Reading Assignment #5- Vanessa Beecroft



I could go on and on forever about Vanessa Beecroft and her work, but instead I’m going to do the ol’ copy and paste from an awesome description of her work first.

“Vanessa Beecroft’s work is a fusion of conceptual issues and aesthetic concerns, focusing on large-scale performance art, usually involving live female models (often nude). At her performances, video recordings and photographs are made, to be exhibited as documentation of the performances, but also as separate works of art. The work and her conceptual approach is neither performance nor documentary, but something in between, and closer to Renaissance painting. She sets up a structure for the participants in her live events to create their own ephemeral composition. The performances are existential encounters between models and audience, their shame and their expectations. Each performance is made for a specific location and often references the political, historical, or social associations of the place where it is held. Beecroft’s work is deceptively simple in its execution, provoking questions around identity politics and voyeurism in the complex relationship between viewer, model and context.

Beecroft’s performances have been described as art, fashion, brilliant, terrible, evocative, provocative, disturbing, sexist, and empowering. The primary material in her work is the live female figure, which remains ephemeral, and separate. These women, mainly unclothed, similar, unified through details like hair color, or identical shoes, stand motionless, unapproachable and regimented in the space while viewers watch them. Neither performance nor documentary, Beecroft’s live events are recorded through photography and film, but her conceptual approach is actually closer to painting: she makes contemporary versions of the complex figurative compositions that have challenged painters from the Renaissance onwards. Beecroft’s more recent work has a slightly more theatrical approach—the uniforms are period clothing, not nudity, and some of her performances include food, while others have featured men in military attire.”

So like, basically Vanessa Beecroft is everything I live for. It says above that she’s been criticized for being sexist, terrible, disturbing- but I 100% agree with the people who say it’s empowering. Like, what? It’s okay for women to be wearing next to nothing- OR NOTHING AT ALL- staring you right in the face in a magazine ad or in a movie or a porno or whatever the hell else- but it’s not okay for them to be there, standing in your presence, looking you right in the face in a museum (or whatever other space)? That just doesn’t make sense to me. She’s forcing the audience to have an uncomfortable human interaction. HUMAN. Not through technology or literature or any other form of visuals. HUMAN. Also, what makes a nude woman u


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