Ever since rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West visited Naoshima, the Japanese “art island that’s home to three James Turrell installations in 2018, he’s wanted to live inside the light-and-space artist’s work—literally.
Now, that dream may become a reality.
“Turrell designed an entire home and gave it to me on my birthday” last year, West said in a recent interview with Recalling his first reaction to the artist’s work: “I said, ‘We need to live in a Turrell.’”
Last June, West celebrated his 42nd birthday with the artist at Turrell’s , the artist’s monumental land art project in Arizona’s Painted Desert. When Turrell presented West with the architectural sketch, West’s interior designer Axel Vervoordt, who was also in attendance, was skeptical.
“Axel was saying that James Turrell’s spaces are too pure for us human beings to live in,” West recalled. “I told Axel, ‘You’re not going to bully me on my birthday.’”
West and Turrell have grown close since the rapper and producer donated $10 million to fund the completion of last January. Turrell purchased the dormant volcano in 1979 and has spent the subsequent decades transforming it into a solar observatory. But it isn’t yet open to the public, which made it all the more exciting when West released , an IMAX film shot inside the installation, to promote his album of the same name last fall.
The interview with took place across multiple days and locations, including at West Lake Ranch, which the musician recently purchased outside of Cody, Wyoming. The evolving campus, which will feature a building by Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin, as well as projects by Turrell and Vervoordt, is the planned headquarters for West’s futuristic-looking domed structures that he plans to use to house low-income and homeless people.
The magazine also paid a visit to West’s Los Angeles home, where readers learn he owns a lens-shaped white fiberglass sculpture by Anish Kapoor. “It’s an amazing piece,” West said. “And now we’re gonna live in one.”
West, whose own high-school artwork recently made headlines when it was appraised for upwards of $20,000 on , and who once declared his Twitter account a work of contemporary art, has yet another grand pronouncement about his creative endeavors: “Everything I’ve ever done has been an art piece, because I’m an artist.”