Situated on more than 100 acres of rolling land in the far northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, the Morris Arboretum is, surprisingly, part of the University of Pennsylvania. Paul Meyer, Director of the Morris Arboretum, and Robert Gutowski, Director of Programs, greeted the ICA group and led a tour of their celebrated Out on a Limb installation, which elevates visitors into the tree canopy environment, and the newly sited work by artist Patrick Dougherty, fashioned out of twisted willow saplings. Cherry blossoms blooming at their absolute peak made the visit even more spectacular.
Next, the group went just down the road to the Chestnut Hill Skyspace for a sunset viewing of artist James Turrell’s site specific work Greet the Light. It is one of only two “Skyspaces” that Turrell has designed for a Quaker meeting house, the other being in Houston. The worship room is outfitted with a retractable roof, which can open for sunrise or sunset viewings (weather permitting). Turrell’s light installation projects onto the ceiling around an open oculus and envelops viewers in swaths of color that contrast or complement the natural light from the sky above. ICA was the only east coast venue for James Turrell: Sensing Space 1967–92, a major retrospective in 1993.