Multidisciplinary Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft first rose to prominence in the contemporary art world by staging “performances” that typically involve small armies of models—usually partially or wholly nude—and made up in uniform color palettes. Her work eventually caught the eye of Kanye West, and the two collaborated off and on over a decade. Now, Beecroft is turning her attention to the rapper’s wife: Kim Kardashian West. The artist and reality TV star are teaming up for a new fragrance campaign.
The collaboration is something of an unexpected twist—Kardashian and Beecroft have not always seen eye to eye. In a 2016 New York magazine profile, the artist suggested Kardashian was to blame for her demotion from Kanye’s payroll after a Yeezy fashion show collaboration. But the two have apparently kissed and made up.
In social media posts made on Tuesday promoting her soon-to-be-released fragrance, KKW Body, Kardashian gave a shout-out to Beecroft, who shot the nude photos for the campaign. In an Instagram post, where Kardashian appears nude with a coating of clay, she writes: “We took a mold of my body and made it a perfume bottle. @kkwfragrance.” The release of the fragrance is set for April 30.
Beecroft’s collaborations with West date back to 2008 when the artist first collaborated with the rapper for a listening party of his album 808s & Heartbreaks. Later, they worked together on Kanye’s music video for his single “Only One,” which was directed by Oscar winner Spike Jonze. And Beecroft exhibited her sculptural work at Kanye and Kim’s wedding in 2014.
But all was not well in ‘Gramalot, apparently. After staging a listening party and performance for Kanye’s Yeezy clothing line presentation in 2016, Beecroft told New York that she had been downgraded to a “Kayne contractor” after being a full-time employee. “It was Kim Kardashian. She cut everything out,” the artist said. (Beecroft had not responded to artnet News’s request for comment as of publication time.)
In a recent interview in Another magazine, Beecroft said that working with Kanye was a “once in a lifetime experience.” And despite having expressed an aversion to gallery shows, Beecroft’s most recent gallery venture was a well-received show at Los Angeles gallery Pio Pico which just happens to have been founded by her husband, artist Federico Spadoni.
The artist showed ceramic sculptures, tiles, and a vast mural. Not surprisingly, the works had a performative element, including the mural on view, which was formed from bodies writhing in clay.
Will there eventually be a market for Beecroft’s shots of Kardashian? According to the artnet Price Database, the strongest performing of the artist’s works at auction to date are her photographs of nude model groupings. The record at auction to date is $156,500 paid for VB43 (2000), at Phillips in 2002.
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