Kanye gets a little "artsy-fartsy" (his words)
Kanye West’s current bid for Artistic Credibility has recently lead to some rather erratic behavior. He recorded an album that consisted entirely of tuneless, yet emotional vocoder. He threatened to intern at Louis Vuitton, even though pretty much no one wanted him to do that. And he got himself a Lionel Ritchie-style mullet. Generally, the things one does when trying to get the attention of the art world.
Proving, once again, that High Art is a mercurial and demanding mistress, West spent last Friday night at Deitch Studios, a space generally reserved for contemporary art fans hard-core enough to schlep out to Long Island City. The event was the live performance of Vanessa Beecroft’s piece VB64, and West was there as the producer of a video of the performance.
Beecroft, as you probably know, is a former exercise bulimic famous for her tableaux vivants starring nude modelesque women. VB64 was staged in two parts — one room held naked women painted totally white and splayed out on the floor, mixed in with wax and gesso sculptures of more women. Another room featured sculptures of naked women painted black and lying on a table. The live women, who all looked pretty fantastic without clothes, were nearly impossible to tell apart from the sculptures, thus supposedly fostering a feeling of alienation in the viewer. (I just kind of felt bad about myself.)
The crowd studiously avoided staring at either the models or West and his ridiculously attractive girlfriend, Amber Rose. Sporting a very elaborate letterman jacket, West seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself, studying the art/women intently. Rose — who was wearing sunglasses even though it was nighttime — trailed behind West, giving stony looks to the few women who displayed the temerity to go up and talk to him. As she was wearing spikes on her blazer, very few did.
After what felt like a pathetically long time following West around, I summoned the courage to ask him what he thought of Beecroft’s art. He became very analytical.
“It’s just dramatic, compelling and emotional. I love the way she takes real women and turns them into models,” he said. Then he paused and smiled. “That’s about as artsy-fartsy as I can go.”
The non-human part of Beecroft’s installation and West’s video of the performance is on display through April 12. See the Deitch Projects site for more details.