Have you ever found yourself thinking that the one thing this world of ours is missing is a life-size gold statue of Kanye West as Jesus Christ?
Well, the appropriately named artist Plastic Jesus has answered our prayers by creating this:
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 22, 2017
Yep. That’s a gold Kanye West Jesus all right. And he’s even been crucified:
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 22, 2017
Welp, let’s begin to unpack this, shall we?
In a phone interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jesus (as in the artist Plastic Jesus, not the messiah or Kanye West in statue form, just to clarify) said that the statue was intended as a criticism of the way we make celebrities into deities.
“He’s a genius at writing and producing but he’s not a God, and that’s where we put him. Until there’s an issue in his life or a hiccup in his career, then we crucify him.” Plastic Jesus said, “We’ve seen it before with people like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan. The same people who put him into a God-like place are the same yapping at his heels for a piece of flesh when something happens.”
The statue, which bears the inscription “False Idol” etched into its base, also wears a pair of West’s signature Yeezy’s.
I can’t say that I disagree with Plastic Jesus’ assertions about our treatment of celebrities. We worship them in a creepy borderline obsessive way and then viciously turn on them when they inevitably make a misstep.
“He’s not a god, that’s where we put him,” says Plastic Jesus.
But, um, did we?
Kanye West’s messiah complex is long-documented and hardly subtle. No one thinks West is more godlike than Kanye West himself. I mean, that’s where the name of his album Yeezus came from. Jesus!
So, I mean, yeah, Plastic Jesus’s observations may be spot on, but Kanye West is probably the worst example he could have picked to convey them.
Personally, I would have gone with Britney Spears. For my money, no one personifies the vicious cycle of celebrity worship and destruction more than Ms. Spears. We took her when she was just 16 and got to work mangling her into our idea of a sex symbol, a pop star and a role model in equal turn. We wanted her to be sweet and sexy and age-appropriate and available and mysterious and virginal and sultry and provocative.
We took Spears and projected upon her our hopes and fears for our own teenage daughters and ourselves and when eventually, predictably, she buckled under the pressure we gleefully tore her apart and mocked her for her weakness.
It was brutal. And people are still doing it.
So, if this were a crucified Britney Spears statue, I could get behind it. I’d get it, you know? I’d applaud it, share it and hope people take something from the intended meaning: how we allow fame to build human beings up to impossible standards and then allow the pressures of that same fame to utterly destroy them.
But Kanye West? I’m not sure he’s the best medium to convey this message. Yes, he has undoubtedly suffered for being famous, yet he also invites it in a way that’s hard to ignore.
Plastic Jesus says, “I would say the message is this: By all means, treat and respect these people are artists but don’t make them into gods — because we crucify our gods.”
But, Plastic Jesus! Kanye West literally has a song called “I Am a God.” The number of times Kanye West has compared himself to a god versus the number of times we have compared him to a god? It’s, like, 10 to 1!
Regardless of the efficacy of using West to make this particular artistic statement, we’re having the conversation, aren’t we? We’re engaging in the conversation about fame, pressure, mental health and the incredible burden of public opinion. That’s one discussion that I think is worth having, giant gold statue notwithstanding.
What do you think of the gold Kanye West statue? Let us know in the comments below.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.