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Kanye West Gifts $10M to James Turrell’s ‘Life-Changing’ Volcano Crater Art Installation

The artist is building a ‘controlled environment for the contemplation of light’ inside a dormant volcano in Arizona

Kanye West, 2015. Courtesy: Getty Images for iHeartMedia; photograph: Christopher Polk

Kanye West, 2015. Courtesy: Getty Images for iHeartMedia; photograph: Christopher Polk

The American rapper Kanye West has donated USD$10 million to support the completion of artist James Turrell’s Roden Crater project: an art installation set in a dormant volcano in northern Arizona, that has been described as a ‘controlled environment for the experiencing and contemplation of light’.

After reportedly spending a few days at the crater site at the end of 2018, West decided to become a patron and made the donation to the Turrell Art Foundation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Tweeting on 13 December, West said: ‘Went to visit the James Turrell crater two days ago. This is life changing. We all will live in Turrell spaces.’

The funds will go towards supporting the ongoing construction of the project, with the artist working with Arizona State University to raise a total of USD$200 million which will help keep the site open for the next five years. The completed work will consist of a series of 21 viewing spaces connected by six tunnels, which will create ‘a vast, naked eye observatory for celestial objects and events ranging from obscure and infrequent to the more familiar summer and winter solstice’.

Turrell, best known for his work exploring light and space, has been embedding work at the site since 1977 after acquiring the dormant volcano. He is said to be ‘thrilled’ that the rapper’s gift has arrived at a ‘critical juncture of the project.’ James Turrell’s work reportedly inspired the music video for rapper Drake’s 2015 hit ‘Hotline Bling’, though the artist had no involvement in the making of the visuals.

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