Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

51 minutes ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

James Turrell Experiments With The 'Thingness Of Light Itself'

Sep 7, 2013
Originally published on September 7, 2013 8:47 pm

This is the year of American artist James Turrell. Three major museums collaborated to give this one man thousands of square feet of exhibition space. Turrell's work is all about space, and light and perception. Indeed, the three big shows in New York, Los Angeles and Houston are kind of a tease for his major life's work — the open air spaces at a volcano crater in Arizona.

Turrell fills Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum rotunda with light that slowly changes from purple to tangerine to turquoise and more. It surrounds and washes down on the viewer.

"He's so sincere and he believes in art," says art critic Deborah Solomon after seeing the New York show. "He's a believer, he's not ironic or cynical and he's not making art about the loss of faith in images, as artists have done since the '60s."

Turrell believes in Big Themes: Nature. Peace. Perception. The heavens. He was raised a Quaker and when he went to meeting houses he was told to "Greet the Light." He grew up in Pasadena, surrounded by the open space and light of Southern California. In art history class he was just as interested in the beam of light from the projector as he was in the slides.

"You know, there's truth in light," Turrell says as he walks through his retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Turrell says his work furthers the explorations of light, done for centuries by artists, such as Vermeer and the painters of the Hudson River School.

"Here, there's not too much difference, except this idea that I want to look at light, rather than have light illuminate another thing," he explains. "I'm interested in the thingness of light itself, so that light is, is the revelation."

Turrell looks the part of the prophet who wants to take you somewhere. He's tall, with long white beard, flowing white hair, deep eyes, gravitas and purpose.

He and a visitor slowly ascend ziggurat-shaped steps, as though walking up into an ancient temple — entering what he calls a light-filled void. From the outside, it looks like a rectangular space large enough for 20 people, but once inside, the ways Turrell has hidden the light sources and cast light of uniform color and brightness all around, makes the walls, floor and ceiling seem to disappear in subtly shifting fuchsias, aquas and pinks. It's the light you see inside closed eyelids.

"We know light like this, but we just don't generally see it with our eyes open," Turrell says. "However, everyone that talks about the near-death experience, or enlightenment or samatha, always does this in a vocabulary of light. "

Turrell flies airplanes out to where the horizon seems to curl up and he loses the sense of up, down, left and right.

"I've always been interested also in this idea of a new landscape without horizon," he says. "You have no feeling of gravity."

Forty years ago, Turrell flew over the American West, spied an extinct volcanic crater in northern Arizona and bought it. He's spent more than 30 years moving earth to create light-filled spaces and a naked eye observatory to convey the vastness of the universe. It's called Roden Crater and could be a contemporary Stone Henge or Machu Picchu. Christine Kim, co-curator of the LACMA show, hopes that Turrell, who just turned 70, can see it completed.

"When it is finished, from 20 different chambers and tunnels, a viewer can look down a tunnel, look out at an aperture, can look at the sun, the moon and the stars, and find these experiences that are acoustically tuned as if on inside of a flute," she says. "... I hope it will be open in our lifetimes."

In the meantime, visitors wait on line to pack into the Turrell exhibitions in New York, Houston and Los Angeles. The LACMA show is the most retrospective of the three, from early projections onto walls, to some that offer the absence of light, to a faint glow, to a large metal sphere Turrell calls the Perceptual Cell.

You lie on your back as two young technicians in white lab coats slide you in. "There's two programs you can choose from," one of the technicians explains. "You can either choose the light program or the hard program. The light one is going to be a little less intense; the hard program is probably going to take you to a more ... transported state."

Inside the Perceptual Cell, the light gets darker, becomes a deeper blue, and starts flashing. The flashing feels like pulsating energy, like something from a 1950s sci-fi flick, like bio-feedback.

Some see Turrell's work as spectacle, no more profound than a Las Vegas Cirque de Soleil LED extravaganza. Critic Jed Perl wrote: "Turrell is a minor poet with the ambitions of a megalomaniac. And the art world is his enabler."

Nevertheless ...

"He's having an incredible moment," says critic Deborah Solomon. "I think because people are glad to see an artist who actually believes in what he's doing and is not just playing off the cynicism of the moment. We have another show in New York, Paul McCarthy's, do you know about that? His Snow White installation in which all the dwarfs are apparently having sex with one another, and have names like Humpy and Dumpy. So I think people are tired of art that pokes fun at its uselessness, and James Turrell really has air of integrity about him."

Leaving the Turrell exhibitions, one might regret that the serenity his works can offer is but illusion. Experienced on earth, all too rarely.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is a huge year for the American artist James Turrell. Three major museums collaborated to give him thousands of square feet of exhibition space. Mr. Turrell's work is all about space, and light and perception. Indeed, the three big shows in New York, Los Angeles and Houston are a kind of tease for his major life's work - the open air spaces at a volcano crater in Arizona. Edward Lifson has more.

EDWARD LIFSON, BYLINE: James Turrell fills Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum rotunda with light that slowly changes from purple to tangerine to turquoise and more. It surrounds and washes down on the viewer. After seeing the New York show, Deborah Solomon says something you probably haven't heard an art critic say in decades.

DEBORAH SOLOMON: He's so sincere and he believes in art. He's not ironic or cynical and he's not making art about the loss of faith in images, as artists have done since the sixties.

LIFSON: And Turrell believes in big themes: nature, peace, perception, the heavens. He was raised a Quaker, and when he went to meeting houses he was told to greet the light. He grew up in Pasadena surrounded by the open space and light of Southern California. In art history class, he was just as interested in the beam of light from the projector as he was in the slides.

JAMES TURRELL: You know, there's truth in light.

LIFSON: As he walks through his retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, known as LACMA, Turrell says his work furthers the explorations of light done for centuries by artists such as Vermeer and the painters of the Hudson River School.

TURRELL: Here, there's not too much difference, except this idea that I want to look at light, rather than having light illuminate another thing. I'm interested in the thingness of light itself, so that light is the revelation.

LIFSON: Turrell looks the part of the prophet who wants to take you somewhere. He's tall, with long white beard, flowing white hair, deep eyes, gravitas and purpose.

TURRELL: It's fine if you just slip off your shoes, that would be fine.

LIFSON: He and a visitor slowly ascend ziggurat-shaped steps, as though walking up into an ancient temple, entering what he calls a light-filled void. From the outside, it looks like a rectangular space large enough for twenty people, but once inside, the ways Turrell has hidden the light sources and cast light of uniform color and brightness all around, makes the walls, floor and ceiling seem to disappear in subtly shifting fuchsias, aquas and pinks. It's the light you see inside closed eyelids.

TURRELL: We know light like this, but we just don't generally see it with our eyes open. However, everyone that talks about the near-death experience, or enlightenment or samadhi, always does this in a vocabulary of light.

LIFSON: James Turrell flies airplanes out to where the horizon seems to curl up.

TURRELL: A new landscape without horizon.

LIFSON: Forty years ago, Turrell flew over the American West, spied an extinct volcanic crater in northern Arizona and bought it. He's spent more than 30 years moving earth to create light-filled spaces and a naked eye observatory to convey the vastness of the universe. It's called Roden Crater and it could be a contemporary Stonehenge or Machu Picchu. The co-curator of the LACMA show, Christine Kim hopes that Turrell, who just turned 70, can see it completed.

CHRISTINE KIM: When it is finished, from 20 different chambers and tunnels, a viewer can look down a tunnel, look out an aperture, can look at the sun, the moon and the stars, and find these experiences that are tuned as if in the inside of a flute. But I will I say, I hope that it will be open in our lifetimes.

LIFSON: In the meantime, visitors wait on line to pack into the Turrell exhibitions in New York, Houston and Los Angeles, which sort of diminishes any intended meditative states. The LACMA show is the most retrospective of the three, from early projections onto walls to some rooms that offer the absence of light to a faint glow to a large metal sphere that Turrell calls the "Perceptual Cell."

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Are you ready?

LIFSON: You lay down on your back as two young women in white lab coats slide you in.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: How are you doing?

LIFSON: (Whispering) The light is getting darker, deeper blue and it's flashing, it's flashing a lot.

Some see Turrell's work as spectacle, no more profound than a Las Vegas Cirque de Soleil LED extravaganza. Critic Jed Perl wrote: Turrell is a minor poet with the ambitions of a megalomaniac. And the art world is his enabler. But no doubt...

SOLOMON: He's having an incredible moment.

LIFSON: ...says art critic Deborah Solomon.

SOLOMON: I think because people are glad to see an artist who actually believes in what he's doing and is not just playing off the cynicism of the moment. And James Turrell really has an air of integrity about him.

LIFSON: Leaving the Turrell exhibitions, one might regret that the serenity his works can offer is but illusion, experienced on Earth all too rarely. For NPR News, I'm Edward Lifson. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.