Kanye and Art, Blood Orange, and More: Today’s Recommended Reading

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Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. Today, we’ve got a first hand account of Vincent Desiderio’s collaboration with Kanye West, an interview with Caitlyn Jenner about her time as an Olympic competitor, a friend-to-friend interview with Kindness and Blood Orange, and an analysis of the importance and success of young stars in the indie film scene.

At W Magazine, artist Vincent Desiderio, whose work “Sleep” was the inspiration behind Kanye’s “Famous” video, pens a detailed look into their “collaboration” process, the genesis of both artistic endeavors, and his take on the consistently controversial hip hop artist.

I sat down in front of the computer screen as the play button was pushed. Within seconds, the disturbingly familiar faces of a range of celebrities became clear. What was not clear was what in fact they were doing sleeping in the same bed. Had there been some agreement to pose together naked? That aside, why was every impulse to ridicule these people, some of whom (I won’t name names) made my skin crawl, being tempered by a rising sense of empathy? Slumbering gods, they were, but also like babies or small children at the height of vulnerability. Then an even stranger feeling overtook me. I began to recognize that the naked bodies floating past the camera lens were in positions identical to the figures in my painting, “Sleep.” Could Kanye have seen my painting? There were so many similarities. Yes, it was my painting. It had been sampled, or “spliced,” into a new format and taken to a brilliant and daring extreme!

In Sports Illustrated, Tim Layden interviews Caitlyn Jenner on her Olympic achievement almost 40 years after the historic event. Jenner recounts what winning meant to her, proving herself as a man, where she is now, both mentally and physically, and, of course, gender identity. A touching and thorough short film accompanies the in-depth interview.

A decathlon victory is a rare achievement—there are only 22 Olympic gold medalists (12 American)—but to Jenner it can at times feel insignificant. It represents one of the greatest moments of her life, yet her life is different now. “Sports. It’s not real life,” she says. “You go out there, you work hard, you train your ass off, win the Games. I’m very proud of that part of my life. And it’s not like I just want to throw it out. It’s part of who I am. What I’m dealing with now, this is about who you are as a human being. What did I do for the world in 1976, besides maybe getting a few people to exercise a little bit? I didn’t make a difference in the world.”

Over at Red Bull Music Academy, friends Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness, and Devonte Hynes, better known as Blood Orange, discuss his new album Freetown Sound. The duo also discusses black culture, black expression and being black America, making music for himself, and the meaning behind the album name.

I started questioning a lot of things and I basically got to the conclusion that, if someone is a writer they write maybe for themselves at home, as a release. Maybe they write for an article, an interview, or maybe they write for something else more specific. I started to look at myself maybe like that and realizing it’s okay to make music that isn’t for people to listen to, if it’s a sense of therapy. I don’t need to feel bad about that, and maybe at some point I’ll feel like I want to share it. Maybe I can be a little bit more focused. That’s something that never really happened to me before. I was always focused in a sense of determined what it was I wanted to do, but I realize that basically this is the first time in my life that I was aware that no matter how small or big or whatever, there will be people listening to what I release.

Over at IndieWire, David Ehrlich discusses young adult actors like Daniel Radcliffe, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson, who are successfully dominating the indie film scene. Ehrlich preaches the promise of these young film stars and the weight that their names can hold as well as the necessary attention they can bring to the budding indie scene.

At a time when the industry is growing increasingly hostile towards risk-taking and sensibly priced filmmaking has dissolved between the binary of mega-budget blockbuster and micro-budget indie hopefuls, Radcliffe and the fellow members of his graduating class have become allies for art in an age that seems anathema to it. “You have to be able to trust your taste, even if it attracts certain fans and repels others,” Radcliffe told this writer at Sundance in January, before explaining that he’s game for anything so long as his dad — a trusted advisor — likes the script.