Artist Francesco Vezzoli's Experiments With Fame

Over the last decade, Francesco Vezzoli has become a master at staging elaborate public spectacles that toy with our perceptions of art, media, and fame. Here, a tour of the Italian artist's career.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Crying Portrait of Kim Alexis as a Renaissance Madonna With Holy Child (After Giovanni Bellini), 2010

Since the start of his career, Vezzoli has been embroidering tears on famous faces ranging from Liza Minnelli to Lady Gaga to (for his new solo show at Gagosian Gallery) iconic supermodels like Kim Alexis and Linda Evangelista. He began with a screen-printed image of the glamorous Italian actress Silvana Mangano. The wife of Dino de Laurentiis, she was "the sophisticated answer to Sophia Loren in Italy," Vezzoli says. Learning that she'd become a needlepoint fanatic after the tragic death of her son in a plane crash "created a link for me between embroidery as an art form and a place of isolation, concentration, and refuge from pain," he explains. "That led me to embroider tears."

Photograph courtesy of Francesco Vezzoli/Gagosian Gallery.
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