A well-known L.A.-based street artist has created a stir with his latest piece, a life-sized sculpture of famed hip-hop artist Kanye West depicted as Jesus Christ. The controversial and provocative artwork has been erected on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, and it features Kanye West decked out as Jesus awaiting his crucifixion, crown of thorns and all. However, the artwork created by street artist Plastic Jesus added some bling to his Kanye Christ in the form of gold chains around the statue’s neck.
The title of the piece? False Idol. And it made its public debut on February 22.
A gold life-size Kanye West 'Jesus' statue is unveiled in Hollywood Boulevard by Plastic Jesus pic.twitter.com/fgtZHxHSzb
— PILASACI (@pilasaci) February 22, 2017
As the Hollywood Reporter reports, the eye-catching and criticism-inducing Kanye West as Jesus sculpture is just one work of art in a series of several that Plastic Jesus has bestowed on the public leading up to the Oscar awards (both this weekends’ and in years past). Gilded and golden like a life-sized Oscar statue, the Kanye Jesus statue is even featured on a pedestal like its miniature Academy Award counterparts.
Other similar works of art that have popped up in the Los Angeles area over the course of the artist’s career include a Philip Seymour Hoffman-inspired Oscar statue with a heroin needle hanging out of its golden arm and a 2015 piece featuring a cocaine-snorting Oscar statue.
In an interview with THR, artist Plastic Jesus reportedly confirmed that the title of the controversial golden statue with the face of Kanye and the body of Christ is indeed “False Idol.” The words are also scrawled on the base of the eyebrow-raising artwork. According to the artist, he gleaned his inspiration from the way that Kanye West is revealed and even worshiped by his fans and the general public.
“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. 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.”
@pilasaci ya'll are going to Farr now ????
— Carl da???? (@MabokZero) February 22, 2017
@Complex what type of foolery is that????
— Havana Green (@HavanaGreen1) February 22, 2017
— Aux God (@CHoliness) February 22, 2017
— Isaac Chambers (@Sliisaac) February 22, 2017
Plastic Jesus, who was once a lauded photojournalist before turning to more controversial and artistic endeavors, apparently spoke of Kanye West’s recent humiliating and very public mental health meltdown when describing the muse behind his most recent piece. According to Plastic Jesus, Kanye has recently suffered a serious “fall from grace” as a result of his rumored mental health issues.
Despite his scathing depiction of “rap God” Kanye as nothing more than a false idol, the artist claims that he has admiration for the star’s phenomenal talent and success. In fact, according to Plastic Jesus, the shimmering golden Kanye Jesus sculpture is as much of a criticism of Kanye’s fans and the news media as it is a critique of Kanye’s behavior and ultimate fall. According to the artist, Kanye is “obviously talented,” something that likely led to his “false idol” status.
“The piece is intended to be as critical of us as consumers and the media as it is of Kanye himself. “
— Henry Hill (@xmillerz) February 22, 2017
In another scathing statement to those viewing his Kanye as Christ sculpture, Plastic Jesus added that gods end up being crucified by their adoring worshipers, which is precisely why mere mortals shouldn’t be elevated to the status of deity.
“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.”
Ironically, Kanye was recently sighted at Trump Tower in New York City (a place as gilded as the Kanye as Christ sculpture) alongside new POTUS Trump.
Plastic Jesus wouldn’t (and according to him couldn’t) divulge how much it cost him to produce the golden statue of Kanye at his crucifixion, but he did admit that the final product was collaborative. The artist says that Ginger, the very artist behind the headline-inducing nude states of Trump that showed up in New York, Seattle, and various California cities during the presidential campaign, made the Kanye head for the piece.
Kanye West hasn’t commented (at least publicly) on the Jesus statue that bears a striking resemblance to his famous face, but it’s entirely possible that the star may not be offended in the slightest by the comparison. After all, his first chart-topping single was “Jesus Walks.” Not to mention that Kanye also once channeled his inner Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Today in 2004, Kanye West drops Jesus Walks, wins Grammy for Best Rap song in '05, is crowned by Rolling Stone in '06 pic.twitter.com/cnNASZph4y
— Steven James (@TheLaunchMag) May 25, 2015
For those who have already been offended by the newly erected artwork, or who perhaps don’t find it appropriate for public display, the artist promises that it will be moved to a more permanent location in a couple of days. As of February 25, “False Idol,” featuring Kanye West as Jesus, will be located at the former Tower Records space on Sunset Boulevard as part of an art show.
[Featured Image by Seth Wenig/File/AP Images]