It's funny that, as conceptual as James Turrell's artwork is, he's got an enormous amount of clout. Beloved by household names like Kanye "Ye" West, Beyoncé, and Drake — Drake's "Hotline Bling" music video reportedly turned a new generation onto Turrell's work — Turrell's work has never been made available to the public due to scale and situational necessities.
That is, Turrell specializes in installations that reframe the viewer's perception of light, space, air, and the sky. His signature "skyspaces" enclose the heavens into a canvas of sorts, literally reframing the viewers' perception of the natural world — hence why Turrell, who rejects the "earthworks" label, could be instead considered a sky artist.
Turrell's creations aren't the sort of thing that you can package into trinkets for the Guggenheim gift shop, in other words.
That's what makes Turrell's partnership with century-old French glassmaker Lalique so intriguing.
I'm so inured to artist-alcohol partnerships that it truly takes something special to break the mold. That this £80,000 GBP (approximately $100,000 USD) Turrell-designed bottle of Glenturret whisky is both the artist's 80th birthday celebration and his first bit of semi-attainable art is what makes the difference.
Well, this isn't really Turrell's first tangible product: in November 2022, Turrell and Lalique rolled out their first proper partnership, which included two perfume bottles. These weren't widely released, however, and now resell for over $30k.
Now, only the 1% is ever gonna be able to shell out the dough for one of the Eight Decades decanters that Turrell created in an edition of 80, but that's art for ya.
Not like anyone else can afford the price of admission for Turrell's yet-unfinished Roden Crater.
But it's all quite cool anyways and Turrell's $80k bottle is quite slick, what with the shapely niche that's internally carved out for the whisky — a single-malt created by Glenturret, founded in Scotland way back in 1763 — and the pyramid-like structure up top.
If only the pyramid was more of a light-filtering prism à la The Dark Side of the Moon. Still, a worthy birthday tribute from Mr. Turrell, who turned 80 on May 6, 2023.