Vincent Desiderio, Whose Painting Was Quoted by Kanye in ‘Famous’ Video: ‘Kanye Saw Things in It That I Don’t Know How He Could’ve Seen’

Vincent Desidero, Sleep, 2008. Click to enlarge.COURTESY THE ARTIST AND THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF ART

Vincent Desidero, Sleep, 2008. Click to enlarge.


Whew! It’s been a whirlwind few day for Kanye West!

Over the weekend in Los Angeles he screened the video for his song “Famous,” which shows various celebrities (Donald Trump, Chris Brown, Kanye, Kim, and so forth) naked in bed, a scene inspired by Vincent Desiderio’s 2008 painting Sleep. Then West projected the video all over New York City. Talking with Vanity Fair about the video, West declared Matthew Barney “my Jesus.” At some point Lena Dunham saw it, was quite displeased, and penned a note on Facebook that criticized the video while mentioning her love for the work of Carolee Schneemann, Kathy Acker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Vito Acconci, among others. The work, she wrote, “feels informed and inspired by the aspects of our culture that make women feel unsafe even in their own beds, in their own bodies.” (One wonders her opinion of Acconci’s Following Piece.)

In any sense, now Desiderio has spoken with Joe Coscarelli at the New York Times about meeting Kanye and seeing the video. He loves it! A bit of the interview:

I was really speechless. Kanye saw things in it that I don’t know how he could’ve seen. Kanye is truly an artist. Talking to him was like speaking to any of my peers in the art world — actually, more like talking to the brightest art students that have their eyes wide open.

Desiderio, who is senior critic at the New York Academy of Art, also mentions that time Kanye started screaming “I am Warhol” in a radio interview with Sway. Enjoy that below, and give the whole interview a read. Lots to enjoy in it.

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