While the rest of the world is talking about Miley Cyrus and the train wreck of a performance she gave at the MTV VMAs (along with her backside looking like a plucked turkey butt in those latex boy shorts) and the
hidden racism that came along with it, I’m actually trying to embrace the positive side in this awards show gone OH-so wrong.
Here are the top five bright moments of the VMAs, and yes, they all involve art.
5. As much as I hate to even add additional commentary to this whole Miley Cyrus fiasco,
She started the article with one statement, “Sorry and you’re welcome.” She knew she HAD to apologize in advance for allowing a likeness of Miley Cyrus, her over-reaching tongue, and crêpe-like butt jiggling deface world-renowned masterpieces.
But, eh, at least she bought art into the conversation:
4. Kanye West gave us Blood on Leaves live for his first time ever performing in the Barclays Center.
His performance began with simplicity: Kanye, a mic and a reddish-orange bloody light.
Then we see an image of a “lynching tree” appear in the background. According to the Schaulager Museum in Basel Switzerland, This tree is reportedly in New Orleans and beneath it are the buried bones of the enslaved Africans whom were victims of lynching.
This is the work of British photographer Steve McQueen. McQueen also has an upcoming film due to be released this fall and this image of the lynching tree is related to that film.
It’s related to McQueen’s fall film, Twelve Years a Slave which tells the story of a free African-American man kidnapped in 1841 and eventually sold into slavery at a cotton plantation in Louisiana. It’s a haunting image for an at-times haunting track — and it all made for a VMA moment that will be hard to forget. And if Simone’s verbal images of “bodies swinging in the Southern breeze” weren’t enough, the backdrop made the television debut of “Blood on the Leaves” that much more unforgettable. (MTV)
Check out the trailer for 12 Years A Slave:
3. The internet is brimming with snickers at Robin Thicke and his mighty tight black and white suit.
However, instead of joining in the fun and calling him names, I’m going to take the high road and help Robin Thicke out. I know he had NO intention of stealing Beetlejuice‘s swag (just like he had no intention in stealing Marvin Gaye‘s sound, right?) But rather, perhaps he truly channeled other forms of art when deciding on his VMA outift.
For example, this Albert Pinto Tibetan Rug, one of my favorite textile designs, likely inspired Thicke’s jailhouse look.
Or perhaps it was illustrator Malike Favre‘s Hide and Seek that inspired his look.
Maybe even Joåo Lauro Fonte‘s Prisoner on Zebra. It’s appropriate, right?
At the end of the day, I blame his wife, Paula Patton, for letting him leave the house looking like that.
2. When it comes to arts integration, I completely expected Lady Gaga to live up to the name of her latest album ARTPOP.
And…Lady Gaga totally gets it (many thanks to her performance art mentor Marina Abramović):
First she appears as a blank canvas:
Then she channels art deco artist Tamara de Lempicka (her painted subjects often had broad and pronounced shoulders):
Next, she carried a gazing ball, an apparent shout-out to Jeff Koons:
She dropped the ball for yet another costume change assisted by her wig handler and her personal painter (complete with an art palette) who provided her assistance to pull off her Roy Lichtenstein look:
And finally she disappeared behind the scenes only to re-emerge as Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus in a seashell-clad body (which she, surprisingly, wore for the remainder of the night!)
Well done, Lady Gaga, well-frickin’-done. You get two claps and two snaps from me and the kids.
1. The top spot goes to KAWS.
He created a special edition Moonman. If there was ever a year to win one, this was THEE year. Drake apparently wanted one so badly that he said he might have to consider buying one from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore, but in the aftermath of the VMAs everybody is talking about someone whose name rhymes with “Riley” whereas everyone should be talking about how dope the VMA stage looked with the oversize Companions. Who is going home with the set design elements? I just want to know. If nobody wants it- can I have it? I’m just saying.
And anyhooo. Class dismissed.