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VANESSA BEECROFT

FINE ARTIST

Vanessa Beecroft

Vanessa Beecroft is an Italian-born American performance artist, photographer, and painter best known for creating large-scale phalanx configurations of nude and semi-nude static models as ‘living paintings,’ whose importance resides in how her tableaux vivants deploy the rhetoric of painting in the space of live performance.

Beecroft’s work has been shown internationally since 1993, and has shaped performance art, the representation of the female body, and sociopolitical discussions of art. Her performances (sequentially titled VB, followed by the number) have been an ongoing practice for over twenty-five years. 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.

Presented across some of the world’s preeminent museums and major contemporary events, Beecroft’s performances highlight the tensions between nakedness and clothing, constraint and freedom, the collective and the individual, and human strength and weakness, creating a body of work that is at once affirming, depressing, celebratory, condemnatory, faintly masochistic yet always, resolutely, autobiographical.

One of the first artists to collaborate with fashion brands, starting in the 1990s, Beecroft has also collaborated extensively with musician, producer and designer Kanye West since 2008. Now belonging to popular culture as well as the contemporary art canon, her work manifests a deep dialogue with the history of art and representations across the traditions of Europe and of many of the world’s cultures. She is also a keen practitioner of photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture, using each medium to present perspectives on the body, as she brings Renaissance influences together with modern representation. Her art is a passionate field of experimentation, rooted in history, unraveling according to its own rules, and expanding into the world where it takes on philosophical and political tones in order to question the significance of our existence as human beings.

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SELECTED COLLABORATIONS

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“The first thought is that Beecroft’s work, its use of real time, real space and real flesh, would have to be invented if it didn't already exist.”

- The New York Times
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VB88: Kappa
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VB88: Kappa
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VB88: Kappa
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VB88: Kappa

“Crosshatching minimalism, performance art, film and fashion, Vanessa’s durational performances have always stood out as a form of live portraiture.”

- Neville Wakefield
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“The melding of Saint Laurent’s legacy and Beecroft’s confrontational eye speaks to the project’s interest in the full spectrum of female identity.”

- Interview Magazine
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'SKIMS x U.S. Olympic Team'
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'SKIMS x U.S. Olympic Team'
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'SKIMS x U.S. Olympic Team'
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'SKIMS x U.S. Olympic Team'
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'SKIMS x U.S. Olympic Team'
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'SKIMS x U.S. Olympic Team'
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VB78: Tod’s

“Beecroft occupies an uncanny, distinguished space both between and above the newly adjacent art and fashion universes.”

- New York Magazine
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VB78: Tod’s
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VB78: Tod’s
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“Vanessa is very focused, she's like my eyes, she's a piece of my brain.”

- Kanye West
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“Vanessa Beecroft is a Yeezy collaborator whose creative vision rivals Kanye West's own capacity to generate conversation and controversy.”

- i-D Magazine
Yeezy Season 1
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VB87: Moncler Genius
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VB87: Moncler Genius

“In Vanessa Beecroft‘s hands, the two iconic pieces of apparel come together to create something that’s part performance art and part fashion installation.”

- Hypebeast
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VB87: Moncler Genius
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“In today’s world I would rather recycle, use what we already have and repurpose it. So my immediate thought for Moncler was to use what was out there already.”

- Vanessa Beecroft
VB79: Valentino
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“Asking Vanessa to interpret this idea of ours was almost automatic: no one better than her, with an extremely strong and contemporary approach is able to merge, through her art, the concepts of beauty, reality, perfection and uniqueness/diversity.”

- Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pierpaolo Piccioli, Creative Directors, Valentino
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VB79: Valentino
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“In Vanessa’s performance, different individuals, clothed in ‘uniform’ items, come together in a shared moment that is lived singularly portraying their personal beauty belief.”

- Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pierpaolo Piccioli, Creative Directors, Valentino
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Nebuchadnezzar
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Nebuchadnezzar

“‘Nebuchadnezzar’ brings together elements from different worlds, including opera, fine art, modern dance, and gospel music, to create an innovative performance structure.”

- Def Jam Records
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“Leaning on talents of its stage design and breathtaking choreography, the production is a minimalist masterpiece.”

- The Source
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“The performance juxtaposes the purity of the female body, its nudity, to the dirt, color, and substance of the earth.”

- Vanessa Beecroft
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“Her work is important as we continue to navigate our way through the quagmire of identity politics and what it means to be a human being.”

- It’s Nice That
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“Whenever I paint, draw or make a sculpture I end up doing something related to the body. It is still the most important thing to me and I am always drawn to depictions of strong, female bodies like those of Michelangelo and Helmut Newton.”

- Vanessa Beecroft
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SELECTED PERFORMANCES

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“Vanessa Beecroft works in the gap between art and life. The work is neither performance nor documentary, but something in between.”

-Jeffrey Deitch
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“The aim of the piece is to create an image of liberty with no limits given in the representation of a group of women posed at attention.”

- Vanessa Beecroft
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VB35: SHOW
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VB35: SHOW

“SHOW was a circuit-jamming combination of fashion, theater and art.”

- The New York Times
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This is Dope

- Leonardo Di Caprio
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“What I see is what was carefully composed fall apart. I allow chaos to come. I'm interested in seeing what'll happen, and I never know.''

- Vanessa Beecroft
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“The unnatural juxtaposition between the life and warmth of the models and the cold stillness of stone highlights the melancholy and fascination of sculpture.”

- Vanessa Beecroft
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“Beecroft conducts an acute investigation of the body, beauty and female identity.”

- Lia Rumma Gallery
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“Beecroft is making contemporary versions of the complex figurative compositions that have challenged painters from the Renaissance onwards. She sets up a structure for the participants in her live events to create their own composition, presenting themselves according to their own internalized aesthetic system.”

- Deitch Gallery
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SELECTED ARCHIVE

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“The purpose is to work on a specific subject and to create an image or a portrait that has the effect of a monument, even if it lasts briefly. The references are classical paintings and portraits, the girls are contemporary models. The practice is to stand, not talking, and to wait until it ends, being watched as a picture and photographed as though on a photo shoot.”

- Vanessa Beecroft
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“We find the aura of the icon – the beauty and fragility, and the suspension of time, characteristic of Beecroft’s other work.”

- Artforum
VB56: Louis Vuitton

“If one is present at a Vanessa Beecroft performance, they are not erotic. You feel the power of the women's presence. It is an intimidating image.”

- Jeffrey Deitch
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VB56: Louis Vuitton
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VB56: Louis Vuitton
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VB25
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“As a culture right now, we're a mass of contradictions and, like all great art, Vanessa Beecroft's performances beam that uncomfortable truth right back at us.”

- The Guardian
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VANESSA BEECROFT