wines, well, the wines are certainly meant to add an extra layer to a sensory experience like no other, with all the peculiarities the altitude and particular soil properties bring to the local grapes.
Argentina is particularly famous for its excellent quality meat and the parrilla tradition, barbeque style steaks that would scare all but the most determined carnivores. So while I might not indulge in the meat eating festivities, myself a vegetarian, I am pretty sure that the freshness of a good glass of Malbec will more than make up for it, especially if it includes gazing at the stars from the hand of the most famous light artist of our time.
Leslie Ramos is an art historian and founder of ArtEater, an independent consultancy for philanthropists, not-for-profits, and artists. Based in London, she has built effective philanthropic fundraising strategies, as well as strong development planning, for clients around the world. Leslie is also completing her Doctorate in Contemporary Latin American Art at the University of Cambridge and is passionate about art, food and travelling… in no particular order.