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A Body of Work

March 20, 2001

Watching the expressions on visitors' faces at the Gagosian Gallery on Saturday night was almost as entertaining as the performance tableau they were there to see. About 100 onlookers lined the gallery walls, gazing intently at two dozen naked women. Some visitors laughed, others seemed embarrassed and a few looked a little shocked.

New York artist Vanessa Beecroft assembled "VB46" using models wearing nothing more than wigs, shoes and white body paint. They stayed in their places for three hours, first standing, then sitting, then lying down. She placed the women in concentric circles, which provided a challenge for our photographer.

Beecroft, who was born in Italy, first exhibited "VB46" at the London Gagosian Gallery last May. She assigns a number to each of her performances and documents them through photographs and film. She keeps the wigs and shoes on file from each numbered performance so they may be duplicated in the future.

Beecroft challenges the notion of traditional artwork by using living forms, dressed and undressed, rather than paint or clay. Critics have noted her work because it focuses on the act of looking rather than the art itself.

The performance of "VB46" Saturday was only for one night. Beecroft has exhibited her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim in New York and at San Diego's Museum of Contemporary Art.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday March 22, 2001 Home Edition Southern California Living Part E Page 3 View Desk 1 inches; 22 words Type of Material: Correction
Exhibit title--A Page 2 story Tuesday misstated the title of Vanessa Beecroft's performance exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in London last May. It was "VB43."

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