New Beecroft Documentary Is “A Profile with a Twist”

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Last year was a tough one for artist Vanessa Beecroft, what with that whole borrowing of Anthon Beeke‘s naked alphabet and subsequently having her VBLV book pulled from stores worldwide. This year isn’t shaping up to be a whole lot better. The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, a documentary by Pietra Brettkelly that opened on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival is apparently rather damning to Beecroft, who the film follows over 16 months and three continents as she tries to adopt infant twins from Sudan. According to the Sundance festival guide, “It all starts when Beecroft, captivated by the adorable Madit and Mongor Akot, returns to their orphanage intent on motherhood.”

Upon meeting Beecroft in Sudan, where she was working on her VBSS project, Brettkelly had no idea who the artist was, but was intrigued by her pursuit to adopt (Brettkelly was then working on a film about adoption in Romania). Within a month, she was filming what would become The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins.

“[T]he story grew so that it became much larger than the story of the adoption,” Brettkelly told V Magazine recently. “It encompassed the story of a woman at a crossroads, willing to risk her career by taking a strong stance with the SS series and away from her popular tableux of naked women….It highlighted this incredible artist at work, her drive, her practices, her singular vision. At times [it] could be considered a profile but with a twist.”

New York magazine’s Logan Hill, no fan of Beecroft’s work, has his own take on the film: “The doc cluster-bombs her faddish fascination with Sudanese orphans and paints Beecroft as a hypocritically self-aware, colossally colonial pomo narcissist.”