|VB 64, Deitch Gallery, Long Island City, New York, 2009|
Vanessa Beecroft‘s newest performance, VB64, took place at Deitch Projects on March 6th, the second day of the New York Armory Show. Once again, the controversial Beecroft and the equally, though differently, controversial Kanye West joined forces (the two staged a collaborative listening event for the debut of 808s & Heartbreak, at which West’s music plays and Beecroft’s models pose). Their previous collaborations have been highlighted in a fall issue of The Fader magazine. VB64 interwove live models and gesso sculptures, an amalgam of equally passive living and lifeless forms. The white body paint on the models matched the gesso on the cast sculptures, and both animate and inanimate bodies boasted the slim, fashioned figures for which Beecroft’s performers have become notorious.
Artforum’s investigative critic Rhonda Lieberman described the event in terms that are as eerie as they are clinical. “Effectively aestheticized, abstracted by the gessolike spackle, the women were literally ornamental figures,” she writes, “their breath unobtrusive, their movements very, very slow.” West, who is producing the film of VB64, reportedly flew in from Paris just to appear at the performance, his presence further clouding Beecroft’s weird half-mainstream, half-elusive mystique. Though the performance has ended, the sculptures (including wax and gesso figures not made for the performance) will be on view at Deitch through April 12th. A video of VB64 will also be projected in the gallery space throughout the exhibition.