Vanessa Beecroft, an Italian performance artist famous for injecting her ideas of race into her art, is perhaps best known stateside for collaborating with Kanye West and his fashion career. Beecroft was the subject of a New York magazine profile and made an interesting determination about Blackness that seemingly channels the zany ideas regarding race the beleaguered Rachel Dolezal also promoted.
New York writer Amy Larocca takes the daring leap inside the mind of Beecroft, who early on goes off into a tangent in where she recognizes herself both as a white woman but also as a Black man ala Kanye West. Trying to make sense of the bizarre duality Beecroft expressed is difficult, and below we’ve captured an excerpt of the piece where she shares this thought.
From New York:
The large-scale performance-art pieces she has been creating for the past 25 years have been entirely about bodies — often nude, usually female and standing stock-still in various martial phalanx formations — and she has always described this work as autobiographical. But for the past eight years, a significant percentage of what she has produced has been made in mind-meld with Kanye West. “I have divided my personality,” she says. “There is Vanessa Beecroft as a European white female, and then there is Vanessa Beecroft as Kanye, an African-American male.” Later she tells me, “I even did a DNA test thinking maybe I am black? I actually wasn’t. I was kind of disappointed, and I don’t want to believe it. I want to do it again, because when I work with Africans or African-Americans, I feel that I am autobiographical. If I don’t call myself white, maybe I am not.”
Much of the rest of the piece focuses on Beecroft’s intense work alongside West, including designing the entertainer’s wedding to Kim Kardashian in Florence. Beecroft was also responsible for the human and color-coded spectacle of the Yeezy Season fashion show in where she grouped models together by skin tone.
In past times, Beecroft has mentioned this racial symbiosis with West and seems to revel in it. It is a dangerous game to play considering she does have the advantage of actually being a wealthy white woman in a world where if she were Black and in her position, she would be routinely criticized for the slightest of things.
According to the interview, she is no longer on West’s payroll and says that Kim Kardashian cut her off from the money train.
The entire piece on Vanessa Beecroft can be seen by following this link.