Suzanne Deal Booth graduated from Rice in 1977 and has long felt that it is important to pay tribute to those places that have informed, sponsored and mentored you. Of her time at Rice she says, “…Rice is more than you could ever anticipate in an undergraduate experience.”
As an art history major, art was the focus and passion of her life then and it has remained so throughout her life; "I'm one of those people that is so enmeshed in it, I can't imagine my life without it. It's what I live and breathe," she said. "Art is the visual expression of what people were thinking of their time. It's something that remains."
As a result of this she challenged the school to devise a number of initiatives that would expose the students at Rice to art. She has made various gifts to the University for the Arts in order to make these initiatives a reality. With her support, Rice has established a three-part collaboration with the museums of Houston: a postdoctoral program, in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston (MFAH); a biennial lecture series with the Menil Collection that brings top scholars to Houston to speak about their research; and funds to support small exhibitions at the MFAH.
In addition, a gift from Deal Booth enabled Rice to commission a new James Turrell public art installation. Deal Booth worked as a construction assistant with James Turrell on his skyspace “Meeting” at MOMA PS1 in New York City in 1980 and then on his first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in l981, and has maintained a close relationship with the artist over the years. From its inception, the Rice University project was a very personal vision to create a work of the highest caliber by this world renowned artist for her alma mater to which she feels so committed.
The James Turrell Skyspace “Twilight Ephipany” is located in front of the Shepard School of Music at the Rice University.
Constructed of concrete, stone and composite steel, and surrounded by a grass berm, the structure is equipped with an LED light performance that projects onto the ceiling. The viewer, looking up through the knife-edge roof which is open to the sky in the center, experiences a slow and subtle change of projected light at the same time as the natural change of light through the central opening. Turrell specifically “composed” the change of the projected LED light for sunrise and sunset, but the skyspace can be enjoyed throughout the day.
It accommodates 120 people on two levels and is acoustically equipped for musical performances. It will also be used as a laboratory for music school students.
The Skyspace was dedicated on May 4, 2012 and opened to the public on June 14, 2012 when it was named the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion in celebration of Rice’s 100 years as a leading educational institution.
A Brief Photographic History:
click images to view slideshow
For more about the Skyspace and for information on visiting go to: