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Bizarre Internet-Breaking New Kanye West Video Recreates Infamous Painting By Acclaimed American Realist & PAFA Instructor Vincent Desiderio

VANITY FAIR: I’m watching a video of 12 of the most famous people on the planet naked in bed together. The material is being guarded so closely that the people in possession of it have refused to send me a link in case it gets hacked. Instead I’m looking at it via Skype, with the person on the other end of the line pointing the camera at a laptop screen on which the footage is playing. You can understand the desire for secrecy. As the camera’s ghostly night-vision lens pans slowly, hypnotically over the mostly sleeping bodies, their identities are revealed as follows: George W. Bush. Donald Trump. Anna Wintour. Rihanna. Chris Brown. Taylor Swift. Kanye West. Kim Kardashian West. Ray J. Amber Rose. Caitlyn Jenner. Bill Cosby. MORE

BUSTLE: Yeezus has risen again. On Friday night, Kanye West unveiled a trippy visual for “Famous” before a buzzing audience at the Forum (and before a buzzing audience watching the livefeed via Tidal). And once the nude celeb slumber party/music video drew to a close, the man of the evening grabbed the microphone and said a few words about the disorienting short film. Though West didn’t take a second to spill which of the naked celebrities were real people and which were, I don’t know, wax figures […], he did reveal something about the tableau: “Famous” was inspired by Vincent Desiderio, an American realist painter. The vid draws specifically from Sleep, a huge mural that Desiderio began in 2003 and finished in 2008. MORE

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: West commented on the artist’s inspiration during an event in Los Angeles’ The Forum in conjunction with the video premiere. Desiderio is a New York-based painter and sculptor, and currently a senior critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the New York Academy of Art. The stimulus for Sleep, first presented in 2004 as a work in progress, was his struggle with a rare form of nasal cancer. “I began being visited by this image of a continuous band of sleepers,” Desiderio told The Virginia Quarterly Review. He added, “I mean, it’s not all that mysterious how such a notion might have originated for me, all alone like that, feeling so terribly vulnerable and separated from the world of healthy people, this primitive longing for company, the fantasy affording me a sort of comfort.” West’s recreation of the painting for “Famous” uses the likeness of himself, his wife Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, former President George W. Bush, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby, Anna Wintour, and more. Regarding the nudity, he told Vanity Fair, “We were very careful with shots that had [something] sexual to take them out.” MORE


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