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Kanye West premiered his new video for "Bound 2" yesterday, and viewers couldn't decide what was more shocking—Kim Kardashian jiggling naked atop a motorcycle or the overhanded cheesiness of the nature shots. New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz weighed in on Facebook, comparing the video to "a teenage girl's bedroom idea of romance meets a Richard Prince cowboy picture."
This mix between high and low culture may be perfect for Kanye, a man who has mass appeal and also spoke at the Harvard Design School. What better imagery for the rapper than a mix between a Lisa Frank trapper keeper and a Prince photograph (which itself uses imagery appropriated from pop culture—photos of cowboys on Marlboro cigarette ads)?
"Untitled (Cowboys)" by Richard Prince / Kanye West in "Bound 2"
Saltz then aims his critique at Kim Kardashian: "At about 2:20 we see full shots of Kim's deck wobbling back and forth or heaving or just defying gravity, like two great cannonballs. But her boobs are nipple-less. —It's some new Merit [sic] Oppenheim Fur-Lined Tea-Cup."
By comparing Kim's nipple-less boobs to the Oppenheim's furry teacup, Saltz casts Kim as a work of surrealist art. Everyone knows that Kim's body lives between the real and dreamlike. Take away her nipples, and she's downright surreal.
"Object" by Meret Oppenheim / Kim Kardashian in "Bound 2"
Saltz finishes up his Facebook post with a commentary on the art/pop phenomenon as a whole:
Folks, we are now at the point in popular culture where performers like this and many other (Lady Gaga; maybe our own Teletubby, Jeff Koons) are trying to be so sincere but are so out-of-touch that they're creating some new Freudian Uncanny—becoming actual, living Hogarth caricatures of human beings. Behold the New Uncanny. An evolutionary step has been taken ...
When pop culture and the art world collide, the two become a warped mirror the real world no matter how hard they try to appear as true. Saltz calls them the new Freudian Uncanny, something inexplicably familiar yet so very strange.