Oct 20, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Kanye West is no stranger to the art world as the mega-celebrity continues to innovate and blur the lines between music, fashion and art. Back in February, TLOP, Kanye’s latest album was released at his third Yeezy fashion show with an installation by contemporary artist Vanessa Beecroft. The album’s Tumblr-like artwork was also designed by Peter De Potter, who has been a Kanye collaborator since 2001. Then in March, Kanye hosted a three day TLOP pop-up shop. With no knowledge of what would be sold nor the price points, obsessed fans lined up days in advance. There, tour merch was sold, created in collaboration with artist Cali Thornhill Dewitt.
It was no wonder that when us editors found out there was TLOP (The Life of Pablo) pop-up art exhibit on the horizon, we got super excited. On Thursday we attended the opening event which took place in a rented space in the West Village. Organized by Event Coordinator and Marketing Manager Brianni Taylor, TLOP showcased work by 17 artists who brought the TLOP album and all things Kanye West to life. The event was rounded out with Yeezy themed cupcakes, drinks, baseball caps, tunes and an MC entertaining the eclectic and fashionable crowd. It’s important to note that the pop-up had no official affiliation with Kanye West, but the effort did show the extent to which he inspires his super-appreciative fanbase.
Here we chat with Brianni about the TLOP exhibit, the artists involved and how it came about.
What is the concept of The Life of Pablo Art Exhibit?
I like to call it “Your Guilty Kanye West Pleasure.” It’s all things Kanye from a playlist, to art, to drinks to food. Everything is influenced or inspired by Mr. West.
How did this exhibit come about? What was your process for putting together the pop-up?
I already started to plan an exhibit but I wasn’t sure exactly which theme I wanted. I was bouncing between ideas and finally I heard The Life Of Pablo. After listening to it was like “oh! I’m going to curate an event based around Kanye West”. He’s just an amazing artist and I think his influence over the pop and hip hop and art culture is so vast and putting together an exhibit around him was just one way to show it.
Who are the artists participating in the exhibit? How did you discover their work?
Some of these artists I know personally and I know their work. Others I found via Instagram or I’ve seen their work at other exhibits. A few others reached out to me, and I added them onto the roster.
Artists include: @clockworkcros @ianwestart @adawestart @ethinaaa @dddg_art @domdollnyc @mykhal @luxury.zombie @seanmrolle @rebirthyoursoul @mrsoriginals @RonaldDraper_Art @jordans_dad_ @ilikeartypegirl @thasobrekid @tattoosbylogan and @lambokeem.
Why this album as inspiration for the pop-up?
I’ve been waiting for a Kanye album for a while. I love Kanye as an artist I think he’s amazing. Once he dropped TLOP, he solidified all of the thoughts I already had about him. He’s very inspirational and innovative, I think those are two qualities one should have to be the focal point of an art exhibit.
What’s your take on Kanye’s relationship with the art world?
I believe everything Kanye does is art or inspired by art. His music, his album covers, his music videos, the production of his concerts, his clothing line… They all exude artistic. Kanye using art work by George Condo on his album cover for [My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy] is just another form of proof that he is in touch with the ‘Art World’.
Tell us about the charitable aspect of the exhibit. What’s the nonprofit you’re working with?
I’ve partnered with an organization called The Kids League, which is one I had heard so many great things about. I already wanted to do a charitable event and an art event so I decided to merge the two. I want all of my events to serve a charitable cause.
Are the works for sale?
Yes, the pricing and how the sell it is at the discretion of the artist. Once they sell, a portion of their proceeds should go to a charity, as agreed upon when they decided to be a part of the event.
What’s next for the TLOP art show? Will there be more pop-ups? Do you have plans to do it again or in other cities?
I don’t want to disclose too many details, but there are talks of curating more TLOP art exhibits in LA, MIA, and ATL for right now. I think those would be great places to start since Kanye lives in LA and there’s a huge art scene in Wynwood. If anyone contacts me about doing them elsewhere, I’d probably accept depending on location.
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