Vanessa Beecroft Performance
Vanessa Beecroft (born April 25, 1969) is an Italian contemporary performance artist. She works in the United States. Many of her works have made use of professional models, sometimes in large numbers and sometimes naked or nearly so, to stage tableaux vivants.
Beecroft’s first exhibition was VB01, in Milan (1993). The following year she exhibited at the Andrea Rosen Gallery, which was the first time she had exhibited in New York City. Later in 1994, VB08 took place at P.S.1 in Long Island City, New York.
VB55 (2005) featured one hundred women standing still in Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie for three hours, each woman oiled from the waist up and wearing nothing but a pair of pantyhose.
In October 2005, Beecroft staged a performance on the occasion of the opening of the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. For the same event, Beecroft placed models on the shelves next to Louis Vuitton bags.
Beecroft’s work—specifically VB46, at the Gagosian Gallery in California—has come under fire by feminist artist groups like the Toxic Titties. Beecroft does not acknowledge the time commitment, exertion, and treatment endured by her models, leading critics to question the conceptual ideas put forth in her work.
On the occasion of the 52nd Venice Biennale, Beecroft staged one of her most politically engaged performances, VB61, Still Death! Darfur Still Deaf? (2007). It involved “approximately 30 Sudanese women lying face-down on a white canvas on the ground, simulating dead bodies piled on top of one another” and represented the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
Beecroft’s attempt to adopt Sudanese twins was the topic of the documentary The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins by Pietra Brettkelly, which was included in the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Documentary Competition. The film presents Beecroft as a “hypocritically self-aware, colossally colonial pomo narcissist” and chronicles her “damaging quotes and appalling behavior” as she attempts to adopt two Sudanese orphans for use in an art exhibit.