Dec 20, 2009


I have long been an admirer of Vanessa Beecroft's artwork. She primarily stages performances of live models in elaborate tableaus that are visually arresting, brilliantly simple and strangely uncomfortable. The models are often nude, vaguely bored and fetishistically fashion bound, the spectator observes voyeuristically. I have one of her artist monographs, and I once read all her writing in it, her personal statements and journal entries. From her writer voice I interpreted her as a bit of a fascist, neurotic, obsessive, domineering. She struggles with bulimia and is the type of person who takes no pleasure in food - completely controlling. There was no photo, so I imagined her as someone older, German, with crazy Vivienne Westwood hair. someone not beautiful yet obsessed with beauty.

I watched the documentary The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins by Pietra Brettkelly tonight. I had not heard about it, I found it randomly at Movie Madness. It chronicles Beecroft's attempt to adopt a pair of Sudanese twins that she meets in an orphanage and then attempts to adopt without first telling her husband. She is neither old nor German, although her hair is a bit crazy. She is in fact beautiful, with a lilting Italian voice and a large magnetic smile. Who knew?? Yes she is artistically eccentric, and manipulative, but mostly emboldened in her own self-absorption, she is not nearly as commanding as I imagined. Her demands and behavior are childlike in their naivitee, despite being selfish and potentially cruel. The focus Brettkelly shines on her only amplifies this disconnect.

At any rate, I still love her work.

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