Kanye West’s determination for art world-recognition is relentless, as evidenced by the controversial music video for his latest track, “Famous,” which premiered Friday, June 24th.
For the provocateur’s latest project, West draws creative and compositional inspiration from Sleep, a 24-foot-long painting of nudes sprawled out in tangled sheets by American artist Vincent Desiderio, who has taken many cues from 19th century erotic masters such as Gustav Courbet.
The music video is West’s re-imagining of the large-scale painting, starring a cast of subjects with whom he’s had public encounters with in the past: George W. Bush, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian West, Chris Brown, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, and disgraced comedian Bill Cosby.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, which was published ahead of the music video’s release, West regarded his life with Kardashian West as “walking performance art.” He also proclaimed, “Matthew Barney is my Jesus.” West attended Barney’s epic River of Fundament premiere in 2014, according to Animal New York, and has admired the durational performance artist’s works, which include his challenging and boundary-breaking Cremaster Cycle.
The artist by now is known for such pronouncements. Earlier this year, West claimed that his tweets were “a form of contemporary art only compromised by people trying to tell me what to tweet and what not to tweet….” He also wrote, “No one can ask me or try to tell me what to Instagram. It’s my art.”
In February, West collaborated with artist Vanessa Beecroft on his new fashion collection, and has also participated in a bizarre photoshoot shot by Jürgen Teller last year; West also was involved in a music video shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, directed by artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. Last year, West even tried his hand at curation.
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