No matter your opinion of him, Kanye West is inarguably a master sampler.
Famous – the single whose new video’s sole purpose seems to have been to ignite controversy amongst the easily riled – alone samples three songs, including Nina Simone’s Do What You Gotta Do and Sister Nancy’s infectious refrain from Bam Bam. It only makes sense that the music video should also draw generously from other works: not only Kim Kardashian: Superstar, but Vincent Desiderio’s Sleep.
Desiderio is a New York-based (where else?) photo realist painter and senior art critic whose original work premiered at New York’s Marlborough Gallery in 2003 but – not unlike The Life of Pablo – remained a work in progress until 2008, ostensibly due to its gargantuan size: Sleep is approximately 2.43m in height by 7.31m in length.
Conversely, Famous was reportedly filmed over a period of three months and existed in four different formations with several different collaborators until West settled on the finished piece: a heavy-handed, quasi-pious tableau of some of the world’s biggest celebrities lying naked and supine in repose.
Desiderio’s works are also included in the collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Guggenheim, amongst other institutions whose combined audiences dwarf both the 8,000 people who assembled at LA’s Forum theatre to watch the unveiling of Famous over the weekend and those who have forgotten to deactivate their Tidal subscription since Lemonade became available on iTunes.
If you still have Tidal, you can watch Famous here.
Tile image: Tidal
Cover image: Vincent Desiderio