Drake channels James Turrell in Hotline Bling Video

YUP, it’s true. Drake’s new video “Hotline Bling” is his official love letter to light artist James Turrell.

I can’t stop watching this mashup – it combines two things I never expected to see bathed in Turrell lighting, Drake and booty… and I don’t mind it one bit. It’s a damn near perfect blending of hip-hop and fine art that I’d like to see more of.


Image from Chestnut Hill Skyspace / HAHA MAG

Image from Chestnut Hill Skyspace / HAHA MAG

Here’s a Cliff Note for those of you unfamiliar with Turrell:

James Turrell is an American artist who creates with light and space. In the 70’s he began experimenting with Skyspaces. A Skyspace is an architecturally designed room, painted in a neutral color with a large hole in its ceiling which opens directly to the sky. From the perimeter of the room, observers view the sky in such a way as though it were framed. LED lights surround the hole changing color to affect the viewer’s perception of the sky. It’s an immersive experience where the viewer offered an amazing space for reflection – a silent study of nature and light accompanied with their unfiltered thoughts.

The video is stirring up art curiosity from the unlikeliest of people.  Today, I received a text message from my cousin, wanting to know if he could “go with” the next time I visit a Skyspace.

My sweet Instagrams from the Skyspace couldn’t lure him in. When I tried to organize a family field trip to the Skyspace near us, his eyes glazed over as I was explaining the experience. Drake, however, apparently only needs to throw up his arms and do a couple of un sexy squats (sorry Drake, it wasn’t easy to watch that part – but I totally get that you were feelin’ it.) and he’s down for the cause. If this is what leads to a new generation of museum-goers and art lovers, I’m for it.

Incidentally, this is the same cousin engaging me in conversation about Picasso at family functions (thanks, Hov).

It all feels so momentarily out of the blue.  The media are going crazy, making speculation, referencing to art and hip-hop like a cultural anthropology lesson. That’s not a dig. It’s pretty thrilling to see the conversation take this road.

Last year, Rolling Stone shadowed Drake during his visit to Turrell’s retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “I fuck with Turrell,” Drake says to the interviewer. “He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour.”

(photo via @esther___ruiz/Instagram)

(photo via @esther___ruiz/Instagram)

Lest, you think this video was some sort of collaboration, Turrell put out this statement, “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake fucks with me,” he wrote, “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.”

All I have to say is, ‘Hip-Hop keep doing what you do’.

Learn More: Visit the James Turrell Website

View More: There’s nothing like experiencing a Skyspace in person. But if you can’t, use this video to take a virtual trip.

[VIDEO] James Turrell “Second Meeting” | Exclusive | Art21, Art21 2013

Photo: Screenshot, “Hotline Bling“