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Kanye West Famous exhbition
Kanye West’s ‘Famous’ (2016)Courtesy the artist and Blum & Poe gallery, photography Sam Kahn

Kanye West takes on the art world with ‘Famous’ exhibition

The exclusive show, featuring the naked waxworks from the original video, was displayed in LA this weekend

When it was first released back in June, Kanye West’s “Famous” caused an outcry. Featuring 12 naked wax works in a post-coital slumber – including Rihanna, Donald Trump, Taylor Swift and Chris Brown – it was one of the most polarising music videos in recent memory. Lena Dunham called it “disgusting” and “sickening”, while original artist Vincent Desiderio deemed it an “extraordinary gift.” Bizarrely, filmmaker Werner Herzog was so captivated by the clip that he ended up doing a six-minute analysis on it.

Now, Kanye West has decided to take the provocative project a step further. In a surprise career move, the “Fade” rapper opened his first ever art exhibition over the weekend; putting the original “Famous” waxworks on display at LA’s Blum & Poe.

The exclusive event took place over two days this weekend (August 27 and 28) and featured all 12 bodies from the original video. Scored by surround-sound heavy breathing, the model’s chests softly expanded and contracted – creating an eerie visual much like the original video.  

“The work alone is extraordinary and completely succeeds as a sculpture and multi-media installation,” gushed Blum & Poe co-founder Tim Blum. “If you didn't know that this was a work by Kanye West, and instead was the work of a known artist in the art world, the perception of the piece would be completely different – it would be celebrated and universally supported at the highest level.”

West, who was in New York for the MTV Video Music Awards, attended the show via FaceTime. In an attempt to be present at the event, his face was displayed on an iPad, which was casually roving around the venue on a moveable tripod.

“It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV,” he explained during a speech at the VMAs on Sunday (August 28). “The audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump. I mean, I put Ray J in there, bro. This is fame, bro... We came over in the same boat, now we're all in the same bed. Maybe different boats.”