Vanessa Beecroft Joins Kanye West in New Fashion Collection and Album Presentation

Art, fashion, and Yeezy's music collide at Madison Square Garden.

Kanye West at the presentation of season two of his Yeezy clothing line, which was conceived by Beecroft. Photo: Randy Brooke/Getty Images for Kanye West Yeezy

Few individuals have had such a profound impact on contemporary pop culture as Kanye West. Beyond the music industry, the rapper’s penchant for collaboration with other cultural luminaries has led him to make his mark on fashion and art.

Last Thursday, the musician announced on Twitter that on February 11 he plans to stage a listening party for his new album, the presentation of season three of his Yeezy clothing line, plus a performance by the Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the date was strategically selected for maximum impact: coinciding with New York Fashion Week.

But this won’t be the first collaboration between Kanye and Beecroft. On the contrary, the pair have worked extensively together since 2008, when the Italian performance artist collaborated with the rapper for listening party of his album 808s and Heartbreaks, MTV News reported.

Later on, they worked together on Kanye’s music video for his single Only One, which was directed by Oscar winner Spike Jonze. And, crucially, Beecroft exhibited her sculptural work at Kanye’s wedding to Kim Kardashian in 2014.

Vanessa Beecroft VB68 (2011) Photo: Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt

Vanessa Beecroft, VB68 (2011)
Photo: Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main.

Beecroft’s work involves the staging of performances featuring models in various states of undress, posing in a variety of formations and settings. Her confrontational approach and use of nudity have made her a controversial figure, whose work has been criticized for being “fascist and incorrect,” and whose performances have been called “hooters for intellectuals,” according to the New York Times.

As such, the pair seem like an obvious match. Hip hop as an art form has historically embraced controversy and, as a musician, Kanye West certainly has not shied away from it.

The rapper has previously compared himself to Leonardo da Vinci, insisted in an interview that Michelangelo “would be working with shoes” if he was alive today, and even expressed an interest in curating the Venice Biennale.

The music, fashion, and art worlds will surely be watching to see what the pair comes up with on Thursday.

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