New York Magazine’s profile of Vanessa Beecroft makes some intriguing points about the relationship between art and the fashion business (with an extra added dose of musical stardom and celebrity culture):
Despite her claim that she “withdrew from the art world” almost six years ago, Beecroft occupies an uncanny, distinguished space both between and above the newly adjacent art and fashion universes. At 47, she has become something like the high priestess of the strange, entitled dreamworld that floats above all the art fairs and the fashion shows, where spending countless dollars on performances involving thousands simply for the sake of beauty is considered not only normal but admirable. She appears unaware of — or at least unconcerned with — the debates and discussions that captivate most members of these industries (and their critics). Nor is she preoccupied with political correctness, and in fact seems to enjoy blithely poking at its taboos. For all of this, she owes a lot to [Kanye] West, and their collaboration, even if the credit most regularly seems to flow, in that relationship, in the other direction, with West suggesting Beecroft has helped elevate everything from his wedding to his music videos to the exalted status of art. […]
It’s easy to forget that Beecroft is a gifted painter who can work skillfully in both watercolor and oil paint, and that she can also shape realistic busts from enormous mounds of clay using only memory, imagination, and her large, freckled hands. Her studio is a busy place.
There’s a lot to discuss when Beecroft comes up. A number of commentators on the profile have alighted on what they perceive to be Beecroft’s glib take on racial ideas.
For our purposes, there’s a different line of questions. Beecroft’s work was once actively traded and her market seemed relatively secure in a growth trajectory. Jeffrey Deitch alludes to this in the story.
Did Beecroft’s secondary market suffer from Deitch’s departure from dealing in this period or from the end of her most celebrated career phase or the transition from independent artist to consultant to fashion houses and celebrities?
There’s no obvious or straightforward answer to that question. But the question itself is worth pondering as art becomes more enmeshed in these other businesses.