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Mutual Masturbation: Vanessa Beecroft and Kanye West

VB_KW.jpgKanye West has finally given me a reason to lose any sliver of interest in his music by choosing to "collaborate" with artist Vanessa Beecroft. There are a myriad of interpretations that could be forced upon the listening party that happened this past Tuesday for his new album, 808s & Heartbreak; while the album played uninterrupted in a Los Angeles gallery, a group of naked women Beecroft installed (first hand accounts put the number between 40 and 50) posed in front of a wall of bright lights. It might even be a great exercise to investigate one through the lens of a fancy theorist like Guy Debord and meanderingly resign that this is "A"rt as if that explains anything. Oh the spectacle! Oh the innovation! What an interesting articulation of the intersection of art and commerce! Whatever. It was a listening party foregrounded by naked women.

West and Beecroft were a perfect match in that they are one-trick
egotists who produce vanity projects that are entirely overrated and
are increasingly unremarkable. Other than Kanye's announcement at the event that
he's always liked Beecroft's work, there is very little connection to
be made between the two aside from their obsession with fashion and
their shameless self-promotion. Taking into account the "Love Lockdown"
music video, this may be, at best, another in series of flimsy articulations of Kanye's frustration
with materialism or, at worst, a showcase of misogynistic tendencies masquerading as creativity. For
Vanessa Beecroft it was just more of the same; the majority of her
performances for the last decade or so have included partially clothed
or nude women.

Perhaps this could be a trite attempt at postmodern
ambivalence but even that is taking it too seriously. The clearest point is that Auto-Tune and titties sell. And by all accounts the
listening party/artistic collaboration was full of both. [RU/FDR/RS]


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  • I wouldn't have been mad if you titled this post "Auto-Tune & Titties".
    Kanye West is an architect of style and custodian of all that is artistic and hip. Now everyone in Hip-Hop will be tripping over themselves to give a damn about Vanessa Beecroft because of what he said, instead of doing their own independant discoveries. I'm also curious as to how many folks went out and rented American Psycho as a result of that video.
    His entire persona at this point is built on training people to believe they have better taste than they actually do.

  • Ro

    @ nova: "His entire persona at this point is built on training people to believe they have better taste than they actually do." Yes.
    If this were, like, 1995 and he was collaborating with Beecroft it might have had the potential to be something thought-provoking. It's so obviously gimmicky and symptomatic of what you said. I mean, the best articulation he could give about why he likes her work had to do with how society told us to wear clothes. The hell? I would have had a little more respect for this if he'd just said "Hey. Titties...Auto-Tune, nah'mean? Y'all gonna like it, and love me, regardless.

  • dar

    you nailed it.

  • Kanye wants to believe he's turning into this. When in fact, he's just turning into this.

  • chynadoll

    I like most of Kanye's music.
    However, I think the main thing that repels my loving his music, is his constant need to force upon us this idea that he is a musical and cultural innovator.
    While I think most of his songs are good...I see nothing original or innovative about them. I thought an innovator was someone who not only birthed something new...but what they gave birth to changed the way people after them approached music, art, business, science, etc.
    I honestly don't see Kanye in that vein or any of his contemporaries for that matter.

  • My only beef is that tiddies (sic) are much better than auto-tune.
    And when you put them together, tiddies automatically lose.
    It's not a good look for tiddies.

  • I love how smutty this website has become. Masturbation. Tiddies. Lube.
    Wait, you didn't say anything about lube. Moving right along.....

  • delanti

    SO well put! i agree with you whole-heartedly.

  • Mysti Knight

    Interesting. There were a couple of great lines in this article, but is not critically articulated enough. I actually auditioned for the event, partly out of curiosity and also a need for money (the pay was $1000 for the evening). No pay for the audition, no notification unless you were accepted and expected to be there that evening. The audition consisted of being photographed in a bikini and topless. Very clinical in out. Being somewhat familiar with Beecroft's work...I questioned this traditional auditioning methodology and the partnership with Kanye West. It did seem more like an excuse to have nude females at a party with music and to attract consumer's then art in my opinion.



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