In 1977, the artist James Turrell acquired the volcanic cone near Flagstaff, Arizona, that would become the stage for his life’s work, Roden Crater. That same year, producer, rapper, and designer Kanye Omari West was born in Chicago. Now these two pivotal cultural figures have united, with West saying on Monday that he will give $10 million to support Roden Crater.
Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal has the scoop, with the 808s & Heartbreak phenom saying in a statement that he wants the seminal earthwork to be “experienced and enjoyed for eternity.”
As Crow notes, West visited the storied work of Land Art, which is still undergoing construction, late last year, and followed that up with a visit to Turrell’s work at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, a few weeks later, in the company of the artist. “You finally got me here, bro,” the “Flashing Lights” musician told the Light and Space artist, according to the museum.
News of the donation comes on the heels of an announcement by Turrell that he is partnering with Arizona State University to complete a new master plan for Roden Crater in the next five years, a deal first reported by Jay Cheshes.
Turrell’s stock has risen in the hip-hop world in recent years, with Drake producing a 2015 video for his smash hit “Hotline Bling” that channeled his lush colors and declaring, “I fuck with Turrell.” In response, the artist put out a statement saying, “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake fucks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the ‘Hotline Bling’ video.”