A gold sculpture of Kanye West appeared on Los Angeles' Hollywood Boulevard yesterday (February 22) and, no, it was not the doing of 'Ye himself. As "Kanye" as that art installation may sound, street artist Plastic Jesus created the piece, titled "False Idol." Shaped in the form of an Oscar Award, it portrayed the rapper being crucified.
When I first saw this piece I thought, "Well, there goes someone else firing shots at Kanye." However, after speaking with the artist himself, it turns out "False Idol" has a more powerful message behind it.
"The piece was inspired by the way in which we constantly build artists, musicians, and actors into 'god-like' characters," Plastic Jesus told REVOLT via email. "And with that comes expectations. Kanye is hugely talented as a writer and producer, but let's not forget he is human, and cut him some slack occasionally."
Kanye has endured a lot criticism for his recent behavior so, for Plastic Jesus, it made sense to use him to stir up the public's attention days before the 89th Academy Awards Ceremony. But, known for creating controversial artwork that challenge social and public opinion, this isn't the artist's first Oscar-themed installation. In 2015, he created a sculpture of the famed gold statue on all fours, snorting cocaine off the ground. And in 2014, another Oscar figurine was displayed with a needle in its arm.
"Hollywood is great at highlighting the successes in the entertainment industry, but sadly it's less good at supporting those who need it," he said.
The pressure that society puts on celebrities isn't a new concept, yet we still fail to see our idols as flawed individuals, like ourselves. The question that I have is: Do we even want to?
"False Idol" will be on display at the "Anesthesia: The Art of Oblivion" art show at Gibson Brands (8801 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood) on Saturday, February 25, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.