Kanye Got His Album Cover Banned On Purpose

Remember back in October when a dejected Kanye West announced via Twitter that the elegant cover of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (at right) had been “banned” by some unnamed authority? Shockingly, it was a publicity stunt! In a profile today of artist George Condo (not online, unfortunately), The New Yorker’s Calvin Tomkins reveals that Kanye specifically asked Condo to paint a cover that would be outlawed.

A couple of weeks before my first visit to Condo’s studio, Kanye West, the rapper, asked him to do a painting for the cover of his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. West said that he had seen paintings by Condo, and wanted to collaborate with him. According to Condo, he also said that he was looking for “something that will be banned.”

West came to Condo’s studio, where for several hours they listened to tapes of his music, and over the next few days Condo made eight or nine paintings. Two of them were portraits of West, one in extreme closeup, with mismatched eyes and four sets of teeth. Another showed his head, crowned and decapitated, placed sideways on a white slab, impaled by a sword. There was also a painting of a dyspeptic ballerina in a black tutu, a painting of the crown and the sword by themselves in a grassy landscape, and a lurid scene of a naked black man on a bed, straddled by a naked white female creature with fearsome features, wings, no arms, and a long, spotted tail. West chose that one.

Can no one be trusted anymore?! If we find out next that Kanye didn’t actually try to sleep on fur pillows, our copy of Fantasy is going right back to the store.

Portraits of Imaginary People [abstract] [NYer]


Kanye Got His Album Cover Banned On Purpose