Kanye Loves Kanye: A Strange L.A. Art Exhibition Worshipping Kanye West

Fifty different artists have submitted works for a gallery show boasting the largest collection of Yeezy-inspired art. And The Daily Beast got a sneak peek. “>

What if Kanye made a song about Kanye? Kanye West pontificated on I Love Kanye, the Life of Pablo freestyle that confirmed just how wholly aware Kanye is of the pop-culture mystique hes created around his own identity. Hed either love or hate (but probably love) Kanye Loves Kanye, the new pop-up exhibition that opens today in Los Angeles showcasing the work of more than 50 artists unified by one compelling theme: Kanye.

After all, West made his own Werner Herzog-approved Famous video without the express participation of all the celebs splayed nude, in a giant bed, opposite sleeping doppelgangers of himself and Kim Kardashianand then turned it into an art exhibit. InKanye Loves Kanye, visitors are invited to enter a sacred space of Kanye-worship to either spiritually commune with or just gawk at images of Yeezy, as interpreted by dozens of different artists.

The viewer will walk into a space, incense burning, Tibetan monk music playing in the background to create this religious experience, creator-curator Matty Mo told The Daily Beast. The L.A.-based artist behind the viral Selfie mural in Venice and The Springs polka dots, who goes by the moniker The Most Famous Artist, grinned as he described what was in store for the curious who catch the show timed to coincide with Wests Los Angeles Life of Pablo tour stops this week.

Yeezus is laid at your feet and viewers will enter one or two at a time so that it becomes a sort of sanctuary, he said. What will also start to happen as a result of that is a long line will start to form, which is very much Kanye West, creating this idea of waitingofanticipation.

Fifty-odd pieces of starkly contrasting Kanye art were laid out on the bare concrete floor, ranging from more traditional painted portraits to mixed-media collage to woodwork. Colorful paintings of the old Kanye, the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye. Kanye standing against the American flag. Kanye as Pablo. Kanye as Warhol. Kanye as Kim K. KanyekissingKim in the style of Picasso, their faces melting lovingly into one anothers.

Plastic Jesuss Yeezus, depicting Kanye as Jesus on a cross, sat a few feet away from a portrait of West made with Tootsie Roll wrappers. Hes really innovative, Mo said of the artist. But he may not have gotten the recognition or the distribution he wanted off this one piece. But as part of a whole, he gets credit for being the guy who uses Tootsie Pops.

A piece by Simply Sara Art made out of United States Postal Service stickers has already racked up over a million views from a making-of video the artist posted online last month.Popular digital collage artist Johnny Smiths contribution imagines Kanye as a woman with breasts also made out of Kanye.

One of the collections few multimedia pieces features West, hands clasped in prayer, painted onto an aging beige seatbelta reference to the 2002 car accident that famously left the then-producer badly injured, requiring doctors to wire his jaw shut. Two weeks later, West recorded his breakout hit Through the Wire, the track that earned him his first Grammy nomination as a solo rap artist the year his debut LP The College Dropout won Best Rap Album of the Year. Ten feet away rested a painting by a different artist depicting West, battered and bruised, convalescing in the hospital shortly afterward.

It all started with two Kanye paintings in Mos personal collection, on a wall in his own home nearby in downtown Los Angeless Arts District. Mo, a former digital marketing startup exec, had long been taken with certain ideas of celebrity, fame, and the internet. If you look at Pop Art and the icons that were used as imagery for artists like Andy Warhol, Marilyn comes to mind. So many artists have recreated Marilyn as this icon of celebrity from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. But I think in the internet age Kanye West has a similar type of celebrity cachet. What I wanted hanging in my house was a portrait of Kanye that was abstract and interesting.

He commissioned artist MR Herget to paint a portrait of West in his own style. Mo hung the black on white Herget piece in his office and posted it on Instagram to his own 152,000 followers. The Kanye piece prompted another artist, Iwan Roberts, to reach out. Once Mo had two iconic Kanye originals in his possession, the idea to build something far greater in Yes image took root. He put out a call for more artist submissions seeking Kanye works across a vast spectrum of aesthetic styles, media, and varying levels of renownartists with 100 followers, all the way up to 150,000 followers.

Youve definitely seen some of these Kanye art pieces around the internet. The best of them have an innate viral quality, like Calen Blakes tongue-in-buttcheek Kimye design envisioning Yes grinning mug on Kims nude internet-breaking Paper magazine cover pose. Technically theyve all been donated to the Kanye Loves Kanye collection in exchange for the exposure a trendy group show like this might bring, although some artists have planned ahead and will be selling limited prints on site.

Mo selected an assortment of artwork from hundreds of candidates, and is still accepting new submissions on the shows website. He says he shied away from the excessively negative ones. I know theres a little bit of sarcasm in some of these pieces, he said, glancing at Blakes Kimye, but I wanted it to be something he could look at and appreciate, and not find that it was something that was making fun of himbecause thats not the intention.

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Warhol, he says, made himself a Marilyn by using Marilyn. Even Kim Ks turned celebrity itself into an art form, Mo admitted. Art is using the tools of your time to tell the stories of your time with nods to the greats.

The other night, Mo had a dream that Kanye and Kim came to seeKanye Loves Kanye. The offer stands, should Yeezy like to have his own private tour. Im a big believer in the universe providing, he offers. If this exhibition doesnt turn out to be the one he stops by, I hope eventually that he does see this work and appreciate it for all the hours of creativity that a community of people put into it. Man, it would be so cool if I got a picture with Kanye West out of this.

Kanye Loves Kanye runs October 25-26, from 11am to 4pm, at 1820 Industrial Street in theArts District of Downtown Los Angeles.

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/25/kanye-loves-kanye-a-strange-l-a-art-exhibition-worshipping-kanye-west.html


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