Judging by his recent interviews, Kanye West is adamant about legitimizing himself outside of the music industry. Throughout his career, he has worked with other artists in music, producing hit songs with the likes of Jay Z or Lil Wayne, but he has also extended his creative collaborations beyond the hip-hop world. Takashi Murakami and Wes Lang are just a few of the visual artists who have worked with Kanye over the years, and in turn, they have helped to bring the music and art worlds closer together.
Recently Kanye has expanded beyond the world of visual art and taken strides in performance art (recently comparing himself to Marina Abramovic, as well). He asked artist Vanessa Beecroft to choreograph an installation for his 808s and Heartbreak private listening party, gave her the the role of art director for his "Runaway" video, and also called upon her to choreograph the dancers in the Yeezus tour. Beecroft's often controversial work, which references Italian classicism and contains feminist critique, usually involves nude models. Last night at Art Basel Miami Beach, Beecroft staged a performance in collaboration with Kanye where a group of naked women covered in clay stood for hours. While the performance left much to be desired, including the presence of Kanye, it showed why Beecroft is so brilliantly controversial. Here are 12 Things to Know About Vanessa Beecroft, Kanye West's Visual Art Collaborator.