Kanye West’s new video for “Famous,” which depicts a dozen celebrities sleeping together in the nude, has raised eyebrows and sparked controversy. But for Vincent Desiderio, whose art influenced Kanye’s video, the homage inspired joy.
In a personal essay for W magazine, the artist opened up about meeting West and first seeing the video for “Famous.” West’s camp called Desiderio multiple times and invited him to The Forum event in Los Angeles without any explanation, Desiderio wrote. There, Desiderio met West and was seated in front of a laptop. The “Famous” video rolled, the camera slowly panning across the slumbering celebrities until revealing the final tableau — a direct nod to the artist’s 2008 painting, “Sleep.”
“As I looked around the room at the smiling faces, it became apparent that, unbeknownst to me, a remarkable collaboration had occurred, one that brought together artistic expressions that, at least on the surface of it all, couldn’t seem further apart,” he wrote for W. “I felt as if I had been presented with the most extraordinary gift: Kanye and his crew had spent the past months producing a video of tremendous power and beauty, and at its core was a painting. My painting.”
See a comparison of the two works below, via The FADER.
Read Desiderio’s full account at W magazine.