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How Kanye West and GAP is the Death of the Artist

Now that Kanye and Gap are going to cut ties, what does that say about the artist-brand dynamics that may take place in a hopeful future?

Credit: DKSStyle/ Shutterstock

On Monday, September 19th, 2020, Kanye West took to his Instagram stories to post a header from the New York Post that reads “ye hires Elon Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro to battle GAP”.

With 8 Years Left on the Contract, Kanye West and Gap Will end their anticipated and hyper partnership. This is not rumors, as Gap CEO Mark Breitbard confirmed in a memo to employees that the retailer would “wind down” the Yeezy Gap partnership.

After Ye’s appearance on CBNC, it was clear to the public how frustrated the artist was with mentioned collaboration. “It was very frustrating. It was very disheartening because I just put everything I had. I put all of my top relationships,” he continued, citing his connections that brought Balenciaga creative director Demna onboard for a capsule collection“, says Kanye. And now Gap is laying off 500 corporate employees.

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GAP and Ye. It was supposed to be a collaboration for the people. Not like Adidas’ snobby post-dyed monofilament shoes that cost $230 or Nike’s elitist, high and mighty shoes that resell for nearly $44,000. It was promised to be a product delivered from the heart and soul of Mr. West to the humble bodies of our everyday people.

Ye collection was supposed to be in the $20 dollar price range. During the CNBC interview, West mentions that the main reason for the breakup was that Gap wanted to over-price the collection. And he then continued to say “Everyone knows that I’m the leader, I’m the king“.

“While we share a vision of bringing high-quality, trend-forward, utilitarian design to all people through unique omni experiences with Yeezy Gap, how we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned”, Gap CEO Mark Breitbard

From Kanye working at the GAP store in high school, to getting fired for stealing khakis. It seems GAP is a presence in West’s life and may very well have become a symbol or representation of an America that has always been far away and hard to reach.

Kanye terminates Gap deal due to lack of follow-through on obligations/ CNBC Youtube

While Kanye finishing the deal with Gap is News, the power of big corporations not accustoming a commodified artist to sell a product is old news. It’s just another shadow of the sort of malignant techno-utopianism that led to Trump.

It is often said that art provides a window through which to look at the present. This is true, and today we see that our present is dictated by monster corporations. They are the ones to choose what’s hot and fresh: wack and lame. They have the power to steal and silence the artist with a whistle.

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They are the new monarchs of our societies, except it’s not a being made out of flesh: it’s a whole agency with institutions as limbs.

There is now a military architecture of digital media, communications, and aesthetics. The new dictators are brands. There’s no Medici, Visconti or Sforza. Now it’s Nike, Adidas, and even Gap. On top of the imperial infrastructure of the Internet, Kanye is another example of a brand selling us products that to some they may look like glitter and angels and cotton candy with ecstatic lavender-infused oil.

But to everyone who has actually kept abreast of these things, they just see a mutated mess of capitalism gone amock.

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Written By

If you are convinced of your own despair, bathed in your own sorrows, you must act as if you had faith after all, or close the veil. Suffering offers no rights :) Life and Culture.

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