AO On Site (with AO Video): Vanessa Beecroft, VB64, at Deitch Studios in Long Island City, Saturday, March 6th, 2009

March 10th, 2009

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

Long Island City isn’t the typical location for high-profile New York art openings, nor is Queens on a Friday night during Armory Week the usual hotspot for glossy fashion and art hordes. Then again, it’s been eight years since Vanessa Beecroft last staged one of her infamous performances in the city.   Judging from the crowd gathered outside on the East River waterfront and inside the brightly-lit warehouse, Deitch Projects managed to time her re-entry perfectly.

Deitch Projects
Vanessa Beecroft VB64
4-40 44th Drive, Long Island City
Opening March 6; through April 12, 2009

RELATED LINKS

Exhibition Page [Deitch Projects]
Manufacturing Value: Vanessa Beecroft’s VB64 at Deitch Projects, LIC [Art in America]
Vanessa Beecroft at Deitch! [Supreme Management Blog]
Vanessa and Kanye Get Metaphysical [Style File Blog]
Vanessa Beecroft Reveals All [The Art Newspaper]
For the Love of Art: Makeup on the Vanessa Beecroft Shoot [Life is Beautiful]
Vanessa Beecroft’s Nude Models at Deitch Projects [Village Voice]


AO ON SITE: VANESSA BEECROFT VB64 AT DEITCH STUDIOS IN LONG ISLAND CITY, SATURDAY, MARCH 6TH, 2009 from Art Observed on Vimeo

The presentation, influenced by classical sculpture in Greece and the Italian Peninsula as well as ancient burial tombs, combines 13 sculpted wax figures with 20 live naked female models painted white. The two are virtually indistinguishable at first glance, lying in various poses (and repose) on the floor of the gallery space. In the second area of the gallery, six black gesso and wax sculptures of the female form are displayed on a table. The sculptures, along with the video of the March 6 performance filmed by the one and only Kanye West, go on view at Deitch Studios from March 7 to April 12.

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

Beecroft is a polarizing figure who has spoken about her own battles with bulimia and a failed marriage and how she projects these shortcomings onto the “girls” she uses in her performances.  In a perfect world, these live pieces explore identity politics through voyeuristic exchanges between the models and their audience.  And she is certainly provocative, making bold statements like, “I never liked the change in my own body into a woman, and they represent the time before womanhood.”  While the result is not always successful (New York Times critic Ken Johnson skewered her 2002 show with Deitch), VB64 was both refreshing and familiar after several days of Armory madness in the midst of an economic recession.  And, like her or not, Vanessa Beecroft manages to combine everyday materials – light, nude females, paint – into something electrifying.


Vanessa Beecroft and Kanye West at Deitch Projects for the performance of VB64, photo via Supreme Management.

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved


Jeffrey Deitch at Vanessa Beecroft’s VB64, via Supreme Management.

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Vanessa Beecroft VB64 at Deitch Studios – photo by ArtObserved

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Deitch Studios in Long Island City – photo by Art Observed

Commentary and photos by Kelsey Keith unless otherwise noted.