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Artist Vanessa Beecroft, best known for her performative installations of naked, or semi-naked women, is a pertinent artist to think about in relation to the aesthetics of the crowd.

At the heart of this is the very question of the aesthetic, or the look, of the crowd (as seen from outside it) versus any potential agency it might have, which seems strictly limited within Beecroft’s work. The women on display in Beecroft’s installations are typically tall, thin creatures, their ranks reminiscent of fetish photography, fashion, porn, fascism and science fiction in varying measures.

Now that Beecroft’s predeliction has shifted from spectatorship of the Aryan blonde body to the black female body (as found in Sudan, a body sited within a particular racial and geopolitical discourse), it seems she has finally moved a fetish too far.

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