Kanye’s ‘FAMOUS’ Sculpture: The Inspiration, The Art and Its $4 Million Price Tag

kanye's famous sculpture IIHIH

Paying homage to 12 of the biggest names in pop culture, FAMOUS, is a mixed media art installation by Kanye West inspired by Vincent Desiderio’s 2008 painting “Sleep” and based on his single and music video of the same name.

Kanye’s ‘FAMOUS’ Sculpture

Kanye West Famous Sculpture

famous, art installation by kanye

The piece, which featured 12 creepily life-like silicone sculptures of Hollywood celebs* in one large bed, was on display at the Los Angeles Blum & Poe Gallery for only one weekend in August.

Kim Kardashian unveiled the piece to the public as Kanye attended via Skype.
Kim Kardashian unveiled the piece to the public as Kanye attended via Skype.
Kanye West Famous Sculpture
Bill Cosby is one of the figures represented in the piece.

kanye west artwork

The 2004-2008 oil painting below by Vincent Desiderio served as inspiration for the piece.

Vincent Desiderio’s “Sleep,” 2008. © Vincent Desiderio, courtesy Marlborough Gallery.
Vincent Desiderio’s “Sleep,” 2008. © Vincent Desiderio, courtesy Marlborough Gallery.

Kanye, who has long been interested in art, melds music and sculpture in the piece, putting a modern twist on Desiderio’s tableaux. And there’s the obvious allusions to the Last Supper as well.

kanye west art installation Famous

kanye west sculpture of people in bed

kanye west sculpture of people in bed

Please forgive the censor bars in some of the images below, but I have to comply with Google’s conservative Ad Sense policies:

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taylor swift kanye west

*The 12 celebrities cast in silicone are Kayne West, lying peacefully between his wife and Taylor Swift; Anna Wintour; Donald Trump; Chris Brown; Rihanna; Bill Cosby, George Bush Jr, Ray J, Amber Rose and Caitlyn Jenner.

Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian seems as transfixed with her own silicone likeness as she is with her real one

A mixed media installation by Kanye West

As a trained multi-disciplinary artist, Kanye West works fluently in an expansive range from music, to fashion, to performance and more. He has collaborated with other leading contemporary artists such as Takashi Murakami, Steve McQueen, George Condo, Vanessa Beecroft, Marco Brambilla, Jackie Nickerson, Michel Gondry, among others. West’s language encompasses fantasy, sex, beauty, celebrity, faith, darkness, power and above all, truth.

Last year, West received a doctorate from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in recognition of his many accomplishments in the fine arts, and was introduced by artist and SAIC professor Nick Cave.

In a commentary from Art Basel Miami in 2014, New York Magazine posed the question, “Could Kanye West be the world’s most committed artist?” stating: “Commitment is a big part of what we admire in fine art. When Jerry Saltz recently shared his memory of seeing a performance artist in 1990 … we felt punch-line giddy when he revealed this young man was Matthew Barney. An artist’s commitment over the decades illuminates a narrative that makes us feel secure watching individuals push their boundaries … Kanye West has this quality; he is an artist who commits, even when it isn’t prudent, comfortable, realistic, or flattering.”

In his new work, Famous, West takes on the subject of myth and celebrity, daringly and stunningly ripped from the pages of his own personal narrative. Famous reduces a modern pantheon of celebrity figures to a group of vulnerable — nude, yet desexualized — sleeping partners, stripped cleanly of any artifice or pretense that invokes celebrity. The figures’ essential, primal humanity is revealed, reinforced by the subtle breathing mechanisms gently at work inside of each sculpture. Playing with the idea of neo-religious tableaux, the figures become anonymous, even angelic, outside the framework of modern media culture.

The installation is made up of 12 photo-realistic lifelike silicone sculptures, hand-fabricated by over 30 fabricators in two Los Angeles-based studios over a period of two and a half months.

Blum & Poe is offering Kanye’s ‘FAMOUS’ Sculpture for $4 million USD.

press release, images and information courtesy of Getty images and Blum & Poe gallery