American billionaire Mark Pincus, founder of the online gaming company Zynga, has donated $3 million to Roden Crater, a largescale Land artwork that artist James Turrell has been creating within a dormant volcano in the Painted Desert region of Northern Arizona for more than four decades. The gift was announced by Marc Glimcher of Pace Gallery, which exhibited works by Turrell at Frieze Los Angeles last weekend, at a private party honoring the artist at San Vicente Bungalows in West Hollywood on February 13.
Since acquiring the volcanic cinder cone in 1977, Turrell built tunnels and apertures throughout in order to create a controlled environment where visitors can contemplate space and light. “The project itself feels, to me, like modern-day pyramids,” Pincus told the Los Angeles Times. “The ambition and scale and scope of it is something that has the potential to be something that people, many generations from now, will be able to experience and get something amazing from—maybe something beyond what we can imagine today.”
Turrell, who didn’t make an appearance at the party, which boasted of many high-profile attendees—including actor Leonardo DiCaprio, tennis player Maria Sharapova, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles director Klaus Biesenbach—told the Times, “Mark’s support comes at a critical juncture,” he said. “The project is experiencing great momentum and this will further drive progress.”
The donation follows a $10 million gift from American rapper Kanye West, who shot the film Jesus Is King, 2019, inside the crater last year. The contributions bring the project nearer to completion—the artist hopes to open the site to the public within the next five years. Arizona State University, in partnership with the nonprofit Skystone Foundation, and the crowdsourced campaign Friends of Roden Crater are raising funds for the final stages of construction and as well as operating expenses for the project.